Stress: Portrait of a Killer, National Geographic, 2008.
This is an interesting documentary about stress. It starts by looking at a study of baboons, which has a clear hierarchy, with some baboons being allowed to torment others down an organizational line. The study found that those at the bottom of the hierarchy had more adrenaline and stress reaction related hormones in the blood stream. The study compared this with a hierarchy of an office, and found those at the bottom of the totem pole were more likely to be unhappy with work when compared to those at the top.
This study made the next leap, in both the animal and human studies. Those who were experiencing the most stress, appeared to have more health related symptoms. In animals this related to more clogging of the arteries, lower immune system, and even decreased brain cell function. Humans seem to mirror these results. Excessive stress can lead to coronary problems, high blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol, which in term can have long term health consequences. Those who are in management roles should use whatever influence they might have to create an environment with less stress. Although momentary stress can be fun and exhilarating; it can even lead to short term improvement in performance; however too much stress over a long period of time leads to the breakdown of the body and reduced performance.