How You Can Benefit From Knowing Stress Is Just a Word (Part 1 of 2)

July 9, 2012 0 Comments

Copyright © 2012 M.C.Orman, M.D., FLP

In previous articles and blog posts, I established the principle that stress is not some thing or condition that exists in the real word. Stress is simply a word that we use to stand for hundreds of other things in life that really do exist and that we really do suffer from.

These other things, that unlike “stress” really do exist, are the wide variety of problems we frequently encounter. Thus, when we think we are suffering from stress in our life, we are not. We are actually suffering from one or more very specific problems that are troublesome or distressing to us.

Now, you might be thinking “big deal”- knowing “stress” is just a word that stands for problems is merely a trivial semantic point.

Yes, I know it might seem that way at first glance, but I assure you it really does make a huge difference.

You see, we’ve all been well-trained by our society to lump all of our problems together and then think of them as one big problem called “stress.” Then, we are encouraged to search for solutions for our problem called “stress,” such as eating better, exercising more, using relaxation techniques, taking medications, etc.

This Is Not a Good Approach

This coping strategy, while very popular today, is not the best we can do. It might be fine if all you want to do is deal with just the symptoms of your problems. But if you want to address root causes, you’ve got to think very differently. You’ve got to get very specific about each and every individual problem you might be having, because individual problems usually have individualized causes.

Thus, the difference between thinking your problem is “stress” and separating them out into the discrete individual “problems” that they are is the difference between focusing on symptoms vs. focusing on causes. And this is not a trivial difference. It is also not just a matter of interchanging equivalent or similar words.

Benefits to You

Here are just some of the benefits you can gain from always reminding yourself that stress is just a word:

You’ll stop making the mistake of thinking your problem is stress. You’ll start focusing instead on the real problems in your life. This will force you to define your problems more specifically. Instead of asking “How can I deal with my stress?” you’ll begin to ask more focused, problem-specific questions. Your answers to these problem-specific questions will be much more useful in helping you deal with your “stress.” So you see, it can make a world of difference if you train yourself to stop putting your focus on this mythical entity called “stress” and put it where it rightly belongs…on the specific problems that are troubling you.

In my next article on this topic (Part 2) I’ll continue to explore additional benefits of remembering that stress is just a word.

Doc Orman has taught people how to deal with stress without having to manage it for more than 30 years. His approach is innovative and more empowering than stress management. To learn more, visit

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