The Ticking Time Bomb Stressing Your Success

August 26, 2014

by Dan Solin

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Being an investment advisor is stressful. Not only are you coping with the difficulty of running a business, but you are also doing so amid increased competition and downward pressure on fees.  Here’s some insight on how stress reduces your ability to work effectively – and what to do about it.

How stress affects your body

The ways our bodies respond to stress have been well documented by the medical field. According to the Mayo Clinic, when we perceive we are under acute stress, our adrenal glands release adrenaline and cortisol into our bodies. These hormones increase our heart rate, elevate our blood pressure and boost our energy. Once the perceived threat disappears, our heart rates and blood pressure return to normal.

Health risks of stress

Adverse health effects occur when we are under constant and unrelenting stress. Elevated levels of adrenaline and cortisol, over time, put us at increased risk of many health problems, including anxiety, depression, digestive problems, heart disease, sleep problems, weight gain and memory and concentration impairment.

That’s bad enough, but it gets even worse.

A recent study from the Institute of Epidemiology in Munich found that almost 20% of employees are affected by high levels of work-related stress. The study observed that an increase in stress hormones can damage our circulation and major organs. Significantly, these hormones upset the ability of the body to moderate blood-glucose levels. As a consequence, the study concludes that stress at work raises the risk of diabetes by 45%, even among those not typically considered at risk.

A recent blog post by Don Joseph Goewey acknowledged these harmful effects of stress and added a new wrinkle: Stress hormones can shrink the part of the brain network that enables us to excel. . It can also kill brain cells. Goewey referred to a pair of brain scans from the Mayo Clinic that demonstrated the impact of stress on brain function. One showed a brain “beleaguered by stress.” The other showed a brain functioning with little or no stress. The stress-free brain was lit up like a Christmas tree. The brain under stress looked like a satellite image of North Korea at night.

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