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.