Category Archives: Expert Advice

Stress: When the Body says No

I recently attended the Recovery 2.0 conference where I heard Canadian Dr Gabor Maté make a bold statement about pain being our body’s call to healing. I realised then that while it is good to strive for balance and harmony in our work and homes – it is also necessary to strive for balance and harmony between our mind and bodies. In fact, it is of the utmost importance that we understand what happens when we don’t each achieve that much sought after balance and harmony. We MUST comprehend at a deep level that our bodies, more so than our minds, send us warning signals.

Any discussion of the work-life balance that fails to take into consideration the devastating effect of stress on our lives is incomplete. Stress in any area of our lives will have a negative effect on all other areas of our lives. A stressed person is a stressed person at work and at home. While you may not be talking about the cause of your stress while at work, you will be carrying your stress with you. Stress isn’t like a jacket – it’s not something you can wear just when the weather’s right.

I have found no better voice on this subject than the brilliant Canadian Dr Gabor Maté.

Combining scientific research, case histories of everyday and famous people, and his experience as a palliative care doctor, his book When the Body Says No:  The Cost of Hidden Stress presents a unique perspective that both compels and empowers people to promote their own healing.

Feelings of stress are messages from our bodies!

When the Body Says No:  The Cost of Hidden Stress provides answers to important questions about the effect of the mind-body link on illness and health and the role that stress and one’s individual emotional makeup play in an array of common diseases.

When the Body Says No:

  • Explores the role of the mind-body link in conditions and diseases such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, IBS, and multiple sclerosis
  • Draws on medical research and the author’s clinical experience as a family physician
  • Shares dozens of enlightening case studies and stories, including those of people such as Lou Gehrig (ALS), Betty Ford (breast cancer), Ronald Reagan (Alzheimer’s), Gilda Radner (ovarian cancer), and Lance Armstrong (testicular cancer)
  • Includes The Seven A’s of Healing:  principles of healing and the prevention of illness from hidden stress

Listen to this informative talk by Dr Gabor Maté and hear him explain, in his own words, how stress can cause disease:


Have you ever been so stressed you needed time off work? Were you afraid to take time off work because of stress or mental health problems? Have you noticed how more physical/body-related diseases such as cancer receive a different response from employers?

How do you handle stress? Do think personality plays an important role in how an individual chooses to cope with stress? Do you think it’s time you learned to listen to your body and to say no?

Do you have any advice for people who are stressed and sick and tired but afraid of how time off might affect their jobs and family?

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Ted says…

I’ve put together my list of the best Ted talks in recent years about finding balance in work and life. Whether you are a mother, father, child-free, single-parent, immigrant, working abroad, a student, or a CEO, I am sure you will find something in these talks to make a difference in your struggle to balance it all.
1. Michelle Ryan is a Professor of Social and Organisational Psychology and Dean of Postgraduate Research at the University of Exeter, UK, and Professor of Diversity at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands. With colleagues she has uncovered the phenomenon of the glass cliff, whereby women (and members of other minority groups) are more likely to be placed in leadership positions which are risky or precarious.

2. Public policy expert Anne-Marie Slaughter made waves with her 2012 article, “Why women still can’t have it all.” But really, is this only a question for women? Here Slaughter expands her ideas and explains why shifts in work culture, public policy and social mores can lead to more equality — for men, women, all of us.


3. Work-life balance, says Nigel Marsh, is too important to be left in the hands of your employer. Marsh lays out an ideal day balanced between family time, personal time and productivity — and offers some stirring encouragement to make it happen. He presents and writes on business and personal life — and how the two interact. He is the author of “Fat, Forty and Fired.”

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