Coping With Stress: Stress Relief…Beyond Belief!

by Doc Orman, M.D.

In my last post, I wrote about the allegory of Plato’s Cave to draw your attention to the role that faulty beliefs play in the origin of our stress.

You may have noticed, in the header of this blog, that I adopted the slogan “stress relief…beyond belief” as  my main tag line.  I did this for two reasons:

1)    My goal is to help you achieve levels of stress relief that you believe are not really possible for you, or anyone else, to achieve;

2)    In order to achieve these uncommon levels of stress relief, you’re going to have to see through (i.e. beyond) any false or self-limiting beliefs you may have, and that you may have become very fond of.

Thus, the phrase “stress relief…beyond belief” describes both a goal to be achieved and the main requirement for achieving that goal.

As we’ve already seen, people have many myths and misconceptions about what stress is, what causes it to occur, and what they can do about it.  When these specific false beliefs are identified and then corrected, many new possibilities are opened for dealing with stress more successfully.

I Am Not A Runner!

Let me give you a non-stress-related example that might help to illustrate the incredible power of this very important point.

For most of my adult life, before the age of about 30, I was not an exerciser.  I didn’t really enjoy physical exercise (outside of playing sports) and I particularly hated running.  Periodically, I would try to force myself to run on a regular basis, but I never kept it up for more than a few days.  I was absolutely convinced that I was not a runner, that running was not an enjoyable activity, and that people who ran regularly, especially those who ran many miles at a time, were either masochists, who enjoyed pain and suffering, or they were certifiably crazy.

Then, around age 30, I went through a process (it would take me too long to explain it in detail right now) where I discovered that most of my strongly-held beliefs about running were totally wrong!  They were nothing more than deceptive shadows on my own personal Plato’s Cave.

As I went through the process of specifically identifying, and then dismantling, these false internal beliefs about running, I discovered there were many more that were causing me to turn running into a painful, unenjoyable activity, and that were causing me to falsely conclude that running was not for me.

As a direct result of getting in touch with these false internal beliefs about running, many of which had been with me for years, I was able to turn my whole relationship to running, in particular, and to exercising, in general, completely around.

In 1979, I trained for and ran my first complete marathon (26.2 miles) in 3:48. I enjoyed the entire 5 month training period and thoroughly enjoyed running every mile of the race.  The evening of the race, I held a gala party to celebrate this major accomplishment in my life, and I danced most of the evening, to the tunes of the D.J. I had hired, until way after midnight.

I went on from there to train for and complete 4 additional full marathons, including running the Boston Marathon twice. And I continued running, and enjoying running, for more than 25 years!

I even created a training program to help people who hated running or who hated exercising to profit from what I had learned, so they too could turn their whole relationship to physical activity around.  And this program turned out to be even more successful than I had dreamed it might be.

Don’t Underestimate The Power Of False Beliefs

I tell you this story about my personal transformation as a runner, so you can hopefully appreciate two important things.  One is the power of false beliefs (many of which we might not be consciously aware of) to cause unnecessary stress and suffering in our lives.

The other, is how, by identifying and then being able to see beyond these false beliefs, we can open the door to “unbelievable” personal happiness, accomplishments, and success.

This is why I maintain that “Stress Relief…Beyond Belief” is not just a cute, make-believe marketing slogan.  It’s a very real reality that can be achieved by almost anyone.  But in order to reach for, and then grasp, this “brass ring,” you’re going to have to leave some of your most cherished personal beliefs behind.  They are weighing you down, in ways you may not fully appreciate, and they are keeping you from being your best and having much less stress and tension in your life.  In other words, they are keeping you chained to the “realities” you know, instead of freeing you to soar to other realities that are out there waiting for you to discover.


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