Stress Awareness Month: The “Stress Motivation” Myth

by Doc Orman, M.D.

The Stress Motivation Myth

April is National Stress Awareness Month ( and already a wide assortment of stress education activities are well underway all across the country.  Just Google “Stress Awareness Month” or check out the talk on Twitter at #stressawareness or #stressawarenessmonth to see what’s going on.

When I created Stress Awareness Month more than twenty years ago, my goal was to facilitate a cooperative effort between stress experts, health professionals, and health care organizations all across America to inform people about the dangers of stress, the availability of successful coping strategies, and harmful misconceptions about stress that are prevalent in our society.  And this is exactly what is happening right now.

Huffington Post Weighs In

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

As you can see from the byline above, this post appeared on Wednesday, April 3rd   on the Huffington Post Blog. In the lead in to this article and attached slideshow featuring all nine of the myths, the following quote appeared: 

“When it comes to stress, misconceptions about its causes, symptoms and treatments are everywhere.  In honor of National Stress Awareness Month, we decided to separate fact from fiction, enlisting stress experts and the latest research to answer questions like whether stress can be a motivator, and how alcohol really affects stress levels. Click through the slideshow for 9 of the biggest myths about stress.”

The “Stress Motivation” Myth

The first myth addressed in this article is the widespread but mistaken belief that stress is a motivator:

“We often view a little stress as a good thing.  After all, it’s said that pre-exam jitters push us to study harder, and moderate work stress instills a desire to succeed. But is stress really what’s motivating us in these situations?”

To provide the counter argument, Huffington Post author Carolyn Gregoire enlists the help of Andrew Bernstein, who wrote “The Myth Of Stress,” which is an excellent book I have read and highly recommend.

In an interview with Psychology Today, Bernstein says that negative emotions, like fear and worry, don’t really motivate us:

“If you’re successful and stressed out, you’re succeeding in spite of your stress, not because of it,” he maintains.

One Of Many False Beliefs

I completely agree with Bernstein that the “Stress Motivation” Myth is a widespread misconception.  There is no truth to the notion that any amount of stress is needed to create a plan of action and stick to it.

And as the title of this Huffington Post article suggests, there are many other false beliefs about stress that have become equally popular in our society today.

Stay tuned for my next two blog posts this week, wherein I’ll address two more of these nine myths in more detail.

Anger And Forgiveness Promotion

Hopefully, you were able to take advantage of the special free offer I sponsored last week as part of my personal effort to support Stress Awareness Month.

From Monday, April 1st through Friday, April 5th, you could have downloaded one of my new Kindle books about anger relief for free directly from Amazon:

The Irritability Cure: How To Stop Being Angry, Anxious And Frustrated All The Time (Doc Orman, M.D.) ]

If you missed that offer, it is no longer available.  However, you can still get a copy of this #1 rated stress relief book on Amazon for a very low cost.

There is a second free offer coming up next week.  From Monday, April 15th through Friday, April 19th, you can download the following Kindle book for free directly from Amazon:

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

There is a good bit of shared content 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.

So if you missed the first free offer this month, please make sure to take advantage of this second one that will be available starting Monday of next week.

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