Stress Relief: If Tips Don’t Work…Then What Does?

by Doc Orman, M.D.

So far in this series of three related blog posts, I’ve defined what “stress relief tipitis” is and explained why stress relief tips rarely give us the profound degree of stress relief we desire.   I also pointed out that stress relief tips are very seductive, because they fit right into our “quick-fix” mentality, and because they promise not to “mess with” our deepest beliefs about stress too severely.  

I also commented in the previous post that:  

“To fundamentally (globally) change the way you think about stress takes time.  It takes a commitment to study and learning.  It takes self-examination, self-observation, and a fair degree of honesty.  In other words, it takes work, and it also requires an open, inquisitive mind.” 

What Does It Really Take To Achieve Lasting Stress Relief? 

Here’s the bottom line, at least in my opinion and based on more than 30 years of experience helping people free themselves from stress.  In order to truly free yourself from stress, you’ve got to be willing to change you entire mindset about it.  You’ve got to be willing to adopt a whole new set of beliefs about stress that are vastly different from what most people today believe to be true. 

You’ve got to do the hard work of first identifying, then examining, and finally rejecting and replacing your deepest-held beliefs about stress.  You’ve got to honestly and objectively assess which of your existing beliefs are accurate and which ones are outdated.  Then, you need to replace your outdated ones with new beliefs that are better and far more stress relieving.  

In other words, you’ve got to undergo a very deep “personal transformation” with regard to your entire understanding of what stress is, where it comes from, and what your best coping options are for dealing with it. 

True Transformation Is Not Incremental Change 

In two prior posts, I shared some of my thoughts about the nature of personal transformations.  In my post “Stress Relief Beyond Belief,” I gave you a glimpse of my own personal transformation regarding running (and exercising in general).  Then in a more recent post, “The Art Of Possibility,” I described how you can distinguish true transformation from incremental or more superficial types of personal change.   

In that post, I said you can tell true transformation by its unmistakable footprints.  When a true transformation (with regard to any specific area of life) occurs for you, you’ll know it has happened because:

  1. The way you view yourself and the world (or that area of life) has changed dramatically.
  2. This change is almost always for the better.  In other words, it allows you to accomplish things, or feel better, or solve problems (in this area of life and possibly in others as well) that have limited you for many years.
  3. Once a transformational change occurs, it lasts forever.  In other words, you never go back to seeing the world, or thinking about the world, in the ways you previously did before the transformation occurred.
  4. In short, you don’t just gain some new information.  Who you are as a human being (with regard to that area and possibly other areas of life) is changed for the better—permanently!

Personal Transformation Regarding Stress In Your Life

This is the type of transformative change I’m talking about when I say you need to deeply and profoundly change your entire way of thinking about stress.  This is what I believe you’re going to need to do if you really want to have major breakthroughs in your ability to reduce stress in your life.

Now, I’m not saying that achieving this type of lasting transformative change is easy.  It’s clearly not, or people would be doing it in large numbers every day.

But it is humanly possible for you to achieve.  I know this is true because it happened for me (and by the way, I’ve never gone back to my old way of thinking about stress…and never will), and because it’s also happened for many people I personally worked with and trained/coached/helped over the years.

One of the reasons I created this blog, and plan to continue it, is to give you some guidance about how to change your thinking on stress.

Also, this is why you won’t see me offering a lot of specific tips about how to cope with any specific types of stress you might be having in your life right now.  If you’ve been disappointed with this blog, because you’ve been patiently waiting for the flood of helpful tips to start flowing, we’ll…it ain’t gonna happen.  In fact, if you are really upset that I haven’t been sharing any juicy tips yet, well…you may just be suffering from a very bad case of “stress relief tipitis.”

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Igor Griffiths December 10, 2012 at 2:54 PM

Well hello Doc,

Glad to have read all 3 parts of this series.
By changing how we see the world from our very core we of course relate to our former stressors in a new manner which will hopefully be in a more understanding and less self critical way.

Taking control of our own lives and directing them how we see fit, rather than waiting for others to provide all the answers is one sure way to reduce our stress levels.

thanks for sharing

Igor Griffiths

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