Stress and Your Body

Course No. 1585
Professor Robert Sapolsky, Ph.D.
Stanford University
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Course No. 1585
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Course Overview

Feeling stressed? You're not alone. Stress is an inherent aspect of life in the 21st-century world. Regardless of the cause, stress is bound to affect you at some point during your day or week.

And stress can have tremendous negative effects on your mental and physical health. Most Western diseases that slowly get us sick—heart disease, diabetes, stroke—are worsened by stress. Chronic illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis and depression often flare up during repeated instances of stress. This makes coping with stress a critical part of how well we live.

But take heart. Because once you understand the inner workings of our stress response system and its inextricable links to all aspects of your personal health, you'll find yourself in possession of powerful knowledge that will help you understand and better deal with this common aspect of your busy life.

Now, from one of the world's foremost researchers on stress and neurobiology comes Stress and Your Body—a fascinating 24-lecture course that guides you through the psychological and psychosocial stress that is a central part of everyday life in Western society. With the guidance of Dr. Robert Sapolsky, acclaimed Professor of Biology, Neurology, and Neurosurgery at Stanford University and one of our most popular professors, you'll explore the nuts and bolts of the stress-response system and its various effects on your body.

What, Exactly, Is Stress?

Simply put, the stress-response system is a natural, highly adaptive survival system. Imagine you're a zebra being chased by a lion across some grassy savannah. Once you've recognized the threat, your stress-response system will divert energy from storage sites throughout your body to your muscles and inhibit unessential processes like digestion and reproduction, allowing you to flee faster from danger.

For animals, of course, coping with stress isn't a big deal; once they've escaped danger, their bodies and minds soon return to a balanced state. But for humans under chronic stress, there is rarely such a return.

Why? Because, for humans, the stress response is triggered not so much by life-or-death situations as by psychological reasons it wasn't designed to combat, such as

  • traffic tie-ups that double the time it takes for you to get to work;
  • complicated home repairs you haven't gotten around to making;
  • troublesome thoughts and recurring memories; and
  • worries about the economy, the environment, and international events.

In fact, as you quickly discover in this lecture series, the chronic stress that most of us face every day can turn the stress response from a safety mechanism into a real problem for our physical and mental well-being.

At the heart of any serious discussion of the impact of chronic stress on your body and mind lie some pointed questions:

  • How does everyday stress affect the way your brain behaves?
  • Why do some people adapt to stress more easily than others?
  • What occurs at the neurological level during periods of emotional trauma?
  • Why does stress not just impact your mind (where it's rooted) but your body as well?
  • Why does stress prompt you to do certain things, like eat and sleep more (or less)?

The science behind these and other questions is captivating in its intricacies.

Explore the Biology of Stress ...

With the same dynamic teaching skills that won him the Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching—Stanford's highest teaching honor—Professor Sapolsky guides you through the specific systems of your body in the search for the biological effects of stress. He first details how the stress response normally works for both humans and the hypothetical hunted zebra, then delves into what happens to these systems when the stress response doesn't shut down.

Among the specific organ systems you explore in Stress and Your Body are these:

  • Cardiovascular system: When stress hits, your blood pressure and heart rate rise, and blood is diverted from nonessential areas (like your gut) to critical ones (such as your muscles). When activated chronically, however, the stress-response system can damage your heart muscles and blood vessels.
  • Digestive system: Chronic stress can wreak havoc with your digestive system and can even shut it down. This can lead to debilitating diseases and problems with your digestion.
  • Reproductive system: Not only is chronic stress directly related to problems with reproduction, it affects the reproductive systems of men and women in different ways. Sustained stress can decrease the likelihood of ovulation and increase erectile dysfunction. For both sexes, however, libido is often greatly impaired.
  • Immune system: Your immune system is designed to protect you from all sorts of pathogens. Unfortunately, when hit repeatedly with stress, your immune defenses are often impaired, resulting in more frequent, prolonged, or severe cases of diseases ranging from mononucleosis to the common cold.

This systems approach helps you better grasp the detailed science and biology behind stress. It also allows you to draw pointed comparisons with stress's effects on individual systems of the body—sometimes separately, sometimes simultaneously. You'll quickly discover that stress doesn't affect just one part of the body, but it also has a domino effect in which your entire body can become damaged by the effects of chronic stress.

You'll also get a chance to explore the physiological effects of stress on other parts of your health, including your

  • physical growth and development,
  • sleep cycle,
  • memory and judgment, and
  • pain threshold.

... and the Psychology of Stress

But the biology of stress is only one-half of the puzzle. Stress and Your Body also brings you up close and personal with the psychological underpinnings and effects of stress. There are powerful psychological factors that modulate how we respond to stress and that are instrumental in damaging not just our brains—but our psyches.

Among the psychological disorders and damaging behaviors that Professor Sapolsky explores are

  • depression, the genetics of which are indelibly linked to the genetics of one's vulnerability to stress;
  • anxiety, which is rooted in the amygdala—a part of our brain that is extremely sensitive to one class of stress hormones; and
  • addiction, which can be directly related to increased levels of stress hormones in the body, whether it's an addiction to drugs or to new sensations.

Additionally, an individual's place in society plays a key role in both the creation and impact of stress. Toward the end of the course, you'll spend some time studying the relationship between low socioeconomic status and high stress levels—along with the poor health to which they lead.

Discover the Key to Change

With Stress and Your Body, you'll be learning about this integral—for better or worse—aspect of daily life from an engaging and insightful teacher. Professor Sapolsky knows just how important it is to understand the workings of stress, but he also flavors his lectures with humor and practical tips for stress management that you can incorporate into your lifestyle.

Professor Sapolsky's unique teaching methods, in which profound insights, eye-opening concepts, and rigorous scientific support are intertwined with an informal delivery style, make the study of this topic absolutely illuminating.

"It's possible for us to change," he notes with characteristic enthusiasm at one point in Stress and Your Body. "It's hard in terms of there being no free lunch. But nonetheless, change can occur."

And the key to changing the impact of stress in your life, whether at work or at home, is a thorough knowledge of how and why it works on your mind and body. All of which you'll find right here in these dynamic lectures.

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24 lectures
 |  Average 30 minutes each
  • 1
    Why Don't Zebras Get Ulcers? Why Do We?
    In Professor Sapolsky's introductory lecture, get a behind-the-scenes look at the science of stress and preview the groundwork for the course ahead. What exactly happens to our bodies when we come under stress? And how is our response to stress different from that of a zebra being hunted al ong a savannah? x
  • 2
    The Nuts and Bolts of the Stress-Response
    Every time you have a thought or emotion, things change in your body. Here, explore the two factors responsible for these changes: the nervous system and hormones. Learn how these systems work, how they're regulated, and—most important—what happens to them during moments of stress. x
  • 3
    Stress and Your Heart
    Armed with the necessary background information, explore how specific organ systems suffer when faced with chronic stress. In the first of a series of lectures on this subject, learn how long-term stress can damage heart muscles, inflame and clog blood vessels, and even lead to sudden cardiac arrest. x
  • 4
    Stress, Metabolism, and Liquidating Your Assets
    The next organ system you focus on: the metabolic system. Discover how cycles of chronic stress lead to a persistent activating and storing of energy, which in turn can lead to an inefficient use of energy and play a critical role in the prevalence of adult-onset diabetes. x
  • 5
    Stress, Overeating, and Your Digestive Tract
    Focus now on the role stress plays in our gastrointestinal tracts. Why do most of us eat more during stressful periods? How does stress affect bowel disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and spastic colons? And how does stress combine with a bacterial infection to produce a common stress-related disease: ulcers? x
  • 6
    Stress and Growth—Echoes from the Womb
    The first of two lectures on stress and child development takes you inside prenatal and postnatal life. Using two extraordinary examples, Professor Sapolsky reveals the ways a fetus can respond to the environmental stressors of its mother, and how different parenting styles can affect the stress levels of young children. x
  • 7
    Stress, Growth, and Child Development
    Investigate how chronic stress can disrupt the growth of young children by focusing on stress dwarfism and the connection between stress and low growth hormone levels. Also, learn how mid-20th-century experiments with monkeys proved how important love—and not just nutrients—is in raising less-stressful children. x
  • 8
    Stress and Female Reproduction
    Get an insightful overview of the multifaceted effects of stress on the female reproductive system. Some of the topics you explore are the intricate relationships between stress and fertilization, ovulation, spontaneous miscarriages, high-tech in vitro fertilization, and the strength of the libido. x
  • 9
    Stress and Male Reproduction
    Despite being simpler than its female counterpart, the male reproductive system is just as vulnerable to chronic stress. Here, discover how stress leads not to a major decrease in testosterone so much as an increase in erectile dysfunction (with a focus on two of the most common symptoms: impotency and premature ejaculation). x
  • 10
    Stress and Your Immune System
    Turn now to the relationship between stress and your immune system. After mastering the basics of how this system works, delve into how frequent stressors can result in flare-ups of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, can increase your vulnerability to infections like the common cold and herpes viruses, and more. x
  • 11
    Stress and Cancer
    Can an increase in stress actually cause cancer? Can it cause a relapse among patients in remission, or speed up the rate of a cancer's progression? Professor Sapolsky offers his insights on these and other controversial questions and myths about the possible links between stress and cancer. x
  • 12
    Stress and Pain
    Stress and pain have an intriguing relationship: Stress can increase your sensitivity and resistance to pain, while pain constitutes its own particular stressor. Explore this fascinating bidirectional relationship, and expand your knowledge of how both balanced and stressed minds and bodies react to all varieties of pain. x
  • 13
    Stress, Learning, and Memory
    Memory—whether implicit or explicit—is an essential part of everyday life. So it's all the more important to understand how it's affected by stress. This lecture explains the science behind how short-term stress enhances memory and learning, while chronic stress may actually work to kill neurons in the hippocampus. x
  • 14
    Stress, Judgment, and Impulse Control
    In addition to affecting the hippocampus, stress can prove harmful to the frontal cortex as well—the seat of behavioral regulation. As in previous lectures, discover what happens to this essential part of the brain when it comes under attack from chronic stress. x
  • 15
    Stress, Sleep, and Lack of Sleep
    Most of us don't get as much sleep as we should. Yet the amount of sleep we get is highly intertwined with how our bodies deal with stress. Investigate why high levels of stress disrupt not only how long we sleep—but the quality of sleep's vital restorative powers as well. x
  • 16
    Stress and Aging
    As you age, your ability to deal with stress decreases. What's more: Lots of stress throughout your lifetime can accelerate aspects of aging. Here, examine a series of intriguing experiments and studies that explain the science behind these two views about the intersection between stress and aging. x
  • 17
    Understanding Psychological Stress
    Why are some stressors more unbearable than others? This lecture introduces you to three powerful psychological factors that work to modulate the stress response: having an outlet, taking advantage of social support, and having predictive information about when and how long a stressor will occur. x
  • 18
    Psychological Modulators of Stress
    Conclude your look at ways to modulate the stress response by looking at two subtler variables: your control over the stressor, and your interpretation of whether the stress is getting better or worse. You also see why, despite being enormously powerful, these variables can work only within certain parameters. x
  • 19
    Stress and the Biology of Depression
    Turn to the realm of mental health with this close look at the ties between stress and major depression—one of the leading causes of disability in the world. Start with an overview of the disorder's symptoms before delving into the particulars of its neurochemistry and neuroanatomy. x
  • 20
    Stress and the Psychology of Depression
    To truly understand clinical depression, you need to grasp its psychological aspects as well. In the second lecture on stress and this prevalent disease, explore the pivotal role stress hormones play in depression. Then, use your newfound knowledge of stress to knit together the psychological and biological models of depression. x
  • 21
    Anxiety, Hostility, Repression, and Reward
    Anxiety disorders, feelings of intense hostility, a decreased capacity for pleasure, and a repressed or addictive persona are just a few of the many distinct effects that chronic stress can have on an individual's personality and behavior. The ways these psychological disorders emerge are the subject of this fascinating lecture. x
  • 22
    Stress, Health, and Low Social Status
    How strong a role does socioeconomic status play in what stressors you're exposed to, as well as your potential for chronic stress? It's a provocative question whose answer Professor Sapolsky reveals in this penetrating look at the characteristics and effects of psychosocial stress on both primates and humans. x
  • 23
    Stress Management—Clues to Success?
    Before learning tips to manage chronic stress, it's essential to understand why certain individuals cope better with stress—both physically and mentally—than others. Discover that the key lies in grasping predictors of successful aging, including a position of respect, a resilient personality, a healthy lifestyle, and a realistic approach to life's challenges. x
  • 24
    Stress Management—Approaches and Cautions
    Exercise. Meditation. Social support. Religious beliefs. In this concluding lecture, learn how these and other outlets can potentially help you manage life's everyday stressors—both biologically and psychologically. Regardless of how many stressors you deal with daily, all of us, according to Professor Sapolsky, have the potential to keep them in perspective. x

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Your professor

Robert Sapolsky

About Your Professor

Robert Sapolsky, Ph.D.
Stanford University
Dr. Robert Sapolsky is John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Professor of Biological Sciences at Stanford University and Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery in Stanford's School of Medicine. Professor Sapolsky earned his A.B. summa cum laude in Biological Anthropology from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in Neuroendocrinology from The Rockefeller University in New York. He is also a research associate at the Institute of...
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Stress and Your Body is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 115.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Not for the Faint of Heart, or, Maybe it is I got this series because I am dealing with some heavy duty stress in my personal life at the moment. The lecturer covers what the effects of this are on the body and how it can ruin your health if ignored. He goes into detail about the chemistry and biology of stress to an extreme level, but if he didn't do that he would just be spouting his opinions, not backing it up with science. His final two lectures bring this home to the listener, telling what practical things might work to deal with extreme stress. I would recommend this series to anyone dealing with extreme stress who is worried that it might be affecting their health.
Date published: 2018-06-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love Sapolsky! I like this lecture , his stress lecture is incredible and love it. This lecture reviews various scientific facts and points about the lecture topic and how one can relate it out our human ways of approaching life. His comfortable and laid back style of teaching with organized nuggets of knowledge is what I love about this man! I buy any course he produces. Big fan!
Date published: 2018-06-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very educational & he makes it easy to follow I found it so interesting to learn how much our bodies react to stress on every level, something everyone would benefit from. Except not everyone would be interested in the heavy scientific details of just how much...we can try to alter the effects if we reflected more on our own self destructive habits. I found Sapolsky to be extremely engaging, laid back, incredibly intelligent and caring about how how well he delivered and made clear the fine details of this lecture. There was much to learn & with the benefit of pressing pause, replay or rewind I accumulated great notes and had plenty of new knowledge to dig into after watching the video.
Date published: 2018-06-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What a great course! The professor really knows his stuff and is a joy to listen to. There's plenty of science, but it's presented in such a way that it goes down easy. Loved his sense of humor!
Date published: 2018-05-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great insight I bought stress and your bidy after reading Why zebras don’t get ulcers. Why hadn’t I seenm this before?? It’s clear yet in-depth, captivating and extremely educational. Would highly recommend this course...
Date published: 2018-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eye Opening!! This course was very well organized and extremely well taught. Not only was there coverage of the subject matter excellent, many of the "why" and "how" issues were covered to bring the concepts together.
Date published: 2018-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Do Yourself a Favour! Do yourself a favour and watch this course more than once. It will bring you understanding and education on things that are crucial to your well-being. This is for sure an excellent investment in yourself. And regarding the teacher, well, one could possibly not ask for a better one.
Date published: 2018-03-02
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Very technical and witty with no real substance I was expecting a lot from this course and I was quite disappointed at the end. The majority of Dr. Sapolsky’s discussions were no doubt of high level in terms of biology and physiology, but the conclusions to which he arrived at the end of the course are no different to what anyone with basic knowledge of the subject can tell you: it’s necessary to live a well balanced life, with good stress management (since, unless you are a Tibetan monk, it is virtually impossible to live completely free of stress), otherwise stress will hurt your health. Everyone knows that. Well, after all of Dr. Sapolsky’s very technical and detailed explanations, you will end up not knowing more that you already did. Except for the word glucocorticoids of course. I also found his teaching style particularly annoying. He keeps on going through endless circumventions to get to the point, which most of the time ended up in blaming glucocorticoids anyway. His acid sense of humor is not to everyone’s taste. I found it particularly inappropriate for a university level lecture. I am sure he’s super knowledgeable, but you also have to be efficient to deliver knowledge. His lectures seemed very unstructured and disorganized, and very repetitive as well. His lecture about cancer was particularly disappointing. He sounded like was terrified that anything he might say about the benefits of stress management to cancer patients would be interpreted as “alternative medicine”. I have to admit that I took the bait and stayed until the last lecture to see if something of more substance would come out. It never did. He mentioned in the second to last chapter that at that point the listener would be thinking about getting his money back, and oh boy, did he read my mind. From the beginning, I had to force myself to watch a new lecture every day, and this is the course from all the ones I’ve seen in this website that has taken me the longest to finish. I don’t recommend this course to anyone, and I don’t think I’d take any of his other courses.
Date published: 2018-02-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Title is perfect I’ve studied stress and the human condition for many years. Having the subject presented in such an organized and exciting way gave me an infinitude if new insights into the meaning of stress as it effects the body.
Date published: 2018-02-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is my third course with Robert Sapolsky, and he’s still my favorite professor.
Date published: 2018-01-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I love Sapolsky This professor truly understands how to make complicated subjects easy to understand
Date published: 2017-11-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Much Appreciated I found the thoughtful explanation of the deep complexity of this subject very interesting. It was fascinating to learn about the deep interconnection between the psychological and biological aspects of stress. These lectures were stimulating in many ways, one of which was to challenge my faith-based (I think that Sapolsky would say "religiosity-based") commitment to kindness in support the health of those around me and myself; specifically it got me thinking about the importance of long term sustainability in caring for others; and where that is not possible, it raised the question...can the nature of the transition mitigate some of the ill effects of losing a source of social support? Thank you for a wonderfully informative and thought provoking course.
Date published: 2017-09-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sapolsky at his best Professor Sapolsky is brilliant, well spoken, & surprisingly hilarious. I definitely consider this to be a college level course because of the comprehensive subject matter and intricate vocabulary; but Sapolsky makes it easy to grasp. Overall, this course is very educational and entertaining. If you see a anything with Sapolsky's name on it, you can't go wrong.
Date published: 2017-07-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great, comprehensive, enlightening I started watching this and my 16 year old joined in. It is lengthy but it is so well done. He is an excellent speaker and makes the material easily understood by anyone.
Date published: 2017-05-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This guy knows his stuff and presents it so that even an English major can understand it. That's quite a feat.
Date published: 2017-04-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lunch with Sapolsky I've heard rumors of an interview question, "which three people from history would you have lunch with and why?" So maybe Sapolsky doesn't count as being "from history" but i would LOVE to have lunch with him. He is so easy to listen to, AND i can re-explain what i have learned from him immediately. He truly makes the information accessible and digestible. This is my second lecture series from him, but NOT my last.
Date published: 2016-11-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I would recommend Dr. Sapolsky for any purchas I have listened to his "Human Behavioural Biology" lecture from Stanford on many occasions and have followed many of the conferences which he has spoken at online. I have also read his latest edition of "Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers." His knowledge is surely unquestionable and his wit is priceless. I would recommend this course to anyone, whether you have little or enormous familiarity in the subjects that are presented. If you have an interest in these topics, this will be one of your best purchases.
Date published: 2016-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Master Teacher This course is terrific! Buy a copy for every person who is super stressed. It will explain their mystery health problems for them.
Date published: 2016-10-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loaded with Information!! Wow! Dr. Sapolsky is an absolutely fantastic instructor! This course is never dull; he is loaded with information with just the right amount of detail to explain the mechanisms of stress and its effects on the body without being too hung-up on the biological details that a non-scientist wouldn't understand. Such a perfect compilation, yet still very informative for scientific listeners. The course is beautifully divided into sections on how stress affects people in various stages of life and gender, delving into all kinds of human behaviors as it is affected by stress. Dr. Sapolsky is PERFECT in how he explains (with just the right amount of humor) material without being, in any way, confusing. He has a gift to lecture with confidence and pays attention to details to keep the audience understanding through pertinent examples, review of previous discussions, and the relevance of stress in today's society. I think that this course wouldn't be as interesting if it weren't for such a terrific speaker. He clearly knows his material, yet he is not condescending. Such a pleasure to listen to. This course is loaded with information, and it's a keeper. I will need to view it again b/c there's so much information. Dr. Sapolsky is great at drawing connections among all the things that stress does in the body and how one thing affects another. My husband and I HIGHLY recommend this course!!
Date published: 2016-08-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stress and Your Body Excellent course, slightly difficult as it requires some biology or anatomy background. I found it very useful and enlighting.
Date published: 2016-06-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Comprehensive Review I have read the author's similarly excellent book on this same topic (Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers) and so was reluctant to purchase this course, fearing it would be duplicative. But Professor Sapolsky is such an excellent lecturer, I was captivated and never bored. His grasp of the subject is encyclopedic, and his lecture style excellent in terms of delivery and frequent restatements and summaries of this rather complex material. Professor Sapolsky is not a therapist or physician, so his final lectures on stress management ware fairly sparse. I strongly recommend other Great Courses, such as Mimi Guarneri's The Science of Natural Healing or Ronald Siegel's The Science of Mindfulness: A Research-Based Path to Well-Being, for anyone seeking practical advice on how to deal with the stresses in their life. That said, Professor's Sapolsky's course is THE course of anyone who seeks a very comprehensive knowledge of how stress affects our bodies in so many ways.
Date published: 2016-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Life line for the Stressed-out Audio CD review I wish I had listened to this course 30 years ago. It might have saved me a lot of self-induced pain. Despite the poor timing, I am exceptionally grateful for this course as it taught me about all the damage I have been doing to myself through purely psychological means over the years. Dr. Sapolsky is fun to listen to, even as he takes you through some fairly dire materiel. His illustrative examples are exceptionally well chosen; I was able to apply them directly to my own past experiences and present circumstances. My only complaint is that I wish he had spent more time on tools for managing stress. Dr. Sapolsky clearly establishes his central point early on. He then spends the vast majority of course teaching you the nefarious effects of stress on your multiple body parts and systems. He had me convinced after about the fourth lecture. I offer that the course could have been condensed into 12 or 18 classes. Better yet would have been to condense the “nefarious effects” portion and then expand the “tools for managing” section. Regardless of this small critique, this is course is “must-take”. I recommend taking this course in conjunction with the Great Courses on Mindfulness as they complement each other very nicely. This course provides you the cautionary warning; the Mindfulness classes arm you with some tools to help yourself.
Date published: 2016-01-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from (Audio review) Semi-highly recommended This course is great. I don't shower praise haphazardly. My background is a fairly highly educated humanities graduate student with an interest in biology and neurology. I found this course to be interesting theoretically and also very applicable practically. Dr. Sapolsky is an excellent lecturer. He is engaging and entertaining while striking the right balance between explaining unfamiliar concepts and going in depth when needed. There is a good deal of physiology and neurology in the course. The course is best for one interested both theoretically and practically. If you're only interested in knowing how best to counteract the negative effects of stress, there are probably better sources. But if you want to understand how and why our bodies react to stress, I couldn't recommend a better source. (Take that for what it's worth from someone whose only exposure to the physiological effects of stress comes from personal experience and this course!) I should say that I found Dr. Sapolsky's dry sense of humor charming, even if it does begin to wear somewhere later on in the course. He keeps things interesting. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2015-11-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Stress and Your Body I was looking forward to learning about how stress affects your body and the intricacies of stress with relation to ones physical and mental states and development. I was also looking forward to learning how to deal with stress to minimize the impact that different stressers have on ones life. The course had all this. I was excited to learn how different foods or exercises can impact the effect of stress on ones life. The course didn't have any of this. The content was well presented and learning about stress on a cellular level was very eye opening. The presentation was ok. He had his funny moments and was talking in a very monotone relaxing voice. However, the course failed to deliver some answers about how to deal with the stress in ones life. I came away feeling doomed. Often I was more stressed during the course than I had been before I bought the course due to learning about how stress has affected my life and how I have screwed my family due to stress. I now have learned that I will probably die from a variety of diseases due to the stress in my life. Wonderful. From an information and scientific level it was very informative, but if you are looking at ways to minimize stress or to learn how different things can help you deal with stress, you won't find it here. But you will find some depressing outcomes from normal everyday stress.
Date published: 2015-07-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Worthwhile! In this series of 24 lectures, Professor Robert Sapolsky synthesizes the impacts that stress is currently known to have on the human body. Though he has a very matter-of-fact attitude, much scientific ground is truly covered in these well conceived half-hours. Dreams, for example, are treated more substantially here than in Craig Heller's « Secrets of Sleep Science » where they are at the heart of the subject matter! Professor Sapolsky remains scientific to the end and his nuanced conclusions on stress management may disappoint some expecting all encompassing advice on the ideal lifestyle. Potential listeners should be warned of Professor Sapolsky's surprising tongue in cheek humour_ he refers for instance with apparent seriousness to Angelina Jolie's future nomination to the US Supreme Court. Though a bit unnerving at first, some quips do turn out to be really funny. Certainly, there are less and less as the series progessses. Overall, this is an excellent course that may be recommended to all.
Date published: 2015-06-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Here Is Why I Rate It 5 Stars I judge things like this very simply. Was it worth my financial investment. YES Was it worth my valuable time? YES Was the professor good enough that I didnt fall asleep while watching in a comfortable reclined position? YES This professor knows his stuff, delivers it well, and I love his dry sense of humor.
Date published: 2015-05-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Many Ways Stress Affects You This is a course which is almost entirely about how stress affects your body. And that includes everything from your brain to your bladder, and most of the body's systems in between. It surprised me how much I learned about how the body works from a course on stress! Note: this is definitely not a course on how to cope with stress. Based on his background, I don't think Sapolsky is the right person to teach coping strategies anyway. There are some insights on coping, but not much: tiny tidbits along the way and then the last two lectures. All that being said, once you understand what stress is doing to you, you'll have more incentive to reduce it in your life! This course is somewhat like drinking from a fire hose. The information comes fast and furious. Sapolsky is clear and explains things quite well. The graphics were key to helping me understand what was happening and so I recommend the DVDs. He also has many real-life examples of the affects of stress. There were a couple of downsides. I got tired of hearing him tell me not to write things down. Things such as the names of various hormones. Does that mean he thought that I should be writing everything else down? Maybe he didn't want me getting all hung up on the names. But, whatever the reason, it got old. (For completeness, I didn't write anything down - I wanted to learn this for fun.) Also strange was his announcing how he'd changed his socks and shirt provided by The Great Courses. Was he making excuses for his wardrobe? He did this a couple of times. Odd. (I never saw anything wrong with his wardrobe.) Overall, this was a great course. I hope that Sapolsky does more courses as I find his lectures to be both educational and enjoyable. I've added a link to the other Sapolsky course I've watched and I highly recommend it as well. I recently purchased his 3rd course and it is in my queue.
Date published: 2015-02-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stress and Your Body Excellent style,content and holding interest level.
Date published: 2014-12-28
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Waste of time The prof even admitted on the next to last lecture, "so far, we've seen no way to deal with stress." He draws conclusions in the last lecture that take three sentences. He talks about the biology of stress very knowledgeably for 22 lectures then reveals in the end that you've just wasted 11 hours.
Date published: 2014-12-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Stress and your Body Highly informative and enlightening. The Course is supported with good animations and diagrams
Date published: 2014-11-05
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