How Political Thinking Makes Us Stressed (Part 3)

by Doc Orman, M.D.

How Political Thinking Makes Us Stressed Part 3This week, I am focusing on subtle ways that political thinking makes us stressed.

In my first post, I explained how polarized thinking (either/or thinking) is one major way that politicians contribute to our stress.

Then, in my second post, I highlighted credit/blame thinking—another way that politicians promote habits of thinking that increase our stress.

Win/Lose Thinking

Today, for my final post in this three-part series, I want to focus on win/lose thinking, which is another form of polarized thinking that’s extremely prevalent in politics, and not always with ideal outcomes.

Win/lose thinking is so much a part of politics that we don’t even notice we’re being indoctrinated into a polarized mindset that is not only bad for our personal and mental health, but is also detrimental to our society.

When you live in a win/lose world, some people are “winners” and others must necessarily be considered “losers.”  The winners get power, fame, money, etc. The losers get all the short sticks.  In politics, this means that the winners gain positions of power and control in our system of government, while the losers are relegated to play secondary and often insignificant roles.

What’s So Bad About Win/Lose Thinking?

Obviously, in politics as in sports, win/losing thinking is a necessity.  But it can often be taken to extremes. It can drive people apart from each other and diminish the spirit of partnership, cooperation, and mutual support that is so vitally important for any healthy community of human beings.  It can also cause people to act in very inappropriate ways.

When human beings become obsessed with winning, they can easily be induced to compromise their morals, their values, and their integrity.  They can justify, in their own minds, lying, cheating, stealing, and many other nefarious behaviors.

While this can happen in both sports and politics, in the sports world, the overall focus on winning tends to foster (in general) the individual and societal value of “being the best one can be.”

However, in the political arena, the opposite message seems to get expressed.  Often, you can win in politics by being “the worst human being you can possibly be.” And this is not a great model to be holding out as “virtuous” to the rest of society.

It’s Even More Damaging!

However, the biggest problem with win/lose thinking, at least in my opinion, is that it encourages us to think in many other either/or ways. The more we engage in all types of polarized thinking, the more stress we will end up with, because the real world we live in is usually not just one-sided.

When you become hypnotized by months and months of political campaigning (and other societal influences) to continuously thinking in stark polar opposites, you are being conditioned to have multiple distorted views of reality.  You also become more susceptible to other common forms of either/or thinking, such as:

  • Right/Wrong Thinking
  • Good/Bad Thinking
  • Credit/Blame Thinking
  • Trust/Don’t Trust Thinking
  • Strong/Weak Thinking
  • Stupid/Smart Thinking
  • Cause/Effect Thinking
  • And many others.

All of this polarized thinking causes us to have problems and stress in our lives that we might not have if we were encouraged to think more expansively and inclusively.  If we were simultaneously able to see both the good and the bad in any event that at first seems totally bad to us.  If we were able to simultaneously consider what might be right or reasonable about positions other people take that strike us as being totally wrong.

And what if instead of constantly thinking of winners pitted against losers, we adopted more win/win strategies in our dealings with others?

Thought Pollution

We are so concerned about environmental pollution today that we fail to appreciate all the thought pollution that goes on around us.  If you think thought pollution can’t harm you (and your body) just as much as chemical pollutants can, you are likely to be mistaken.

And one of the biggest sources of thought pollution in our society today is our politicians, and we have allowed them to become so. Hopefully, one day, we will begin to own this mistake and will push for new standards of behavior in politics that embody much more truthful and health-promoting thinking, speaking, and behaving.

                          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)!

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