What the Doctor said about Stress

My wife visited the doctor recently and posed an interesting question to her. She asked, “Why is it that I seem to get sick from all the ailments my children bring home from day-care while my husband is unaffected”? The doctor followed up the question with two direct questions of her own:

How is his stress level? My wife said, “Very low”.

How is yours? She answered, “Much higher”.

Nothing more needed to be said.

It must be noted that I have never been seriously sick other than 3-4 days of not feeling 100% along with the occasional stuffy nose. In addition, the last three years of our children’s day-care have been enormously healthy for me.

I learned a long time ago about the negative effects of stress on one’s health and vowed to keep a close eye on mine – making sure to keep it low in order to deal with the challenges of life with the full capacity of my mind, body and soul. I believe that most people know that high stress levels limit life’s enjoyment yet choose to ignore or not address the issue for a variety of reasons.

I hope the moment with the doctor was a wake-up call for my wife and can serve as inspiration for those of you who struggle with the ill effects of stress. Throughout my life, I’ve seen many individuals consumed by stress with the worst cases resulting in physical and mental burnout.

My father-in-law (doctor also) believes that one’s inability or ability to fight off sickness is determined primarily by one’s DNA. He could be right but one thing is certain, stress doesn’t help the situation if that is indeed the case. Let’s also remember that other issues come into play in regards to health including but not limited to our food choices, sleep, environment and exercise.

The title of my first article in 2009 is called, “Life is (and should be) All about the Benefits”. I encourage you to read it. (link is below)


There is NO BENEFIT to constantly being sick especially if you are not doing the proper things to maintain a healthy YOU. If YOU are not the most important person in your life, I would be willing to bet that some invaluable elements for maintaining a healthy lifestyle are missing from your weekly routines.

In our increasingly busy and complex world, we often forget these 7 simple yet profound words:

NOTHING is more important than our health.

Happy Gswede Sunday!

Stockholm, Sweden


Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with your last line: ‘Nothing is more important than our health’. But I note that tonight Swedish TV will show a Finnish movie where the priorities of life seem to be: 1) coffee and 2) to listen to one’s own emotional life.

Once my club (five women of different ages and occupations) had a vote on the most important issues of life. Our priorities: 1) health, and 2) human relations.

I share the biological view of DNA etc. But I would like to add that the old recipe for insomnia seems to work: a ‘lagom’ long walk in the evening, not immediately before going to bed, but a bit earlier, seems to help me to sleep a bit better.

It is a remedy which is easier to adhere to during the summer months. And easier when you don’t need to do a lot of other things at home, or are too tired to even think of a walk. But still: free advice.

Anonymous said...

Åhhhh - tänk att du alltid har rätt! :-)

Bra ord - mitt i prick!

Unknown said...

Some ailments are most likely predetermined by DNA, others not. One can even argue that our ability to manage stress is even preprogrammed into our DNA (but even that would be to some degree I suppose).

However, one thing that I find works pretty well to alleviate stress is a small amount of time management early in the day. Most stress occurs as a byproduct of reacting to unexpected. Our stress levels increase because of something that is presented to us that we don't know or know how to deal with.

A simple daily task of 1 minute to sort out what you expect to accomplish that day can alleviate much of the stress of what to do when something unexpected arises.

This exercise works for many reasons. First it establishes in your mind that a certain task or activity will be done regardless of the hurdles that you face. If for some reason it can't be done, then you can be satisfied that you have at least tried and move onto the next item - or do what I do, celebrate the fact that you tried.

Secondly this small organizational exercise puts your mind at ease to know that the world is in at least some kind of order that you can control. It gives you the ability to "roll with the punches" - which as any old fart will tell you is the key to life.

So my advice is a little time management task in the morning to reduce a days worth of stress. Constant reaction to unexpected nonsense would drive anyone crazy - regardless of their DNA makeup.