What is stress, and how can we use it to be a better business dad?

We are all stressed!! And good, if we had not stress in our lives, we would struggle as human beings. We would not have achieved much in our lives without stress. 

Stress is a natural response to a change in our environment. As a business dad, we are no strangers to stress, and it is a constant battle to manage stress.

A significant factor as a business dad is that stress can come in many different ways; in business, the stress of leads, clients, staff, turnover, HR, and teambuilding. As a dad, supporting, growing, teaching, anger management, funding, the list is endless.

For me, a big part of working with business dads is to help them understand stress better, enabling them to manage and use situations more positively.

Importance of Understanding and Managing Stress

We must get to grips with two main areas: 1. understanding stress and why we have it, and 2—managing it.

Stress, in its essence, is the body’s natural response to challenging situations or environments, be they physical, emotional, or mental. 

I am sure that we understand that there are different forms of stress, 


Often regarded as “positive stress,” the motivating force propels dental professionals to excel in their field. It is the exhilarating feeling that accompanies tackling new challenges, solving problems, or helping someone. Sometimes, people talk about entering into a flow state when a person’s skills match the challenge. It’s important to note that eustress can happen as a dad and business leader.


On the flip side, distress is the more alarming face of stress. This damaging form can significantly impact our well-being and performance. Stress is negative when it exceeds our ability to cope, fatigues body systems and causes behavioural or physical problems. 

It emerges from the overwhelming that can lead to emotional exhaustion, poor concentration, lack of focus, performance anxiety, and burnout.

Stress isn’t merely a psychological state; it leaves a tangible imprint on the body. There is an excellent book called by Dr. Gabor Mate, “When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress”. He talks about the cost of long-term stress on the body.

The body’s “fight or flight” or sympathetic nervous system activates under stress. This response triggers the release of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. 

As mentioned above, this can be very useful, but it can lead to physical and mental health challenges over time.  

Acute Vs Chronic

Of course, we can not always have eustress in our lives. Distress is part of life; bad things happen to nice people. However, if that distress is acute, meaning it occurs for a short time and we can recover from it, it will be a positive. Chronic stress is when is occurs for long periods of time with no opportunity for the body to recover or reset.

Several studies have shown chronic stress exerts a general immunosuppressive effect that suppresses or withholds the body’s ability to initiate a prompt, efficient immune reaction—increasing the risk of sickness and lack of performance. 

The Importance of Managing Stress

Managing stress is the main goal and a fundamental prerequisite for performance and well-being as a business dad. I am surprised how little everyone generally invests in ways to manage their stress better. 

As we know, improving our ability to manage stress will:

Enhanced Our Caring As A Dad

Stress management equips us as dads to support our children to have emotional regulations when they don’t.

Professional Performance

Business dads who proactively manage stress are better positioned to perform better in business. As we know, stress can impair cognitive function; hence, stress management directly contributes to more accurate, timely, and effective clinical decisions. In addition, a manage stress enables us to communicate better 

Work-Life Integration 

Effective stress management fosters a healthier work-life integration, allowing business dads to pursue fulfilling personal lives alongside business demands.

How can we manage stress?

Research suggests that cultivating mental well-being is crucial for stress management. 

Here are some proven ways to support your stress:

  1. Incorporate mindfulness practices into your daily routine, such as meditation. These techniques have been shown to reduce stress and enhance emotional resilience. Even short sessions (2-5 mins) have been shown to benefit stress regulation (JAMA Internal Medicine, 2014).
  2. Physical activity not only benefits your health but is a potent stress reducer. Research indicates that exercise can help lower stress hormones and trigger the release of endorphins, improving mood and cognitive function (Harvard Health Publishing, 2018). Ask yourself, how can I add activity to my day? A walk at lunch, cycling into the practice, playing with your children.
  3. Incorporate breathwork exercises, like deep or box breathing, into your daily rituals. Research has shown that controlled breathing techniques can help calm the nervous system and reduce stress responses, promoting relaxation and mental clarity. (Journal of Clinical Psychology, 2017). Breathwork has grown in popularity, and for me, it is a fantastic effect method to regulate our nervous system and take back control.
  4. Adequate and restful sleep is a non-negotiable element of stress management. Research consistently highlights the importance of sleep in regulating stress hormones and enhancing cognitive function. Establish a sleep routine and create a conducive sleep environment for optimal recovery (Sleep Medicine Reviews, 2015). 
  5. Fostering social connections is a powerful stress buffer( Holt-Lunstad, 2022). Numerous studies have shown that strong social support is linked to lower stress levels and improved mental health. Make time for friends and family within and outside the dental profession to build a robust support network. Many business dads I work with tell me, “I don’t have time to see my friends or be with my family”, but by developing social connections, you can perform better at work.

By implementing these research-backed strategies and incorporating them into your daily life, you can proactively manage stress and ultimately reduce the effects of chronic stress. This holistic approach encompasses being human; we must move, eat, sleep, breathe and think to have a fulfilling life.


Stress is going to be part of day-to-day life in general. Being a business dad offers us a fantastic challenge: if we focus on the foundations of being human, we can use stress to our advantage. But with any change, the first is to become aware of this. 

I hope you enjoyed this piece on the topic of stress.

If you are interested in stress and how you are improving your stress response take our Business Dad test here.

Always happy to speak to fellow business dads.


Find out more about me and my mission here.

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