Stress is Death by 1,000 Cuts

stressed out

Stress is killing us slowly and we don’t even know it.

We all know stress is bad for us. We all know it doesn’t feel nice. But did we know that it is the same thing as torture? Did we know that stress is killing us slowly and we don’t even know it? Just like Lingchi it’s a slow form of death, except we’re doing it to ourselves.

Lingchi is an ancient Chinese form of torture. When I say ancient, it was only banned in china in 1905. It roughly translates to ‘Death by 1,000 cuts’ whereby the perpetrator is bound and drugged in a public square and bled slowly to death, one cut at a time.

A little nick here, a little nick there.

Not much at first – incisions into the skin and muscles, followed by the joints. Hour after hour, the prisoner is sliced a little more until, eventually, he dies by 1,000 cuts.

Not a pretty picture, is it?

And yet I see people doing it to themselves, day in and day out.

Ok, we aren’t slicing ourselves with a knife but we are killing ourselves little by little. Think about all the choices we make, everyday, which are killing us slowly, bleeding us of our life and our vitality.

The tools we use to kill ourselves slowly

Here’s a few for you in case you’re struggling to identify them:

  • Jobs we don’t like
  • Relationships we hate
  • No passions and past-times in our life
  • Mouth breathing
  • Poor food choices
  • Sedentary lifestyles
  • Living indoors most of our life.

….the list goes on.

We are literally suffering the same barbaric fate Chinese prisoners faced with Lingchi. At least the prisoners had the act done to them.

We are doing it to ourselves!

What’s more is we are also drugging ourselves so that we can withstand all the pain of a life unfulfilled.

The drugs of choice we use to numb us from the world

  • Accumulation of things we don’t need or want
  • Alcohol
  • Meaningless Sex
  • Food
  • TV, magazines, social media and mindless surfing of the net.
  • Cigarettes
  • Harder core drugs

Look at each of them carefully, then look to your own life.

Can you see them there?

In and of themselves, most of these habits won’t kill you (at least, not immediately). But if you allow any one of them to get out of control or, even worse, if you build one habit on top of another, then you are effectively torturing your own body over a long period of time.


Sleepless nights, fatigue and ‘getting through the day’ are not normal ways of life for humans.

Coffee, sugar (in all its forms) alcohol, cigarettes and drugs are not required to keep us going.

Low energy, pain and disease are not things we should be living with on a daily basis.


The Human Being is born to do more than just survive, we are born to thrive.


Breathing, movement, natural food and play is what we need to thrive as Humans.

Love, faith, hope, passion, community, forgiveness and thanksgiving are requirements as whole Beings.

All of these lifestyle practices together foster a fulfilled life.





So, instead of choosing to torture yourself slowly over a lifetime,

you can choose to live a life of health and joy.

You Can Choose To Be Your Own Health Hero.



Leo Daniel Ryan

For 10 years I have dedicated my professional life to coaching clients and personal trainers to achieve their goals. I have worked at the highest levels of industry in both Ireland and Canada.