Stress, health, aging, and conflict what do they have to do with each other and business valuation?

Young lady in front of laptop biting her pencil

In many professions tight deadlines, being an expert witness, litigation, and other stressors impact your every day. The questions are what does this do to with your health? How does this impact your aging? What about conflicts at work? After some research in these areas here are some great ideas to help you with these issues and a personal insight related to business valuers.




Neuroscience provides a host of insights on this topic and aging. Stress is not a bad thing. We all need a certain amount of stress. Positive stress or eustress is good for us. This helps us to be successful in sports, at work, and in healthy relationships. However, to much stress is unhealthy. Too much stress causes us to age faster when we feel we are under pressure. Here are some bullets of key elements for your consideration:

  1. Stress can be a precursor to mental health disorders and anxiety
  2. Stress can cause premature aging
  3. People who do not manage stress well can increase their risk of death by 43%
  4. Smoking, excess alcohol, and being overweight are all associated with the biology that increase the risk of death
  5. A plant-based diet can reverse the negative health impacts of stress
  6. Intense exercise can reverse the negative health impacts of stress
  7. Using coping strategies perceived as exciting can help manage stress
  8. Resilience helps in overcoming stressful situations.
  9. Mindfulness helps you become more resilient
  10. Experiencing positive emotions (music, sports, reading a book) all broaden your mind

Picking up on these ten tips you can see both the negative impacts of too much stress and what you can do to overcome the harmful impacts of too much stress. Consider prevention up front and what you can also do to limit how much stress you let impact yourself. This can be imposed on you by your reaction to the situation.


What you tell yourself matters


You have developed both positive and negative habits over time. These habits impact your daily rituals as well as how you approach situations. Your brain likes predictability. When you are about to enter a stressful situation, your brain wants to set you up for success by providing you with what you need given historical references.

You can help overcome your stress with positive self-talk and self-distancing.

 For self-talk give yourself encouragement. Tell yourself “I can do this.”  Focus on remaining calm, confident, and competent even when it may not feel this way. Stay focused on the problem and be gentle on yourself and the other party. For self-distancing ask yourself how would a third party look at this? Ask yourself questions like “why am I feeling this way?’ “Why is the other party feeling that way?’ What can I do to help the situation? In fact, encourage yourself with your name as a third party. My name is Mike so I could say to myself “Mike you can do this” several times to encourage myself.

As with anything it takes practice. Do not beat yourself up when this does not work as planned. Learn from the experience. Take a step back. What can you learn from that experience to help you in the future? Apply what you have learned next time and keep building. Think of a child and taking first steps that begins to walk and gains confidence going forward.


What about when you are involved in conflicts


When you are in a conflict with another person there are three key elements to keep in mind from the perspective of a negotiator. These are:

1.       “Avoid being provoked into an emotional response,

2.       Do not abandon value-creating strategies, and

3.       Use time to your advantage.”

taken from this  blog post associated with a reference to the Harvard Program on Negotiation at the Harvard Law School. In Peaceful Resolutions steps three to nine are right on point. These are

3. Set the internal conditions for peacemaking by using the insights of neuroscience

4.  Master the art of de-escalation

5. Control yourself

6. Monitor your physical stance

7. Manage the de-escalation discussion

8. Inhibit the fear response

9. Help parties move towards a peaceful resolution

Avoid being provoked

Stay focused on the problem. Know your triggers. Walk away if you must. Remain focused on the problem and staying calm. This will help keep the situation calm or help the situation return to a calmer level.

Create value

Often issues focus on the bottom line and money. However, shifting focus to how other stakeholders may look at this at this time can be helpful. Consider timing impacts,  and other impacts such as your or their interests, quality, personal issues, relationships, and other concerns that may arise may create value beyond for example the bottom line.

Use time for your advantage

You may want to hold out for a higher-level decision maker to enter the discussion. You may want to hold off until cooler heads can look at the situation later. Over time there could be a different set of alternatives to consider. Some may have expired. New one may emerge. Considerations to short term gain or loss may be weighed against long term gains or losses.


What about expert witnesses and business valuers?


As an experienced expert witness and a business valuer now focusing on alternative dispute resolution,

I see implications in this area for example with the IRS.

The IRS has various job aids related to business valuation and more recently has lost seven valuation cases in a row in federal courts. This track record presents a hazard of litigation in this area for the IRS. In addition, the IRS Job aids provide for alternative ways to consider key technical issues related to Discounts for Lack of Marketability (DOMs), reasonable compensation, and S-corp valuations that allow for a taxpayer to offer alternative approaches to resolve issues. Understanding these job aids and more recent court cases can help reduce stress on the parties and allow for the parties to find alternative ways to resolve complex issues.




Neuroscience offers great insights. Stress is real. Too much stress is bad. Understanding how to cope with stress and taking appropriate actions can make a real difference. What you tell yourself matters. When you are in conflict you can take actions to focus constructively on the conflict. Issues with business valuation and the IRS lend themselves to these approaches. This is but one example of how you can address health, aging, and conflict.

About the author

Mike Gregory is a professional speaker, an author, and a mediator. You may contact Mike directly at and at (651) 633-5311. Mike has written 12 books (and co-authored two others) including his latest book, The Collaboration Effect: Overcoming Your Conflicts, and The Servant Manager, Business Valuations and the IRS, and Peaceful Resolutions that you may find helpful. [Michael Gregory, ASA, CVA, MBA, Qualified Mediator with the Minnesota Supreme Court]