The One Thing Science Tells You To Do To Lower Your Stress Level!

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Stress is a way that our bodies respond to any kind of demand or threat, and it is actually one of the biggest problems of our modern time. This feeling, which we are actually supposed to experience only when we are faced with a dangerous situation to be able to survive, has become so much more today and started harming our bodies. But how can we beat stress?

Researchers from Max Planck Institute have discovered interesting findings about stress thanks to the study they conducted on chimpanzees.

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The researchers, who took urine samples from chimpanzees that had social relationships with each other, measured the stress levels; and observed that the stress levels chimpanzees who had close friends were normal even when faced with a life-threatening situation.

The stress that chimpanzees experienced was also measured physically.

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Stress in primates is controlled by an interaction between the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal gland. This trio's collaboration is also called 'HPA Axis.'

This trio, which regulates cortisol, aka the stress hormone, are also in charge of digestion, immune system, fertility, and cognition.

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That's why keeping your HPA Axis is not only effective against stress but also very vital for your overall health. It has been argued by scientists for a long time that building good social relationships is the best way to achieve and retain this balance.

The researchers observed some chimpanzees in Uganda to uncover the relationship between the social interactions and HPA Axis.

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The chimpanzees were observed in their social circle, in conflict situations, and while resting. Keeping these different social settings in mind, researchers took urine samples at different times and examined the cortisol levels of chimpanzees.

Catherine Crockford, who ran the study, says the following about their findings.

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"We found that within each event, the animals' urinary glucocorticoid levels were lower when engaging with bond partners rather than other individuals, whether during stressful intergroup encounters, everyday affiliative grooming, or resting."

For example while in conflict with animals from other groups...

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If chimpanzees don't have good friends around them while facing conflict, their cortisol levels rise abruptly. However, if they have supporters in their immediate surroundings, their stress level stays the same, no matter how dangerous the situation they are in is.

Same goes for physical contact.

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Physical contact is helpful in reducing the cortisol levels only when it is established with a close friend. However, the physical contact with strangers does not cause any changes in the hormone levels.

Considering our evolutionary proximity with chimpanzees, scientists argue that probably the same goes for us, humans.

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It is very likely that making close friends keeps our stress levels and more importantly, our general health in balance. So the cliche expression "Humans are social animals" does indeed seem to be true.

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