Nobody ever has anything good to say about stress. It is right up there with mosquitoes on the list of the unwanted gifts from Mother Nature. Nevertheless, it is virtually impossible to live a stress-free life. We were designed to experience occasional stress and then quickly recover. Imagine you are a hunter-gatherer living 10,000 years ago. One day, things are not going well; and the creature you were hunting chases you up a tree. Very stressful. Once it stops growling, and wanders away, you climb down, cheer up and go merrily on your way. That is the kind of stress we were designed to deal with: occasional stress.

Now imagine the American worker of today: All the way to work he worries that he may fall victim to the “downsizing” that has reduced his department by 50 percent. His stomach churns. Because the workload hasn’t diminished, he has been ordered to shoulder twice the responsibility. He is still tired and stressed out from the pressure and isn’t thinking clearly. Every day it gets a little more difficult. It seems like the workday never ends. Plus, no matter how much he does, he never gets any praise. His supervisor seems to have learned his skills at the Cotton Fields School of Management, where The Boss sits on a big white horse and point out all the mistakes your employees make while instilling as much fear as possible.

The stressors he notices and complains about are just the tip of the iceberg. Beneath the surface there are other, more subtle factors that affect his peace of mind, clarity of thought, creativity, self-esteem and physical health. Our bodies were not designed to deal with chronic stress.

Here is the simple formula

Which is why we say An ill-fitting career can kill you.

Even if it doesn’t actually kill you, your compromised immune system is less able to fight off pathogens that lead to everything from colds to deadly diseases.