In August, my History of Psychology Professor, Brian Higley, e-mailed the class a link to a clip from the documentary “Stress, Portrait of a Killer.” I watched it. Then I watched the next clip and the next until I had roughly watched the entire hour long documentary. In the documentary, neuroscientist, Robert Sapolsky discusses the human stress response. At one point, he mentions that when zebras are being chased by lions they have a certain stress response where all unnecessary bodily functions shut down so that they can fully concentrate on getting out of danger. This same stress response, that results from a life or death situation for zebras, is experienced by humans when they are stuck in traffic or thinking about the government or environment- things outside of their control. On top of all that, when zebras are out of the harmful situation, the stress response shuts off and zebras are able to return to their normal functioning. Humans, however, have a much more difficult time shutting off their stress response.
All in all, the ideas from this documentary, and the title itself got me thinking. What if someone got so stressed out they actually killed someone? From this I created “Stress.” A white-collar worker, stressed from his daily routine, snaps. He kills an unassuming co-worker in his personal office, disposes of the body and proceeds to sit in a trance at his desk- seemingly unaware of what just occurred.
What harm are we causing by creating so much stress for ourselves?