11/28/2012 10:59 am ET Updated Jan 28, 2013

Invisible, But Deadly

How would you feel about something that can cause these health problems?

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Muscle tension or pain
  • Chest pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Nutritional deficiencies[1]
  • Insomnia
  • Lowered sex drive
  • Digestive problems
  • Heart palpitations
  • Depression
  • Overeating

And, don't let me forget to mention that it can contribute to cancer.

Would you invite this thing into your life?

Would you try to stay away from this thing?

And, if this thing did worm its way into your life, would you do everything possible to control it or get rid of it?

The "thing" I've described is something we're all familiar with -- stress. It is as invisible as air, but as deadly as poison.

I can't think of anything more important to your health than effective stress management. Proper nutrition is equally important, but stress management and nutrition take a backseat to nothing when it comes to keeping yourself healthy, well and alive. Your body can't maintain the best health without essential nutrients. And, your body can't maintain the best health amid relentless stress.

The problem for most people is that stress is ubiquitous -- it seems to creep into every aspect of life. There's job stress, traffic stress, relationship stress, financial stress. There's stress from being overscheduled, stress from being in crowded places, stress from multi-tasking. The list of stressors is seemingly endless.

So, what can a person do? How can you deal with stress when managing it seems like trying to catch the water that flows over Niagara Falls with a bucket?

The solution starts with intention. There's a huge difference between wishing you could do something and intending to do it. The best strategy for dealing with stress is to make stress management your highest priority each day of your life. That's the only way you can possibly avoid the disastrous health effects of stress.

It's not too hard to do, as long as you remember these three words: change, avoid, eliminate. They are what you have to do with the sources of stress in your life.

For example, if job stress is damaging your health, then change your job. If you live in a congested area where traffic is brutal and aggressive driving is common, then avoid unnecessary car trips and consolidate your personal errands. And, if certain people or situations have become impossible to tolerate any longer, then eliminate those from your life.

This may sound inflexible or harsh. But just go back to the beginning of this article and look at the health consequences of not managing your stress.

In addition to changing, avoiding and eliminating your sources of stress, here are five more things you can do to manage stress:

  • Do deep-breathing exercises. Let your doctor recommend the best ones for you.
  • Avoid caffeine.
  • Have adequate sleep.
  • Meditate.
  • Be more positive -- suppress negative thinking.

Remember, your purpose in life is not to be a human sponge for stress. Stress is poisonous to your body, and can contribute to your death.

I'd love to hear from you about this subject. Contact me through my website at And remember, eat well, be well, and have a great day!


[1] Balch, CNC, Phyllis A., and James F. Balch, M.D. Prescription for Nutritional Healing. P. 647. New York: Avery division of Penguin Putnam, 2000.

For more by Mitch Plotnick, click here.

For more on stress, click here.