LET’S BE AT PEACE . . . Come What May

Hello from southwest Florida. I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy.  Our golf community just had its first case of the virus, so we’re in quarantine, just like so many of you. 

As we listen to government warnings, gossip, and TV experts, it’s all too easy to lose sight of hope and tolerance–just when we need them most. So, when we find ourselves captivated by fear, let’s seek peace of mind instead.

Today, I offer you these words of love and peace, plus two powerful tools to help us face this challenge together.

Gratitude Brings Peace of Mind

I thank God (literally) for our food, water, and electricity. Not to mention my fun, steady husband of 30 years (need I remind you, he’s my 4th?). And let’s not forget our very social and entertaining cat, Murphy. 

But, most of all, I’m grateful for the opportunity to connect my heart with yours across space and time. More than ever, I’ve been joining with loved ones through prayer, positive thoughts, social media, and internet-based gatherings. (A friend just texted me, “I wish I had bought stock in Zoom!”). These connections are, most definitely, my life-line (remember, I’m the former “Queen of Worry!”).

If you’re feeling uncertain, take a moment to make your own gratitude list— truly a mental/emotional game-changer (and, I often do need to change the “game” in my head!)

Two Truths: Take ‘Em to The Bank!

During challenging times, I believe (right down to my toes) two things:

  1. We are all connected in spirit, and by joining together, our loving power can get us through anything
  2. My job is to replace my fear and panic with peace of mind, so I can reach out to others with love, encouragement, and care. 

Tool 19 from my book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now, will help you find your own center of peace, wisdom, and courage.

Loving-Kindness Practice

This Buddhist practice (also called metta) calms your mind, opens your heart to goodness, activates the power of your true self, and dissolves whatever may be blocking your love for others.

First, say the affirmation for yourself:

  • May I be at peace.  May my heart remain open.
  • May I awaken to the light of my own true nature.
  • May I be healed. May I be a source of healing for all beings.

Now, say it for your loved ones and the entire world: May we be at peace. May our hearts remain open; May we awaken to the light of our own true nature. May we be healed. May we be a source of healing for all beings.

Finally, and this may be the most important of all, say it for someone you worry about or dislike: May you (name) be at peace; May your heart remain open. May you awaken to the light of your own true nature. May you be healed. May you be a source of healing to all beings.

I have memorized this Loving Kindness affirmation and say it often. Give it a try. It really works!

Blocks to Love: Judging, Resenting, Condemning

Why is the last version of this prayer so important? Simply put, hatred and judgement block our ability to give and receive love. Seeing people with forgiveness rather than condemnation is the most healing choice we can make–for the whole world.

“Dear God, please help me to see this differently.”

Join me in asking our higher power to help us see all others with love rather than criticism, and to fully open our hearts to one another. This is, after all, God’s will for us.

gigi langer worry less now

Gigi Langer, 34 years sober, holds a Ph.D. in Psychological Studies in Education and an MA in Psychology from Stanford University. Through her writing, coaching, and speaking, Gigi has helped thousands of people improve their lives at home and work. A former professor of teacher education at Eastern Michigan University, she lives in Michigan and Florida with her husband, Peter, and Murphy, her cat.

worry less now audiobook gigi Langer

Get Gigi’s new book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now: Reject Negative Thinking to Find Peace, Clarity, and Connection” (5 Stars on Amazon). Available in audio, e-book, and paperback Click HERE for special offers.

  • “This book is a winner.” Karen Casey, Bestselling Hazelden author
  • “Valuable, heartfelt manual.” — Publishers Weekly (BookLife)

AM I A VICTIM OF A MEANINGLESS WORLD?

worry less now victim

How do we explain a child’s death, the horror of abuse, or raging wars? Why can’t God stop them? Are we merely a victim of a punishing world? I think not.

As the saying goes, “We see through the glass darkly.” Our human intellect just can’t fully understand the “why” of things; in fact, some believe that “Why?” is not a very spiritual question. [Read my blog about that here]

Nothing happens in God’s world by mistake

Let’s entertain an intriguing possibility: What if we came to earth to experience specific events perfectly tailored for our spiritual growth? If we choose to learn from these challenges, we grow from victim-hood to courage, from fear to love, from isolation to connection, and from self-condemnation to self-love.

In short, we discover the strength of our divine nature.

You’re NOT a Victim! Everything is in perfect order

There’s a perfect order to the eventsin our lives that often isn’t clear until time reveals its elegant solutions.What initially seemed to be my worst disasters yielded some of my greatest blessings; but these gifts appeared in their own time.

  • Alcoholism brought me spiritual healing, loving friends, and a happy marriage. Without my old victim mentality, I can now give love and care to others.
  • Many years of shoulder and back pain taught me that my security does not lie in my body’s comfort. I learned to trust my higher power and accept comfort from others.
  • My husband’s resumption of drinking (after 25 years sober) caused me to find Radical Forgiveness, which released my victim mentality, helped me forgive my alcoholic father, and healed our marriage.

When life’s challenges scare you, remember it’s a chance to heal old beliefs that no longer serve you.

Even though you can’t change the external circumstances, you CAN face the situation, own your reactions, and choose to see it not as a victim, but as a being of peace, wisdom, and power.

At the end of each hardship, you’ll find an exhilarating sense of freedom!

gigi langer worry less now

Gigi Langer, PhD.  Many years ago, I used alcohol, romance, and overwork to soothe my frayed nerves. Over time, I discovered effective tools from therapy, recovery pro­grams, scientific research, energy work, and a variety of philosophical and spiritual teachings to overcome my worries. I share those techniques in my blog and book to help you find peace of mind and wisdom, no matter what is bothering you.

worry less now gigi langer

My award-winning book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now, describes how I and others have defeated the faulty thinking leading to dysfunctional relationships, perfectionism, addiction, and worry about loved ones. Honest, practical, and powerful. Amazon: 4.8 stars (55 reviews) (Buy Paperback, e-book, OR audiobook HERE

IF YOU’RE ON A HUNT FOR HAPPINESS, YOUR THOUGHTS CAN’T SCARE YOU!

hunt for happiness gigi langer

We just finished “Hunt for Happiness Week,” and I wanted to share with you my favorite tool for dissolving the worries and negativity that block our happiness.

Stress is not a reaction to an event but rather to how you interpret the event.” (Sonya Collins)

How can you change the meaning you’re giving to the things that bother you? One method is to question your thoughts about the troubling situation. Chances are, you’re seeing it in a very scary way. But that CAN be changed!

One of the things that recently caused me distress concerned Judymy dear friend and business partner for over twenty yearswho was diagnosed with breast cancer. In between her chemotherapy and multiple surgeries, she continued to work at her usual hectic pace. I was terrified Judy would get sick again, and I didn’t want to lose her.

My worried mind whispered to me, “She should not work so much,” and it interfered with my hunt for happiness. Soon after admitting this, I began to seek a new way of looking at the situation.

Just in time, a friend invited me to attend a weekend course with Byron Katie, the developer of “The Work”—an amazingly powerful tool for examining and reframing our minds’ negative interpretations.

Tool Number 6. Is It True? [from 50 Ways to Worry Less Now]

Byron Katie gave me permission to use this illustration of her process. My responses to her recommended questions appear in italics.

  1. Write in your journal about a particularly troubling situation in your life. What’s wrong? What should be different? I am so worried about Judy. She’s had cancer, and she’s determined to work long hours even as she’s recovering from surgery and chemotherapy. I’m terrified her ambitious work schedule will make her sick again. Nothing I say or do has changed the situation. I feel stuck
  2. Select one thought to explore in greater depth. Write it at the top of a new page. Judy should not overwork.
  3.  Ask yourself, Is this true?  Yes.
  4. Ask yourself, Can I absolutely know it’s true? No, probably not . . . there might be times when it’s ok.
  5. Ask yourself, How do I react when I believe this thought?    I worry about Judy. I react by trying to do things for her. I judge her as not being able to take care of herself. I’m thinking about this way too much, and it’s robbing my peace of mind.
  6. Ask yourself, Who could I be if I didn’t believe this thought? What might my life look like or feel like?   Without this thought, I’d be more accepting of how Judy is dealing with her illness. I could stop worrying about her and meddling in her life. I could relax.
  7. What other ways of saying the original statement might be as true, or truer, than the original thought? (Original statement: Judy should not overwork.) (a) Turn the thought around to the opposite:  Judy should overwork.  In what way is this as true, or truer, than your original statement?   She realizes every minute is precious and she has a lot she wants to do. (b) Turn the thought around to yourselfI should not overwork.  In what way is this as true, or truer, than your original statement?      I’ve been working too much and I’m under a lot of stress. I need to take better care of myself.

The point of this exercise is to see that the meaning you’ve constructed is not necessarily the truth. In my case, I was afraid Judy would get sick again, and I thought she would stay healthy if she worked less. When I turned it around to the opposite, however, I saw that the decision was Judy’s to make and not mine, that working might be exactly what she needed.

As I turned it around to myself, I got a big dose of honesty. I realized my true concern needed to be with my own overwork. As so often happens, when we point an accusing finger at another, we find three other fingers pointing back at us. This insight prompted me to face my own whispered lie that if I didn’t work hard enough I would fail at my job. I had been worried about looking weak or imperfect, a hangover from my zero-sum-game days.

Whenever we detect false beliefs interfering with our serenity, it’s time to take a breath and acknowledge the scary unpredictability of life. Then we can use any of the 50 tools in “Worry Less Now” to face our challenges with courage and grace. 

If your hunt for happiness is thwarted by negative thoughts, try the “Is It True?” exercise. Be sure to select one of the damaging beliefs you’re holding about another person, and go through each step with it. You might be amazed!

gigi langer worry less now

Gigi Langer, PhD.  Many years ago, I used alcohol, romance, and professional accomplishments to soothe my frayed nerves. Over time, I discovered effective tools from therapy, recovery pro­grams, scientific research, energy work, and a variety of philosophical and spiritual teachings. I share those techniques in my blog and book so you can find peace of mind and wisdom, no matter what is bothering you.

worry less now

My award-winning book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now, describes how I and others have defeated the faulty thinking leading to dysfunctional relationships, perfectionism, addiction, and worry about loved ones. Gain practical strategies through personal stories. Amazon: 4.8 stars (53 reviews) (Buy Paperback, e-book, OR audiobook HERE

REVIEWS:  Karen Casey, best-selling author of Each Day a New Beginning (Hazelden) “Even though I have been in recovery for more than 4 decades, and didn’t think another self-help book would make it to my treasured list, I was wrong. This book is a winner.” 

Anonymous Reader: “Your Book certainly transformed my life!  All I can say is, THANK YOU A MILLION TIMES OVER” 

BE THE LIGHT, Even When It’s Really Hard to Do!

Be The Light

“Be the Light: Feel the spirituality inside you and shine it on others.”

Recently I gave an open talk (about my alcoholism) for a large group of women, and I’m so grateful that RecoveredCast.com posted it on their site. You can find it by clicking here — Or copy this link: https://recoveredcast.com/uncategorized/gigi-open-talk-recovered-1044/

After listening to the recording, a woman in recovery sent me this wonderful message describing how consciously choosing to be a shining light helps her–and others–through many troubling situations. Here’s what she wrote:

“I love how in your open talk you refer to spirituality as ‘a light. A light inside us. A light for others to see.’ ♥️

 “I was so excited to be able to pass a drug test, and get a real job, benefits, good pay. But then the place turned out to be very toxic. Gossip, fighting, and plenty of non-recovering alcoholics. I became sucked in very quickly. 

“I was fairly new to recovery and hadn’t learned many tools. I would sit out in my car every morning and pray to go in there and ‘Be the Light.’ To shine bright and help the hurting souls in there. I prayed for God’s will and the strength to not get sucked into the drama. 

“Afterward, I would go to meetings and share my ‘pep talk’ about ‘Being the Light.’ How it was helping me at work, reminding me to be the change. To spread compassion and love to those who are still sick. How I had to remind myself over and over. For example, I would be in the middle of the bickering, and I’d whisper under my breath, ‘Be the light. Be the light.’ Then I’d put up my boundaries and walk away.

“Next thing you know, other people in the program were talking about it. How they would find themselves in situations and would pray for the light. The light to rise above. For the light inside themselves to shine bright. 

“What a gift to be heard and, in return, to help others. Feeling the spirituality inside us. Shining it on others. Helping others, which then helps ourselves. Such a gift!”

Isn’t that absolutely beautiful? Let’s all try to “be the light” for the people and situations around us. I would LOVE to hear how you have used this idea in your own life. Thanks!

Gigi Langer Worry Less Now

Gigi Langer, PhD.  Many years ago, I used alcohol, romance, and professional accomplishments to soothe my frayed nerves. Over time, I discovered effective tools from therapy, recovery pro­grams, scientific research, and a variety of philosophical and spiritual teachings. I share those techniques in my blog and book so you can find peace of mind and wisdom, no matter what is bothering you.

Worry Less Now Cover

My award-winning book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now, describes how I and others have defeated the faulty thinking leading to dysfunctional relationships, perfectionism, addiction, and worry about loved ones. Gain practical strategies, personal stories, and other helpful suggestions. Amazon: 4.8 stars (50 reviews) (Buy Paperback, e-book, OR audiobook HERE)

REVIEWS:  Karen Casey, best-selling author of Each Day a New Beginning (Hazelden) “Even though I have been in recovery for more than 4 decades, and didn’t think another self-help book would make it to my treasured list, I was wrong. This book is a winner.” Anonymous Reader: “Your Book certainly transformed my life!  All I can say is, THANK YOU A MILLION TIMES OVER”