Stress Relief Question: How Good Is Your Thinking?

by Doc Orman, M.D.

thinking and stress 1

I’m reading a book now called How We Know What Isn’t So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life by Thomas Gilovich. It’s an excellent book on some of the specific cognitive pitfalls that cause us to end up believing in things that may seem reasonable but are not really true.

Anyhow, this got me thinking about the role that thinking plays in much of human stress.  It also had me realize that I’ve never directly posed this question before, even though most of my previous 350 blog posts (this is #351) were written to stimulate your thinking.

How Good Is Your Thinking?

So let me pose this question now:  How good would you say your thinking really is?

Have you ever asked yourself this question before?  How would you go about answering it?  And how would you know if your assessment was correct?

It’s fascinating to me how we all tend to think we are excellent thinkers when many of us are not.  We have many flaws in our thinking habits, yet we are reluctant to look at them, and even more reluctant to fix them.

Thinking And Stress

The reason I raise this question is because I believe that thinking and stress are absolutely related.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that I believe it is very hard to get stressed unless there is something very wrong with your thinking!

I know there are many readers who will object to this statement, but I believe it’s true nonetheless.

For example, I recently ran across an insightful quote from Bertrand Russell, who by the way was an awesome thinker:

“One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.”

Russell is pointing to something here that is important to recognize—that we can pay a big price for having exaggerated thoughts about what is and what isn’t important.

Do you ever have such thoughts?   Are there things you believe are important that when looked at objectively aren’t?  Sure they may be important to you, but this is only because you think them so.  But when looked at honestly and dispassionately, are they really important?

For example, if you are standing in the checkout line of your local supermarket and the line is moving slower than you’d like, is it important that it move faster?  If you lose a big sale or get a proposal you value rejected, is this important?   If you lose your job or your business shuts down, is this important?  I know many of these things might feel very important, but are they really?  Once again, it all depends upon how you think about them.  And this, in turn, will depend upon the quality of your thinking.

So one way to answer the question: How good is your thinking? is to notice if you have any stress in your life.  If you do, then your thinking is probably not as good as it could be.

Now you don’t have to accept this—it’s just something to think about.

Stay tuned for my next two blog posts this week, where I’ll have more to say about how stress and the quality of our thinking are related. 

NOTE: If you want to learn how to eliminate stress, without having to mange it, visit my new website

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