As a medical whose doctor professional life also involves the business world at various times I, like many of my colleagues around the world, treat many patients who suffer from illnesses which are caused by stress. In fact it has been shown that most people who seek help from their doctor do so because they are suffering from an emotional or physical ailment which was brought on by stress. And in the business world I have seen the destructive effects that stress has on the performance of individuals and companies.

Unfortunately though many people do not recognize that this is the case and therefore do not take the necessary steps to prevent their stress from spiraling out of control and causing them some form of harm. And in many cases quite serious harm. But even worse untreated stress causes people to die!

So it is very important then to know exactly what stress is and what it can do to you. And the stress we are talking about is 'chronic' or 'on-going' stress. Short-lived stress or stress which lasts for less than an hour or two is normal and part of our survival mechanism. For example if you are hiking in the forest and you spot a grizzly bear coming towards you, your most likely reaction would be to run as fast as you can in the opposite direction until you are out of danger. You would have done so because of the stress response which was triggered by the sighting of the animal. Because short-lived stress helps to keep us alive our bodies and minds have adapted to withstand this type of stress and it causes us no harm.

The problem though, and I am sure your will agree, is that we live in a world where we are constantly exposed, not to grizzly bears, but to many things which we often think of as a threat to our well-being. Although these threats may be real or just perceived as real, our brain and body responds in the same way to both - by triggering the stress response in order to deal with the threats. And it is this constant triggering of the of the stress response which is so destructive to the brain and body since they are not designed to withstand such persistent stress. The end result is that we suffer from one or other emotional or physical illness, or frequently, both. But the scary thing is that many patients I have spoken to who were suffering from a stress-related illness and who were told that their sickness was due to their chronic stress actually believed that chronic stress is normal!

Author's Bio: 

Faiez Kirsten is a medical doctor with extensive experience in various aspects of the healthcare environment and has also worked and consulted in the corporate arena. Faiez has published 3 books & an e-Report on the subconscious mind and is also the creator of 360 on-line leadership assessment. His special interest is in the application of brain research findings to enhance health, wellness and performance at both an individual and organizational level. His website is at