Why Stress Relief Tips Don’t Work

by Doc Orman, M.D.

This week, in celebrating the two year anniversary of this blog, I am revisiting a series of three related blog posts originally published here in January, 2012.  The first post in the series introduced a very common condition which I call “stress relief tipitis.” 

“Stress Relief Tipitis is a condition where you believe­—very deeply and very sincerely—that some simple tip or collection of tips is somehow going to give you long-term relief from your stress.  This condition is so prevalent that it afflicts millions (possibly billions) of people around the world today.” 

What’s Wrong With Stress Relief Tips

Stress relief tips don’t work because they don’t go deep enough 

Most people suspect this, but they just can’t stop themselves.  They can’t give up the notion that some magical stress relief tip—or collection of tips—is going to come along and instantly transform them into a stress-free human being. 

Addicted To Tips 

As a society, we’ve become addicted to simple-sounding tips.  Everywhere we go, tips are all around us.  

Pick up any popular magazine, on any topic, and you’ll find numerous tips in every issue.  Listen to any radio or television interview and the interviewer will almost always try to elicit some fantastic tips for their tip-hungry audience. 

Now there are indeed common problems in life where a few strategic tips can make a difference, such as knowing how to properly start your gas-powered lawnmower or how to eliminate ants from your home. 

But much deeper human problems—like how to overcome alcoholism, how to live a happy life, or how to have a lasting, satisfying marriage—these all require much deeper solutions.  

The Main Problem With Stress Relief Tips 

The main problem with stress relief tips is that they usually target only superficial changes.  They don’t fundamentally change you as a human being. 

Tips don’t change the way you think about stress GLOBALLY.  They don’t help you overcome common myths and misconceptions about stress that are prevalent throughout our society today. 

Instead, they promise to make relieving our stress into a quick and easy process.   And it’s precisely because they promise fast relief that makes them so difficult to resist. 

To fundamentally change the way you think about stress takes time.  It takes study and learning.  It takes self-examination, self-observation, and honesty.  In other words, it takes work

So the next time somebody offers you a tip for eliminating stress, politely thank them for their interest, and respectfully decline their well-meaning offer. 

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Janet September 11, 2013 at 5:47 AM

I couldn’t agree more. Tips and hints are really putting on the sticking plaster without address why it happened in the first place. I talk about this in my own book “Is Stress Your Silent Killer” – I look at my own stress and how I discovered the cause and how I am trying to address that to eliminate the stress from my life.

I do think many of the strategies such as meditation and yoga are important parts of the protocol but the success lies in finding the root cause


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