You need to feel some sort of freedom in your life to achieve and maintain your health and wellness. Feeling trapped in a corner by your relationships, job or life circumstances are a sure way to raise your stress and increase your risk of sickness.
People and animals that perceive that they’re backed into a corner are more likely to be adversely affected by stress. There’s irrefutable evidence that feeling trapped can raise our stress and increase our cortisol levels. This in turn can activate our fight-or-flight response and slow our body’s natural healing factor even if there’s no physical threat to our well-being. Just the perception that we are cornered by life circumstances can increase our stress. Chronic stress ultimately increases the chances that we may adversely our health.
Stress researcher and Stanford University Neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky has made a career of studying stress in humans and animals. His most famous research has been done over a period of 20 years studying the hierarchy of a baboon troop in Africa. He wrote a classic book called “Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers” and has contributed some of the most important work to stress management research..
Sapolsky’s research on the baboons in Africa focused on the hierarchical relationship between the alpha males and the subordinate males and what the stress levels of the respective groups were. By tranquilizing and measuring the cortisol levels of the baboons, Sapolsky could determine how high the animals’ stress levels were. He discovered that the alpha males had the lowest amount of stress in the troop as they were able to dominate the lower-ranking males and make their lives unpleasant. In turn, Sapolsky found that the subordinate males had higher levels of cortisol and were much more stressed out.
Here’s more detailed info on Sapolsky: http://news.stanford.edu/news/2007/march7/sapolskysr-030707.html