Peace of Mind, Part II

Posted on August 13, 2016 by Robert Ringer


The foundation for handling sadness and misfortune, and thus for leading a low-stress life, is what I like to refer to as “living right.” What I mean by this term is consistently being conscious of, and vigilant about, trying to make good choices.

Please, no relativism copout here when it comes to deciding what “living right” and “good choices” mean. I’d be willing to bet that you’ve had more experiences than you can count where you did something that, in your gut, didn’t feel right. And just as many experiences where you did not do something that you knew, deep down inside, you should have done.

In fact, you can apply the “feels right/feels wrong” barometer to virtually any aspect of life. Whenever a person who’s a hundred pounds overweight walks by me at a ballpark — beer in one hand and a container of gooey, cheese-covered nachos in the other — I think to myself, “Surely this gal must know that what she’s doing is not in her best interest.”

Specifically, she knows that it’s wrong for her health and longevity, not to mention her energy level and capacity for enjoying life. In reality, of course, she doesn’t think about it in such specific terms. Her stress level simply rises and brings with it a higher level of unhappiness.

Another example is when you allow a sales clerk, customer rep, or maintenance person to intimidate you into accepting a less than satisfactory solution to your problem. How many times have you felt stressed and inwardly angry for allowing yourself to be intimidated in such situations?

Or how about when you do something that, at the deepest level of your moral foundation, doesn’t feel right? In such a situation, if you’re basically an honorable person, your conscience won’t let you get away with it. This often brings the Guilt Fairy into your life, and along with her enough stress to take your mind off other important matters.

Then there’s the discomfort of being late for appointments, particularly if it becomes a way of life. Being late is not only a blatant display of rudeness, it also makes you look weak in the eyes of others. Worse, it causes you to feel weak.

We all desire love, understanding, and recognition, but none of these is foundational to serenity. Nor is alcohol, pills, sexual pleasure, fame, or wealth the antidote to stress. Millions have tried all of these things without conquering their stress, and all too many have lived unnecessarily short lives as a result.

The real key to conquering stress is self-examination — continual, honest self-examination regarding the harmony and disharmony in your life. Inner conflict causes stress. By contrast, leading a concentric life (i.e., one in which what you do matches up closely with what you believe in and what you say) brings harmony into your world. Harmony is directly related to how often you follow through and do what you know is right. Likewise, harmony is related to how often you demonstrate the self-discipline to refrain from doing that which you know is wrong.

Finally, if you’re a religionist, stress is a signal that you are disconnected from God. How can you be stressed if you are connected to an infinite source of power that is presumed to be omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent?

Similarly, if you’re an atheist, stress is a signal that you are disconnected from the infinite power of the universe, whatever the ultimate scientific explanation of that power may be. In this respect, I agree with Viktor Frankl’s view that there is much less difference between a religionist and an atheist than most people might suspect. The more I examine this issue, the more convinced I am that it’s very much an issue of semantics.

In Part III of this article, I’m going to suggest some specific actions you can take to lower your stress level and bring more serenity, peace of mind, and tranquility into your life.

Robert Ringer

Robert Ringer is an American icon whose unique insights into life have helped millions of readers worldwide. He is also the author of two New York Times #1 bestselling books, both of which have been listed by The New York Times among the 15 best-selling motivational books of all time.

17 responses to “Peace of Mind, Part II”

  1. texas wolfie says:

    Being debt free is one of the best ways to conquer stress. When I was young and stupid I wanted everything now and paid harshly for it.

    • larajf says:

      I'm still paying for it & it's still stressful. I'm working on feeling gratitude for all the abundance that I have and that helps …and not buying more stuff and paying down the bills.

  2. Bobolito says:

    Another good post, Robert. Looking forward to the next.

  3. TheLookOut says:

    Great post Robert. Things/Stuff: almost always Less is More.

  4. Jim Hallett says:

    Other than our health and a modicum of financial abundance that allows us to meet our most important needs (not all the wants that the advertisers try to con us into "having"), peace of mind is the foundational thing we are all looking for, so this series is indeed important. I agree, Robert, that congruence with our values in all we do and say does lead to peace of mind. When I fall short in that regard, it always "speaks" to me at an inner level. A line I always try to repeat when I seem to be slipping into a stressful state is "This, too, shall pass." In the grander scheme of eternal and everlasting life, the grievance of one moment or one day is irrelevant.

  5. Reality Seeker says:

    "Finally, if you’re a religionist, stress is a signal that you are disconnected from God."

    This is basically true when dealing with the stress of day-to-day living; however, let's not forget that Jesus was more stressed out more often and more intensely than many of us have ever experienced. For example, recorded in Luke 22:44: " And being in anguish, he (Jesus) prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground." Hematidrosis occurs when an individual is under extreme mental, emotional and/or physical stress.

    The stress associated with normal living can be effectively coped with by reading and studying the advice found in the Bible. This is true even for an atheist. Nothing has changed regarding human nature in thousands of years, so the Biblical advise is still completely valid. Of course, finding the relevant scripture is somewhat difficult for the average person, because most people have little or no familiarity with the Bible; therefore, they don't even know where to begin.

    My advice is to ahead and develop a well researched belief system, and don't be afraid to adjust it as you gain experience. The stress of facing your own death or the death of a loved one is not the time to be without a solid belief system. "Peace of mind" dozen't come cheap, at least not in terms of how much time is spent on building and maintaining a healthy mental state.

  6. NotPropagandizd says:

    Yes, these two articles are spot on. Do they not shine a light on our minute by minute living among a myriad of temptations that are anything except "concentric". This is a breath of fresh air from hoping beyond hope that the political con we're subjected to isn't.

  7. LENSOL says:


  8. David says:

    Sadly many of us resolve our problems by pretending it isn't there and hoping it goes away thank you my brother for clarity through eyes like yours GOD sees and through hands like yours GOD works

  9. patg2 says:

    This is a rather ethnocentric article, I think. You have indicated implicitly that you recognize moral absolutes. On the other hand, consider that what people feel is right is not the same for everyone. For the Muslim, for example, it is very different from what you have described. The Muslim can have peace in the thought that if he commits jihad and dies in the attempt, he will have 72 virgins to himself in Paradise (though nobody says how he can have that indefinitely, since the first action between them would end their virginity, but that's a whole 'nother discussion). And then there is the psychopath and the narcissist. Both will do what they think is right, and they may have some sort of peace (though that's beyond the scope of my imagination). But it doesn't create a harmonious society, and certainly disturbs the peace of mind of other people.

    Like Ayn Rand, it seems to me, you are basing your ideas of what feels right, and living right, on the Judeo-Christian ethic, without acknowledging the source. I happen to agree that this ethic will lead to maximum happiness for the greatest number of people, and will give peace of mind to anyone who follows it to the best of his ability.

    But consider another source of stress. You have people you love deeply. Perhaps relatives. You treat them right to the best of your ability, but they treat you like dirt. In my experience, this causes an enormous amount of stress, especially if your name is not Spock. And then there is the case where adversity makes just surviving very difficult. Again, an enormous amount of stress. Or the case of someone whose loved one is brutally murdered. These are not your fault, and you can't alleviate them simply by living right.

    There is room for thought here, Robert. Please do. I know you will.

  10. Jesmine says:

    For an atheist it might be different etc. but I have strong believed in god and I believed when a person is in stress he or she should pray to god simple and do the right things. to get a peace of mind I usually take assignment assistance to help me out in the matter.

  11. jonathanwkelly says:

    "Please, no relativism copout here when it comes to deciding what 'living right' and 'good choices' mean."

    Instead of relativism, you propose subjectivism. The latter may be the trunk instead of the branch, but both of these are trees floating down the river.

  12. Visit Here says:

    The latter may be the trunk instead of the branch, but both of these are trees

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