Stress Kills - Take it Easy

2010-07-22 5:07

We're all conscious of how harmful smoking is, drinking too much, eating too much - but how about stressing too much?

If you're working on becoming more healthy - that is fantastic & I certainly encourage that you continue, but do bear in mind that being physically fit is not the only factor to staying healthy. Stress can literally kill!

Spending time taking Barney for a walk is something I do every day, which helps me stay stress free!

I didn't know that a quadruple heart bypass was even possible. I thought the maximum number of grafts was three. But some time ago when a friend of ours was told his angina had become life-threatening and that he must undergo one of the most serious operations possible, I realised there's only one person more important than a brilliant surgeon - and that's a responsible heart owner.

My brother-in-law Shipi and I dropped in to the London hospital where our friend, a lawyer we've known for over 20 years, was recovering. It's a good thing Shipi never became a doctor - his bedside manner is appalling.

"I bet when they cut you open," he announced, "the surgeons discovered you didn't have a heart at all. I always said that's what makes you such a great lawyer."

In fact, the surgery cannot be carried out while the heart is still pumping. It has to be stopped while the new arteries are grafted into place: in order to save the patient, the doctor must first kill him.

Many of my legal friends tell me the biggest problem they face is stress. In a high-powered career, where the stakes are high in every case and clients can face ruin if their lawyer isn't 101 per cent committed to his work, physical tension can destroy the body.

It doesn't matter if you're a non-smoking vegan who jogs to the office every day and never touches more than a half-glass of Chianti: stress is a killer.

In fact, in recent years doctors have stated that there is a very clear relationship between stress & illness. It appears to be more dangerous if there is some underlying health condition - for example there are cases where seemingly very healthy people have suffered heart attacks, and it's then discovered that there was some underlying heart condition - and it is believed that stress is responsible for such conditions that were previously dormant, becoming prevalent.

That's why I'm delighted that my son, Daniel, quit his work as a barrister in London chambers to retrain as a Californian lawyer, and recently passed the Bar exam. All that sun and surf will help him to relax.

I spend a lot of time keeping fit, but I've realised for some time that it's not just about physical health - so I also look after myself by doing all I can to stay as stress free as possible. It's difficult to stay completely stress free with all of the worries & responsibilities that we have, but there are many things we can do to minimize stress.

Change your job:

If you hate your job & it really stresses you out - then look for a new job, or even an entire new career.

The father of a good friend of mine was becoming very stressed in his job, he was in his mid 50's and realised that the stress of the work he had done for over 20 years, was making him ill. He was successful in his career, and any career move would have meant a wage drop. He decided his health was more important, and decided to get a job as a refuge collector! Most of us would cringe at the thought of picking up rubbish - but a year or so later, and he couldn't be happier, he earns less - but he's stress free & happy.

Change your relationship:

I feel extremely lucky for the fantastic relationship myself and Hanna have, however I know that not everybody is as lucky when it comes to relationships. Some times couples are together because they fear separation or are worried about the effects it may have on the children - however what often happens is that stress levels are heightened for both sides of the relationship, and this often effects the children deeper & for longer periods than a separation would.

I'm not saying couples should separate at the slightest thing - all couples have problems or disagreements from time to time - but if you're in a relationship that you know you don't' want to be in it, and you're staying in the relationship for fear or change, then this may cause you a lot of stress over a long period of time, and it's not healthy.

Manage your finances:

Money worries can make people VERY stressed, in particular debt.

In 2010 there are a large number of people suffering from financial problems & carrying what feels like mountains of debt on their shoulders. This can cause very heightened leveled of stress, and many relationships that end are actually due to financial stress.

If you're in debt, you're certainly not alone. In the UK, the Citizens Advice bureau deals with nearly 10,000 cases of debt every single day, and every 4 minutes in the UK another person is declared bankrupt or insolvent.

So if you're stressed because of money worries, realise that you're not alone, there are thousands of other people in the same situation, and focus on the solution, not the problem. The law of attraction states that what you think about you bring about, so if you're constantly worrying & visualizing your money problems, you'll just help to create more of the same. Visualise what you want, not what you don't want.

I would recommend that you watch a DVD called "The Secret" which is an introduction to the law of attraction. Starting to put your attention on the things that you do want, rather than that which you don't want - will attract towards you the kind of life you want to enjoy.

Do what you can to manage those money issues - speak to experts, consult the Citizens Advice Bureau, find a way to manage the issue so you can then put it completely out of your mind  & focus on the things you do want in your life rather than spending so much time & energy thinking about debt.

If you're out of work - get back into work:

If your money issues are due to being unemployed - become employed.

If you are finding this difficult, take a step back & try to understand why you're struggling to get a job. Are you trying to work above your level of experience, are you asking for too much money initially, do you need to work on your appearance or your interview manner? Go speak to someone who will be honest with you, try your bank manager!

Seriously, if you're out of work then your bank manager has a vested interest in you getting back into work. Arrange a meeting to discuss your finances - and while you're in with him or her, explain that you want someone who'll tell you the truth, to give some neutral advice on what you can do to improve your chances. The advice you get may surprise you. Do you know anyone who likes to speak the truth, someone who often rubs people the wrong way because they say things exactly the way they are & pull no punches - go speak to someone like this, they're very useful when you need to hear completely frank advice. You don't have to agree with advice you hear, but at least hear people out - you may discover things which you hadn't realised. Sometimes you're too close to the woods to see the trees.

There is an awful lot to say on the subject of becoming employed, interview technique, self confidence & so on - so there isn't room in the article to expand on this, but I will do in a future article.

Do what makes you happy:

Take some time out whenever possible to do what makes you happy. Whether it's spending time with your children, grand children, or your favourite hobby, just make sure you spend some time doing things which make you feel good.

Meditation:

 The power of meditation has been known for centuries. Just breath deeply & clear your mind, spend some time to get into a feeling of being beyond space & time. Who needs to spend hundreds of thousands on a flight out of space??

Of course it is also important to lead a healthy lifestyle - in a future article I will share with you all of the things I do to stay fit & healthy.

My final advice to you is to have regular medical checkups just to prevent any serious ailments that could come unexpectedly.