Stress Mastery: Here’s A Very Common Hidden Cause Of Stress

by Doc Orman, M.D.

This week, I want to return to a topic that I’ve addressed multiple times in this blog during the past two and a half years.  The reason I keep coming back to this topic is because it is such a common hidden cause of stress that we constantly need to be reminded of it.

The cause I am talking about is Either/Or Thinking.  This one hidden cause, which is actually a large group of many types of Either/Or Thinking, plays an incredibly important (but often unseen) role in how much stress we experience.

Either/Or Thinking

Either/Or Thinking can be described as our automatic tendency to view the world around us from an either/or framework.  In other words, it’s our tendency to view events as occurring in discrete, polarized opposites.  For example, something happens and we consider it to be either good or bad or right or wrong.  These polar opposites are assumed to be mutually exclusive.  This means if something is good, it can’t be bad; and if something is wrong, it can’t be right.

The Problem 

The problem with Either/Or Thinking is that it can lead to faulty impressions. These in turn can cause us to experience stress.  The reason for this is that life rarely happens in exclusively one-sided ways.  Life is much more complex and multidimensional.  Therefore, when we focus just on one side of a complex duality, we mistakenly view life as being exclusively one-sided, when in reality it is not.

Consider this: the truth about life is that it rarely happens in exclusively good or bad ways.  Most things that happen in life have both good and bad qualities.  And anything that happens can end up having long-term positive or negative consequences.

Either/Or Thinking And Stress

When we focus exclusively on just one side of an Either/Or duality, we distort the truth about reality.  And this can generate stress in our lives that wouldn’t occur if we had a more expanded view of what actually happened.

We’ll explore this topic more in my next two posts this week.

NOTE: For more information about my unique approach to eliminating stress, please visit


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