Many people in the general public view real estate as a profession that doesn’t require tons of time and effort to make money. They believe real estate agents only work when they have to show a house, or close a deal.
All realtors know this isn’t the case. There’s actually a ton of work and stress that goes in to being a successful realtor.
In fact, realtors were found to be the 5th likeliest profession to commit suicide through research conducted by NIOSH.
Which is why I’ve created “Stress: The Realtor’s Survival Guide”.
Every profession has its pros and cons. Real estate is no different. With that said, there are specific stressors that realtors face on a regular basis that are specific to the industry.
For example, realtors are constantly “on”. If a client wants to see a house, a hungry realtor will do what he/she can to drop everything and get the potential buyer in for a viewing. This may come at the expense of preparing healthier food, cutting a workout short, or cancelling on some alone time.
There’s always the threat of an important email, or phone call coming through at odd hours of the day/week that cuts into your normal schedule. Or sacrificing family time on the weekends in order to host an open house with the hopes of landing a few solid leads.
As long as there are deals closing, money is good.
However, if the realtor doesn’t have any new listings, emotional stress may be increasing. After all, they’ve got to feed their family.
One thing that often is forgotten is the physical stress of being a realtor. Driving to and from showings/meetings takes a toll on a realtor’s spine and nervous system. When the body is stuck inside a car for multiple hours per day, the spine begins to warp. This may lead to increased pain, discomfort, and other symptoms.
Combine that time spent in a car with hours at the desk filling out paperwork, prospecting for clients, etc. and you have a recipe for disaster!
It’s obvious there are many factors contributing to stress among realtors. And all these factors come at the expense of the realtor’s health and well being. I’ll go into detail on each in this guide.
But before we do that, I’d like to share a better understanding of stress and what may cause it…
What creates stress?
Most people believe stress is emotional in nature. For example, a fight with your spouse, or a failing business can lead to high amounts of stress. But emotions like fear, worry, anger, and frustration are “emotional stress”. This category of stress is not the only one.
In fact, there are actually 3-types of stress:
Each one of these categories involve different triggers.
Emotional stress aside, chemical stress is found eating things like processed foods, drinking tap water, breathing in polluted air, taking drugs, consuming alcohol, etc.
And physical stress can be generated by sitting, desk work, bad posture, car accidents, lack of exercise, too much exercise, etc.
In 1983, Time magazine published an article that linked stress to 75-90% of all doctor’s visits. This number includes psychological issues, as well as physical problems.
So what do physical, chemical, and emotional stresses have in common?
Because they all cause the same physiological response inside the body.
It’s called the stress response.
It’s basic purpose is to keep us safe and help ward off danger.
This happens through the release of Cortisol (a hormone responsible for inflammation). It leads to an increase in blood pressure, faster heart rate, rounded posture, tightening of muscles on your back and legs, etc.
While at the same time, halting digestive processes, pushing blood from the forehead to the arms and legs, and pulling sugar out of the cells and dumping it into the blood stream.
All this is done to help us escape and get away from the angry predator that’s chasing us.
Thousands of years ago, this was a very beneficial response. In fact, if we hadn’t reacted this way our species would not be around today.
Interestingly, as our way of life has changed dramatically from our hunter gatherer days, our bodies and stress response has not.
So, even though our lives are not in danger, we are still reacting as though it is when something negative happens to us.
Which impacts a realtor’s health, as well as their productivity and success.
Stress kills all deals…
When we are being chased by something we don’t need a lot of blood flow to the frontal lobe of our brain (the part responsible for rational thought).
Why would we need to think long and hard about something when an animal with fangs is running after us?
All we need to concern ourselves with is escaping!
This reaction is great when a tiger or bear is chasing you. But if you’ve been traveling around Greenwood Village for any length of time you probably know there aren’t a lot of those roaming around these parts anymore.
Here’s how it applies to realtors…
A major part of keeping buyers/deals on-track is thinking outside-the-box, and overcoming obstacles to get the deal done.
If an agent is under too much stress, instead of thinking about creative options, their mind can get stuck in the fight or flight response.
After the stress settles down, the realtor will be able to think more clearly and come up with a better answer, but it may be too late.
This can be seen with a realtor during a showing, when in discussion for a new listing, or when responding to emails/phone calls with a disgruntled buyer.
Health results of stress overload…
Realtors are not just vulnerable to stress when it comes to their job performance and success in selling. They also have significant health challenges that arise as a result.
Some of the more common signs and symptoms of high stress levels in realtors are:
- High Blood Pressure
- Anxiety/ Depression
- Pain in Neck/ Back
- Migraines/ Headaches
- Frequent Colds
- Digestive Trouble (IBS, Constipation, Chron’s, etc.)
- Difficulty Sleeping (Snoring, Sleep Apnea)
- Bad Posture
- Skin Conditions
- Bad Memory
How to survive and thrive under stress…
So what can realtors do to reduce their stress levels, be healthier, and more successful?
Answer: Meet the following 5-Requirements consistently for a period of time.
1) Sleep –
Nothing leads to a decreased life expectancy faster than a lack of sleep. It’s the only time the brain and heart have a chance to slow down and heal damaged tissue. Without this time to rest, the body will begin fall apart.
Have you ever gone too long without charging your computer? What happens?
It crashes. So does your body if it doesn’t re-charge.
The average American should be sleeping around 8-hours per day. But it gets more detailed than just making sure that all your sleep adds up to 8-hours each day.
In order to get the requirements your body needs when it comes to recuperation, you must be sleeping 8-hours straight through, without a break. For example, a 5-hour sleep with a 3-hour nap added in sometime during the day doesn’t count for a sufficient amount due to how the sleep cycle works.
Any interruption to sleep causes the cycle to start back at the beginning, never allowing the chance to get into the deeper and beneficial stages of sleep.
If you’d like more information on sleep, click this link.
2) Fuel –
Eat clean, healthy, organic food.
It’s no secret that food quality has become worse and our access to key nutrients has decreased. Without a healthy diet, our bodies will be without the fuel necessary to run efficiently, and they’ll eventually break down.
Imagine you just bought a 2019 Mercedes S-Class. When you leave the dealership, they inform you that you need to fill the car up with premium unleaded gasoline. Nothing less will do. Putting the lowest grade unleaded fuel in the car could actually damage it.
This approach needs to be the same for realtors and their bodies. In order to have good health, energy, and focus good fuel is a requirement.
3) Movement –
I deliberately chose to use the word “movement” instead of “exercise”. Because not all exercise is good or healthy for the body. And what we don’t move, we lose.
In order to maintain a healthy body we need to make sure to move all joints as much as possible.
Our modern lifestyle is not conducive to health. We sit too much, stare at technology far too long, and rarely move with purpose.
The average American should be getting 30-minutes of movement daily.
Do you know how many actually get that?
4) Nerve Function –
All realtors know it’s good to eat well and move the body. Yet, how many know an optimal spine and nervous system is a requirement for being healthy?
In my experience, not many. In fact, the majority of realtors have never had their spine and nervous system examined for core problems.
Furthermore, most know they should be getting their teeth checked and cleaned regularly, as well as brush daily.
How come we don’t do the same with our spine and nervous system?
After all, teeth are made of similar material as the spine, and they break down/degenerate just like the spine does. The only difference is that teeth can be replaced if they fall out or decay too far.
At this point, we don’t have technology to replace your spine when it falls apart. Because the spine protects your nervous system, which runs everything in your body. It runs very cell, tissue, and organ in the body. Therefore, if it doesn’t work very well, neither will the rest of your body.
How do you get core problems?
From too much physical, chemical, or emotional stress.
If you don’t get rid of these core problems, they affect your spine in a very similar way to how cavities affect your teeth. At first you might not feel pain, or any symptoms from a cavity. In fact, the only way to identify them may be on x-ray. But over time if the cavity is left in, it leads to a lot more trouble.
Core problems work the same way in your spine. When they are initially found they may contribute to some of the pain, digestive issues, or fatigue you’re experiencing. Or, you may not notice any symptoms at all.
If the core problems are allowed to remain, over time they will begin to contribute to a variety of different health issues: pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances, anxiety/depression, bad memory, etc.
How can you fix this?
By finding a specialist who corrects core problems in the spine and nervous system.
5) Emotions –
We will always have negative and positive emotions. Realtors are no different.
However, if negative emotions tend to dominate thinking, due to the stress response, the likelihood of health issues increases.
There are many approaches to improving mental and emotional health. Some better than others.
By ensuring you’re getting the other 4-requirements from above, you’ll have a better chance at experiencing less negative emotions.
However, that’s not all that’s necessary to have a healthy mindset.
It’s also extremely important to be clear about what is important to you. In other words, what are your core values?
Are you spending most of your time on things you enjoy? Or are you spending it in other places?
Emotions are simply a barometer of how close you’re living to your core values.
The further you stray from them, the more unhappy you become.
Become clear with what makes you happy, then spend more time doing it. Minimize your time doing the other things.
Technology isn’t making our lives easier, it’s actually making them worse. The challenges realtors face today are more numerous and much different than they faced just 10-years ago.
Clients now expect an immediate response to a disgruntled text, email, or phone call. Along with implementing all the classic marketing, like networking, cold calls, etc. Realtors now must have a strong social media presence, website, etc.
It’s a lot.
And all realtors should be aware of the toll it takes on their health.
The 5-Requirements that I laid out in this guide provide a path to better health and prosperity.
It’s up to you to take action.