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Examining Your Beliefs to Manage Stress

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Topic Overview

When your beliefs conflict with the way you are living your life, stress may result. It may be helpful to examine your belief systems so you can better manage your stress.

World view

Your world view is your basic beliefs about human nature, how the world works, and what life is about. Your views about religion make up a part of your world view, but it includes more than that.

Your world view can cause stress when a long-held belief is challenged or contradicted by a new experience or when most of the people around you hold a very different world view. For example, you may hold the belief that people are truly good at heart. Then when someone takes advantage of you, it may be very stressful because it violates your beliefs and causes you to reevaluate part of your world view.

To help clarify your world view, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How do you see people? Are they good? Selfish? Insecure? Fair?
  • How do you see life? Is it fair? Surprising? Interesting? Difficult?
  • How do you see society? Is it going in the "right" direction? Are there insurmountable problems?
  • Do you have strong spiritual beliefs? What are they?
  • Do the actions you see every day support how you see people, life, or society?
  • Do you feel the world is moving away from your spiritual beliefs?


Your values are what you think is important in life. As you think about your values, make sure they are your values, not values important to your parents, spouse, or society. We often share our family's values, but sometimes we decide to reject values that were given to us or to change their priority in our lives. For example, you might value financial success much more or less than your family or society expects you to.

Your values can cause stress when you spend a lot of time and energy doing things that are not important to you or when two values conflict. For example, values related to family and career are in conflict for many people.

To help clarify your values, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What values are important to you? Honesty? Compassion? Friendship? Success?
  • How are these values expressed in your life?
  • Are any of your values in conflict with how you behave?
  • Are any of your values in conflict with your job, friendships, or relationships?

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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