Internal Causes Of Stress: There Are No Stressful Situations

by Doc Orman, M.D.

There are no stressful situationThe second internal cause of stress I want to discuss this week is our tendency to view certain situations in life as being inherently stressful. 

I know this is a touchy topic to broach, but I thought I’d take another crack at it anyway.

Situations In Life Are Never Stressful

We’ve been taught to believe that certain situations in life are stressful in and of themselves.  However, it’s important to remember that situations are one thing and stress is quite another.  I know it appears that some bad or horrible situations really are stressful, but this is not really true. 

Situations are just that…events which happen in life…no more and no less.  Whether we become stressed by unpleasant events, or how severely we get stressed by them, has more to do with internal thought patterns and behaviors within us, rather than what may have happened.

Some people, for example, experience extremely horrible life circumstances, yet they do not become highly stressed by them.  This doesn’t mean they don’t react to adverse events such as deaths, disasters, sudden illness, etc.  It simply means there is great variability in how much stress people experience in response to these types of events, and this variability is almost entirely due to internal factors.

Why Give Up Your Power?

When we make the mistake of thinking situations in life are inherently stressful, we surrender our power to influence our responses to these events.  After all, if stress is part of the situation itself, there’s little we can do to obtain stress relief, unless we can change the situation.

On the other hand, the moment we recognize that the situation or event is one thing, and the source of most of our stress lies within us, this opens the door to exerting direct personal control over the vast majority of our suffering.

Whether you know how to exercise this type internal control or not, at least the possibility is open to you.  But if you continue to believe that stress is part of the situation itself, your options and coping strategies will be restricted unnecessarily.




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