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Life Health > Health Insurance

How stress can kick the health out of you!

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Robert Sapolsky, author of “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers,” puts the relationship between stress and health into clear perspective: 

“A critical shift in medicine has been the recognition that many of the damaging diseases of slow accumulation can be either caused by or made worse by stress.”

A financial advisor case study

Steven decided to take educational courses to prepare himself for an advising career.

He obtained the required licenses and was excited about the possibility of providing a wonderful life for his family.  

He soon became completely devoted to his advising career, to the detriment of his family, but it was hard to slow down with the money pouring in.

By now, Steve had a multitude of stressors (common to the advising profession) pouring in on him. Steve:

  • Was burning the candle at both ends.
  • Got out of bed exhausted each morning and feeling like he was heading off to a battle.
  • Was reluctant to delegate any responsibilities, contributing to the overwork that was leading to a breakdown in his immune system.
  • Demanded perfection from himself and his staff and was being impatient with anyone who wouldn’t comply.
  • Micromanaged every one and everything.
  • Excessively worried about making mistakes with clients’ money.
  • Gave himself little or no time for exercise.
  • Had an unhealthy diet. 

It wasn’t long before Steve’s stress “kicked the health out of him,” and he was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer, requiring surgery and, ultimately, three months of intensive treatment, which afforded him a remarkable learning experience.

This unplanned absence from his job forced him to make some dramatic changes in both his life and work. 

He had plenty of time to contemplate, meditate and reflect about both his lifestyle and work style and what led up to his cancer diagnosis. He read several books addressing the relationship between stress and illness.  stress at workSteve’s Solution

Steve began his recovery by taking the “risk” to delegate many responsibilities to the wonderful business team that he that he put together. “I realized that my work/life balance was unbalanced; I had become a slave to building the business…and I neglected good quality home time and time for me, and I even neglected my health.”

When he returned to work, Steve continued making changes that would ultimately help his team and himself:

  • Believing that he was responsible for keeping his employees healthy, he rewarded them not only with financial incentives, but with paid days off.
  • Steve dramatically lightened his work load and diligently took a day off in the middle of the week to go sailing.
  • As with his clients, Steve made a plan, with goals, so that he could retire with enough wealth in the next seven years.
  • Dramatically, Steve referred each and every one of his “difficult clients,” focusing on the rest and accumulated enough wealth to actually retire at the age of 55.

Steve’s health rebounded and people close to him remarked that he had become a much nicer person.

Your action plan:

Take care of your emotional health by taking care of your physical health. Develop and maintain healthy habits, such as:

  • Build a team around you of people you can trust to run your practice in your absence.
  • Delegating as much work as possible and give yourself a planned break during the week.
  • Recognize that lightening your workload and focusing on your favorite clients will not dramatically cut into your income.
  • Keep your blood sugar low with frequent, smaller meals, including protein.
  • Eat light at night.
  • Get ample sleep.
  • Load up on antioxidant-rich foods.
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco.
  • Keep your weight in the normal range for your age and height.

In my next article, I shall explain exactly why stress impacts your health and longevity and I will give you another successful advisor case study, along with an action plan for success over your stress.

Dr. Jack Singer is a Professional Clinical/Sport Psychologist and a Professional Speaker and Success Coach, for financial professionals. He is the author of “The Financial Advisor’s ULTIMATE Stress Mastery Guide,” which can be ordered at:  Dr. Jack also has a unique  program for driving new clients to advisors/producers via his Client Appreciation Event. For more information, visit his website at , or call him at 1-800-497-9880.


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