Stress Awareness Month: The “Stress Is Unavoidable” Myth

by Doc Orman, M.D.

The Stress Is Unavoidable MythApril is National Stress Awareness Month ( and this week I am highlighting excerpts from a recent article that appeared in the Huffington Post last week on common myths about stress.

Stress Myths: 9 Common Misconceptions About Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

The Huffington Post  |  By Carolyn Gregoire Posted: 04/03/2013 8:49 am EDT  |  Updated: 04/03/2013 9:22 am EDT

Stress Myths Abound

As you may know, especially if you are a regular follower of this blog, I have spoken far and wide about the dangers of common popular, yet quite mistaken, concepts about stress.  Here are just a few of my previous posts on this topic:

The Myth That Stress Actually Exists

The Myth That Human Beings Actually Suffer From Stress

The Myth That Managing Stress Is Our Best Coping Option

Also, when I originally created Stress Awareness Month more than twenty years ago, one of my main goals was to stimulate more open discussion about harmful misconceptions regarding stress that are prevalent in our society. 

So I was extremely pleased to see the Huffington Post take on this challenge, given the mass public exposure they have.  The first of these nine myths they pointed out is the myth that stress can be an effective and useful motivator. The author of this article, Carolyn Gregoire challenges this assumption and I wholeheartedly agree.  If you missed my post on Monday, you can click on the link below to read it:

The “Stress Motivation” Myth

Stress Is Not Inevitable

The next myth I want to address from this article is the belief that stress is an unavoidable, absolutely inevitable consequence of modern living.  According to Kathleen Hall, Ph.D, a stress expert and founder of the Mindfulness Living Network:

“Despite what many believe, feeling stress isn’t inevitable.  While we don’t have the power to prevent stressful situations from occurring, we can control our reactions to them.” 

I also strongly support this myth-busting statement as well.  However, the article doesn’t tell us how to do this…it just suggests that we can, which is true.

It’s Not Easy But It Can Be Done

Learning how to lead a stress-free or relatively stress-free life in today’s high-paced, high-stress environment isn’t easy, but it can be done.

It takes a fair amount of self-discipline, self-introspection, and a very open mind to be able to pull it off, however.  It also take having the right understandings about what stress really is, where it really comes from, and why managing stress is not sufficient to get you there.

Each of these skills require that you first recognize and then learn how to debunk a whole bunch of popular myths (much more than nine) that are keeping you from understanding how to achieve a low-stress life in the first place.

And it is only because we have so many myths about stress today that are believed so widely, and so strongly, by millions of unsuspecting people who have been sold a bill of goods that we falsely conclude stress is unavoidable.

Yes, if you subscribe to the many false beliefs that make up the prevailing “stress management mentality” of our times, you will most likely find that stress is going to be unavoidable for you.

However, if you start doing what many people are beginning to do today—that is systematically reject most time-honored concepts about stress and replace them with new, better, and much more useful ones—you just might be surprised to find that stress is not as inevitable as you once falsely believed it was.

Upcoming Forgiveness Book Promotion

Remember that all next week, from Monday, April 15th through Friday, April 19th, 2013 you’ll be able to download my new Kindle book (below) for free directly from Amazon:

The Art Of True Forgiveness: How To Forgive Anyone For Anything Anytime You Want (Doc Orman, M.D.)

If you recently downloaded my anger relief Kindle book, The Irritability Cure, there is a good bit of content that’s the same in both of these books, especially with regard to understanding the origins of human emotions in general and learning how to identify the internal causes of anger in particular.

But this is really good information to review a second time and to also see how it can be applied whether you are wanting to deal with anger when it first happens (acute anger) or much later on, when it has turned into smoldering resentment and seems much more difficult to overcome.

So if you missed the first free offer this month for The Irritability Cure book, please make sure to take advantage of this second free offer that will be available all of next week (Monday through Friday only).

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

'Dr Sniffle' April 10, 2013 at 7:08 AM

Hi Doc

As you rightly point out part of the reason for the ‘popularity’ of stress is that there is plenty of money to be made from people remaining exactly where they are and not improving their situation.

By following the simple steps that you highlight throughout this blog and in your writings, we can all achieve a transformation in our lives, it won’t of course be easy going against the tide but then nothing value ever comes easy.


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