My patients often question whether stress is the cause of whatever is ailing them.  Stress has been linked to many diseases and certainly is a factor underlying most of what ails us.  The only problem with stress is that it is unstoppable.  Of all the successful men and women I see over my lifetime, not a single one has successfully avoided stress.

Since stress is unavoidable, then proper stress management is the key to a happier and healthier lifestyle.  There are thousands of books written on stress management.  There are college level courses, seminars and stress management coaches available to help you.  Drs Wright and Lapporte are psychologistS who worked out of my office. They can teach you how to better manage your stress.  It would be great if stress management was taught in elementary and high school but, for some strange reason, it isn’t.

In keeping with my theme of investing in your health the same way you invest in your financial wealth, I want you to think about your emotional health as if it, too, existed in a retirement fund.  My patients have long term emotional goals (dreams).    “One day” we’ll get a cabin in Wisconsin; travel to Europe; get a boat; sky dive, but today we need to work to save money.  We need to save money so “one day” we can be happy, stress free.

The problem with the one-day scenario is that we really don’t know how many days we, or our significant others, have.  I have lots of patients who have only regrets as their “one day” came one day too late.  I advise my patients to set 90-day mental health goals.  Every 90 days you should take a three-day weekend and do something you’ve always wanted to do.  Whether you take three days to yourself or spend them with loved ones, make sure they are memorable.  If you follow the 90-day rule, then you are never more than 90 days away from a break.  The 30 days prior to your three-day weekend, you can get excited about the time off.  The 30 days after the weekend you can glory over what you did.  The middle 30 days you can plan your next escape.

The 90 day rule is one of my stress management techniques.  It fills my life with lots of good memories.  It helps me stay healthy.  Try it, I think you’ll like it so much that you may even decide to take four or more days at a time.  Americans live to work.  Europeans work to live.  Live now while you are healthy.  Be wellthy with memories and your stress level will diminish.

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