How Political Thinking Makes Us Stressed (Part 1)

by Doc Orman, M.D.

How Political Thinking Makes Us Stressed Part 1This week, I want to return to the subject of politics and how it can make us stressed in ways we typically fail to recognize. 

A few weeks ago, I published a three-part blog series on how some behaviors of politicians can impair our mental health by influencing us on both conscious and subconscious levels.

The three stress-producing political behaviors I focused on at that time were:

1)    Directly and intentionally stirring up our emotions;

2)    Endorsing ineffective problem-solving strategies;

3)    Lying and diminishing the value of telling the truth.

How Political Thinking Can Make You Stressed

This week, I want to focus on how thinking like a politician can also make you stressed.  In each of my three posts this week, I will identify one key thought pattern that is prominent in politics and that is also a powerful hidden cause of much of the stress we non-politicians experience every day of our lives.

In other words, I’m going to make the case that politicians are constantly “polluting” the mental environment in which we live, work, and think.  

And if you let your own habits of thinking become too highly influenced by all the political rhetoric around you, you will be training your mind (and your body) to have much more stress than you need to have.

Politics, Polar Bears, And Stress

What Do Polar Bears Have To Do With Politics And Stress







So to kick off this three-part series, I want to ask you the following question: 

“What do polar bears have to do with both politics and stress?”

Well, at first glance, it might seem that polar bears have nothing to do with either of these other two entities.  And if you agree with this, you’d be correct.

You see, polar bears have absolutely nothing to do with either politics or stress.  However, polar thinking most certainly does.  And if there is one thing almost every politician is an expert at, it is getting as many people as possible to think in highly polarized ways.

When was the last time you saw a politician try to encourage you to think in a balanced, logical, truthful, dispassionate way?  Probably never!  It’s just not what they do.

To the contrary, their primary aim is to get you as emotionally charged up as possible, and then have you to direct all that emotional energy either positively towards them or negatively towards their political opponents.

And just how do they get your emotions all jazzed up and flowing?  They do it by inviting you to join them in the land of “either/or” thinking.  And like obedient lambs to the slaughter, we just follow their thought-directing ways and begin eagerly lapping up all their “either/or” premises.

Polarized Thinking Is A Root Cause Of Much Human Stress

Politics and polarized (either/or) thinking go hand in hand.  If you don’t believe me, just look at the political discourse you’ve been subjected to for the last two years, and especially the last several months of this presidential election cycle.  It’s been filled with and endless array of “either/or” metaphors, such as:

  • Rich vs. Poor
  • Good vs. Evil
  • Right vs. Wrong
  • Right vs. Left
  • Black vs. White
  • 1% vs. 99%
  • Raising Taxes On The Rich Is Good vs. Raising Taxes On The Rich Is Bad
  • Patriots vs. Tea-Baggers
  • Strong vs. Weak
  • Smart vs. Dumb
  • Liberal vs. Conservative
  • Dangerous For The U.S. vs. Good For The U.S.
  • It’s Bush’s Fault vs. It’s Not My Fault (sorry, I couldn’t resist that one)

Emotions Also Have Their Roots In Polarized Thinking

When you start to understand the root causes of human emotions (especially strong negative ones like anger, fear, resentment, and distrust) you will discover that almost all of them (both positive and negative ones) have their roots in some type of either/or, polarized thinking.

I can’t really explain this to you in detail in a short blog post like this, but I do explain it clearly, and in great depth, in my four free e-books that I offer as a gift to every visitor to this blog. So if you haven’t downloaded and read these four great e-books yet, just click on the link below to grab them.

                         Free Downloadable Four-Book Stress Relief Library


To get your own complete download of this entire four-book Stress Relief Secrets REVEALED library, go to and download it right now.  

My point here, however, is simply that politicians desperately want to train you to think in “either/or” ways, because it suits their purposes and goals.  However, this is exactly the type of thinking that generates much of the stress in your life, so if you let politicians dictate your thought habits, you’re going to end up with much more stress as a consequence.

Who Really Built It?

Here’s just one example of a very politically charged, emotion-rousing statement that was recently made:

“If you have a successful business today, you didn’t build it.” 

This is a classic example of political “either/or” thinking.  One side repeatedly argues that if you have a very successful business, other people (including the government) contributed mightily to your success.  The other side argues that this is a preposterous assertion.  They jump to the other polar side and argue that if you have a successful business today, it was primarily “your own hard work, sweat, and dedication” that made it happen.

Notice that both of these positions are being “sold” to you as being right/true, with the recommendation that you consider the other as being wrong/false.  The problem is that neither of these statements, on their own, is correct.  The real truth about all successful business is that both the business owners and many other people had a hand in every success.  Without your own hard work and industriousness, it’s unlikely you would have succeeded. But without roads and bridges, delivery services, law enforcement, customers, investors, etc. you also probably would not have been successful.

In other words, the real truth about “who really built it?” does not have an either/or answer. It has a “both/and” answer, so if you view the question from either polar point of view, you’re going to be thinking (and feeling) within a false sense of “reality” about what actually happened.

This is the real problem with “either/or” thinking and how it leads to unnecessary stress in our lives.

So the next time some politician tells you how committed they are to your personal health, well-being, and success, you might want to ask them why then are they encouraging you to think in such unhealthy, non-productive ways? 

Don’t worry, they’ll never give you a straight answer to this question (most won’t even understand it), but it would be fun to pose the question anyway.

In my next two posts on this topic, I’ll focus on two specific variations of “either/or” thinking that politicians gleefully spread around, much to the detriment of our own health, happiness, and peace of mind.


                          Special FREE Download Gift!


Free Downloadable Four-Book Stress Relief Library


To get your own complete download of this entire four-book Stress Relief Secrets REVEALED library, go to and download it right now.  Also, when you get these four PDF e-books on your computer, don’t just let them sit there!  Don’t promise yourself that you’ll eventually get around to reading them later.  That usually doesn’t work, and it’s very likely you will never, ever get around to reading them. And the information they contain is way too valuable and useful for you to miss out on any of it.

Once you do download these four e-books, I’m going to send you an email every day, for the next seven days, to support you in reading them all.

Go to right now and submit your best email address. Then, you’ll get an email asking you to confirm your intentions. When this email arrives (if you don’t see it within 10-15 minutes, check your spam folder), please click on the highlighted link and you’ll go directly to the download page, where all four e-books can be downloaded as one composite .zip file.

Best wishes and happy reading (and learning)!


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

igor Griffiths September 18, 2012 at 6:28 AM

Well Hello Doc, nicely timed post with the US politicians doing exactly what you describe.

Rather than foster healthy debate they go after raising the mob with the pitch forks to bolster their position, hardly as you say a healthy position for the mob members or society to be in.

This is of course why political engagement is in such rapid decline in the Western societies, we realise now that these politicians are only in it for themselves and we would be better just focusing on looking after ourselves and our communities.

igor Griffiths


Doc Orman, M.D. September 18, 2012 at 11:46 AM

igor: Thanks for your comment. I agree completely. Doc


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