Stress Causes: Stress And Our Beliefs

by Doc Orman, M.D.


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This week, I’m going to focus on beliefs and how they sometimes cause stress in our lives.   

We all have many, many different beliefs.  Some we develop early in childhood, either from the input of our parents or other caretakers, or as a byproduct of our own personal experiences and the decisions we make.   

Then, we acquire additional beliefs through later childhood and adolescence.  These often come from our teachers in school, from our friends and social peers, from our religious upbringing, and again from any personal decisions we may make. 

As adults, we continue to acquire additional beliefs, which are often influenced by a great variety of sources.  These sources can include the media, books we read, movies and television shows, music lyrics, the Internet, advanced career education, self-improvement seminars and workshops, etc. 

Beliefs Shape Our Views About Reality 

Beliefs are very important because they shape our views about reality.  We don’t perceive or “understand” the world around us directly, as if we are in a vacuum.  

We perceive and make sense of the world through the filters of our beliefs. 

For example, if you believe that people are basically evil and untrustworthy, you will see lots of evil actions and betrayal activities going on all around you.  On the other hand, if you believe that people are basically good and that most can be trusted, you will see lots of people doing good things and living up to the trust that others place in them. 

Our Views About Reality Shape Both Our Internal And External Experiences 

Beliefs are also very important because they shape both our internal and external experiences.  How you view the world, which is largely influenced by your personal beliefs, strongly influences how you feel inside.  For instance, if you believe that bad things are going to happen to you frequently, you may feel anxious, worried, or even depressed.  On the other hand, if you are very optimistic and super-confident, and you believe good things are in store for you (or you will easily be able to overcome any bad things that might happen), you’ll be less prone to feeling anxious, worried, or otherwise emotionally distressed. 

By the same token, your internal beliefs have a lot to do with your external actions and successes in the world.  For example, if you decide to start a new business, and you have a bunch of bad beliefs about how business works (in general) or how to produce and grow a successful business in your specific business niche, then the external outcomes you will be able to produce will be severely limited by any mistaken beliefs you might harbor. 

If You’ve Got Stress, You Need To Explore The Validity Of Your Underlying Beliefs 

One good rule to adopt whenever you might be experiencing stress is to always look for faulty beliefs that might be acting as hidden causes of whatever specific struggles you are having. 

At times, you might find there is just one faulty belief that is causing most of your stress-related problems.  But more commonly, you might find there are multiple false beliefs that are causing most of the mischief. 

Knowing how to identify…and then challenge and disprove…any false beliefs or other misunderstandings you might have about life is one of the major coping skills that separates people who know how to master stress from those who don’t. 

Stay tuned to my blog posts this week and next, as I’ll be exploring additional aspects of how our beliefs can lead to stress.

 

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