Ten Commandments for a Stress-Free Life

“The life of inner peace, being harmonious and without stress, is the easiest type of existence.”

– Norman Vincent Peale

“Life is a journey and an experience.” We have all heard that before haven’t we? Well, that is true, it is a journey and we have the opportunity to make it great or mediocre. The choice is ours.

Ten CommandmentsStress in our personal and professional lives is ever changing and constantly on the rise. Everyday we’re expected to do more and more with less and less – less resources, less energy and less time.

In order to master the ability to manage stress, it’s important to first remove one of the biggest obstacles that stands between chaos and calm – SELF.

Often we are one of the biggest contributors to the calamity and chaos we experience in our lives. Stress management is the recognition that life is all about the choices we make.

So starting today, choose to take control and follow these ten commandments to help you lead a stress-free lifestyle:

l. You shall not be perfect, or even try to be.

Think of how many things don’t get done because someone is waiting for the perfect time, place and circumstance. Working with perfection as your standard is both a mental and physical drain.

Lose the need to get everything done “perfect.” Know that it’s far better to accomplish a task at 85% perfection than to procrastinate and wait for 100% perfection.

ll. You shall not try to be all things to all people.

Whether you like it or not, others will try to put who you are and what you do into a particular category in their head. They’ll label you with one or two words and resist – indeed be revolted – by anything that breaks that mold. That’s just the way the world is, and it’s better to work with it than to fight it.

Trying to be all things to all people may seem like a great way to cast a wide-net. But really, it’s a way to turn people off. Being everything is equivalent in most people’s minds as being nothing. What can’t be categorized is likely to be rejected and forgotten.

In business, career and relationships, decide who you are and what you stand for in a sharp fashion. Try to summarize it in only a word or two for the area you’re focused on. This is a much better strategy than trying to be all things to all people.

lll. You shall sometimes leave things undone.

Charles Hummel, author of Tyranny of the Urgent, wrote: “We live in constant tension between the urgent and the important. The problem is that many important tasks need not be done today, or even this week… The urgent task calls for instant action. The momentary appeal of these tasks seems irresistible, and they devour our energy. With a sense of loss we recall the vital tasks we pushed aside. We realize that we have become slaves to the tyranny of the urgent.”

Overcoming that tyranny of the urgent and focusing instead on those things that are truly important is one sure way to propel us on our way toward a stress-free life.

The way to overcome this problem is to leave some things undone. And that is especially hard for those of us who may have perfectionist tendencies and are driven to excel. We want to get it all done.

The irony is that we will accomplish more by attempting to do less. The key is to prioritize and set aside those things which are not as important. Put your effort into moving those long term projects a little further forward. Then you will eventually be able see success in that area.

lV. You shall not spread yourself too thin.

Don’t spread yourself too thin or lay it on too thick. You really cannot be the best at everything that you want. It is better to be known for a little of something than a lot of nothing.

Don’t try to do it all. Find a couple of things and stick to those. Also organize your time well.

V. You shall learn to say “no”.

Learning how to say “no” can be hard, but it’s something that I feel can really help you be more productive, reduce stress and do a better job with the things you do say “yes” to. Saying no to some things can actually help everyone involved.

The bottom line here is that there are times when you simply have too much going on to stay productive. In order to keep moving towards your goals you need to know when to say no and when to push things off your plate.

It can be hard, and you may feel badly about it, but in the end you’ll be happier, you’ll get more done and the people you live and work with will actually be better off for it as well.

Vl. You shall schedule time for yourself.

If you have trouble finding time to relax, put it in your schedule. Give yourself one hour on certain days to do an activity you truly enjoy. Work on a hobby, do some exercise, go for a walk, or read a book. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you enjoy it. These breaks will help you renew your energy and concentration.

Adding non-work activities to your schedule will give you extra motivation and focus for the times when you are working.

Vll. You shall switch yourself off, and do nothing regularly.

Feeling stressed and unfocused? Try doing nothing. Or rather, try sitting in a quiet room thinking about nothing for at least 20 minutes, twice a day.

It sounds simple, even boring, but transcendental meditation isn’t just for mantra-chanting yogis or herbal-tea-drinking hippies. Maxed-out professionals are turning to daily meditation to lower blood pressure, prolong concentration, and crank up creative juices.

“It helps me slow down,” says Erica Kalick, founder and president of Erica’s Rugelach & Baking Co., a 10-employee gourmet pastry manufacturer in Brooklyn, N.Y. Kalick took up meditation to help her cope after a personal tragedy. “We run around all day, usually thinking about ourselves,” she says. “But if, for example, I’m pissed off at an employee, I can slow down and think about it from the other person’s perspective.”

When you meditate thus before you start working on a task, your stress levels decreases and a great deal of clarity arises.

Vlll. You shall not even feel guilty for doing nothing, or saying no.

An all-or-nothing attitude is why so many people have so little success; we choose structured programs because they relieve us from making choices for ourselves.

And if you begin to make changes in your life with the assumption that any deviation from your plan will ruin it, you might as well not even begin.

Life is full of unplanned obstacles, distractions, and temptations. Your best approach is to prepare for them, keeping an open mind and maintaining a positive attitude.

lX. You shall be boring, untidy, inelegant, and unattractive at times.

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis, known for her acting talents and physical beauty, recently took a bold step many of us would shutter at the thought of – she posed for a magazine minus make-up in a crop top and shorts. She posed for all the world to see the “real” beauty she is – a confident women who doesn’t definite herself by other people’s standards.

Chasing after beauty defined by others (media, family, friends, spouse, co-workers and others) is detrimental to your peace of mind.

You don’t have to look and feel your best every single day. Be bold and love the skin you’re in right now – crooked nose, warts, corns, receding hairline, wrinkles, sags, bulges and all. Appreciate your natural beauty and love yourself just the way you are.

X. You shall not be your own worst enemy. But, be your own best friend.

Far too often, we are quick as a whip to complain when we feel we did something wrong, yet we are not as quick to lavish praise.

Complaining about every little thing is very stressful and draining.

Starting today, make a point to praise yourself every time you have a positive impact on your life. Doing so will not only make you feel good, but will make a difference in a positive way and help you manage stress.

Remember that a stress-free life is all about choice – what are you going to choose today?

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  • Daniel Roach says:

    I really love stuff like this. This is another example of very practical advice that can really help people. This is exactly why I’ve become quite a fan of this site, it has stuff that everyone can truly benefit from. Keep up the good work.

  • Ririan says:

    Thank you Daniel for your kind words 🙂

  • lothalev says:

    This website is incredible at times. Some of the hints presented here can really help improve people’s lives.
    Go on with giving us useful hints!

  • Ririan says:

    I sure will lothalev, thank you.

  • Steve Olson says:


    You are doing the world a service with this site. I wish you the best of luck. I love every post. Norman Vincent Peale was a great man.

    Steve Olson

  • Ririan says:

    Steve, Norman Vincent Peale also said:

    “… a basic law: the more you practice the art of thankfulness, the more you have to be thankful for. This, of course, is a fact. Thankfulness does tend to reproduce in kind. The attitude of gratitude revitalizes the entire mental process by activating all other attitudes, thus stimulating creativity.”

    And right now I’m so grateful for having your comment on my blog 🙂

    Thank you Steve!

  • Zebra says:

    Great article! I think “You shall learn to say no” deserves to be at the top of the list, although all these elements are important to control stress. Very good advice!

  • Jon Speer says:

    Thank you for the commandments. It feels great to take a few deep breaths and to listen to the silence every now and then.

  • Wow, fantastic post! These 10 great pointers are JUST what I am needing right now–with full-time work, part-time university, group project deadlines, and a blog to maintain, I was recently sent into the ER with asthma problems! Thanks for bringing us all back to real life here and reminding us foremost that we don’t have to be or perform perfectly–in any way. We just have to do what we can without killing ourselves! 🙂

  • Ririan says:

    Zebra, thank you 🙂

    Jon, I love listening in the silence, it’s an art. When you first begin all you hear are your own thoughts. They become so loud that most people simply want to block them out. But when you meditate and start using relaxation techniques to quiet your thoughts you’ll be hearing other things as well. I even created a sacred space for myself in my house where all outside distractions are kept at away.

    Cody, we spend so much time trying to set up the perfect conditions for happiness (a nice home, new cars, an exciting job title, a big savings account) that we never actually get to the happiness part. Our lives seem to be spent in preparation for happiness.

    But in order to be happy we have to stop living in the future, stop living in the past, stop trying to live for someone else. We have to just stop for a moment and be grateful for everything we have. That is the real secret to being happy.

  • Pete Aldin says:

    Ririan, one paragraph and I was an instant fan! This is a sensational list and will receive yet another link from my blog.

    I love your seventh and 9th commandments in particular. These are counter-cultural – and those who practise them increase their “attractiveness” (not in the physical sense) to others, are more creative and have big big authentic smiles on their faces that aren’t plastered there by the anxious need to “look together”

    Great blog. I’ll be back! (Sorry, got a little Schwarzneggar there)

  • Ririan says:

    Pete, thank you, I’ll be missing you 😉

  • Alex says:

    Thank you for your tips.
    Your website in general is very good. It is nice to read some tips that will
    give you thoughts for your life.
    My tip is cut meditation and start praying to God. Much more effective and you get a better person and not a ..plant.

  • Good Advice says:

    These are good things. I used to tell my wife early on – when she was trying to be perfect and have the perfect house, etc. – to relax and enjoy. There would be plenty of work left to do when she was dead. Friends and visitors were always welcome. Critics were not. After a while she understood, relaxed and felt much better about it.

    The house loked about the same. She looked much better.

  • Satyam says:

    Thanks for your this useful advice,
    it fells realy good to read such stuff which realy matters in life,
    it will surely help people during the course of their lives
    from now onwards i’ll follow the commandments

  • Hi there

    My first time here – referred by Michael Bungay Stanier. And I’m putting this post in my permanent links on my blog because I love it that much!!!

    And you’re going in my google reader. Can’t wait to read your other great topics – I’m hooked.

    Best wishes

  • VASILIS says:

    being a greek i d like to mention here Epicurus.

    My advice all someone has to do in order to leaf a good stress-free life is to follow the philosophy of that great man who lived before 2000 years

    To cut a long story sort:

    1)One must make the distinction between pleasure and happiness.A life with pleasures is not always a happy life.
    2)In order to do so, one must knows the difference between desires and needs.Most of our desires are not needs.The only vital needs we have are:food, a warm place and the need to feel no physical pain.
    “Who has the above 3 can compare himself with Gods” Epicurus says.
    3)In the pursuit of their desires, which most of them are only material desires for the sake of the opinion of the others, we give our lives to meaningless jobs and we become unhappy, hunting all the time the conditions of tomorrow.It never NOW.
    4)The only desire that has real meaning is that of philosophizing on things and analyzing the “whys” of the things we like or dislike.

  • I’d prefer reading in my native language, because my knowledge of your languange is no so well. But it was interesting! Look for some my links:

  • Deb says:

    “V. You shall learn to say “no”.” Is so hard for me right now. With our park closure and all the work that needs to be done to try and help our community it is extremely painful at times not to jump in and spend hours daily on this work with my neighbors. I must continually remind myself that my husband and children need me and homeschooling is an important task that must come first. Not easy to say the least. Thanks for reminding me of the value of saying no.

  • I’d prefer reading in my native language, because my knowledge of your languange is no so well.

  • With respect to not spreading yourself too thin, I recall the law of raspberry jam. If you spread it too thin, it loses its taste.

  • Fitness says:

    I keep fit with milk everyday.

  • Saravanans says:

    Really great article! I agree and eagering to adapt more of 10 commandments that are real stressfree tablets.Thanks so much for reminding god’s own thoughts

  • I.P..Sabharwal says:

    I really find this as an essence of life

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