stop our worries

“Over control is spiritually deadening. When we let God do the worrying, we find many possibilities open up,” (Touchstones by Hazelden)

Our Worries Deaden Our Spirit

“Spiritually deadening” is a great description of our worries, fears and overthinking. Lost in thoughts of the future and past, we’re numb to the beauty and love available in this very moment—the only one we actually have.

I must confess that I’ve been worrying for the past few weeks. I just couldn’t get myself to write the next blog or newsletter. So, I took a break from writing and promotion to restore my energy and enthusiasm.

Acceptance is the key to flowing with my varying levels of motivation. Instead of judging myself harshly, I consider what “good” reasons I have to be somewhat depleted. Certainly, autumn was pretty intense with getting the audio book launched and various presentations. Recognizing this gives me self-compassion and allows me to take a break.

What’s Really Bothering Me

But, I must admit, what’s really been kicking my serenity in the ass is this: my worries about my various aches and pains. Although they’re minor, they certainly do amp up my negativity and fear.

Physical pain takes me back to my past suffering with two frozen shoulders, surgery, back pain, etc. As I project into the future, I imagine it will be even worse than those experiences. Those fears cause me to try to control my pain by worrying about the problem rather than the (spiritual) solution (see blog)–thus the “spiritual deadening” I’ve been feeling.

It’s all too easy to fall into the illusion that, if I analyze the sources of pain, use ice, exercise properly, and avoid the “wrong activities,” I’ll be able to control it. But such preoccupations only keep me stuck in thoughts of suffering, And we all know this singular truth: What occupies our minds manifests in our lives. So, I knew things had to change.

Physical pain has often served my spiritual growth by getting me humble and on my knees. Eventually, I notice my mental misery and enlist a power greater than my fears to overcome them.

Solutions for Our Worries: Waking up Spirit

I can hasten my willingness to claim spiritual power by increasing my self-care: meetings, helping others, praying, meditating, journaling, reading, and talking to a spiritual advisor. It’s similar to filling up our mental “sanity bank” with wisdom and faith that dissolves our worries.

Of course breathing in spiritual strength and breathing out negativity is a great place to start. A quick “Help me to see this differently” or “All is well” can settle down our worries. The Serenity Prayer connects us to acceptance, courage and power when we’re imprisoned by doubt.

So, I’ve been following my own advice and using the tools presented in “Worry Less Now.” Who knew that I’d need to use them so often and so consistently throughout my life!?

It’s just proof that, as humans, we’re often tempted by our worries and fears. Fortunately, with experience, we learn how to return to sanity, trust, and peace of mind.

When we we awaken from the dreams we’ve been lost in, we can fully inhabit our life, savoring its present sensations. The feel of our breath filling our body. The smell of a gardenia. The beauty of a palm tree ruffled by the breeze. The taste of cilantro.

A Celebration!!

I’m so grateful to share the tools that have helped me discover my true, wise, god-self, even in the midst of life’s challenges. And, I’m grateful for something else, too!!

On Jan 11, I celebrated 34 years without a drink or drug. Many of you reading this have played a large role in my recovery. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

To celebrate, I’m still giving away free tokens for my audiobook of “Worry Less Now.” Just use the Contact Form here to claim it.

New Podcast!

If you haven’t listened to any of my interviews on podcasts, I think this is one of the best. Omar Pinto (SHAIR podcast) is a gifted interviewer and a wonderful guy. Listen to it here: PODCAST “Worry Less in Sobriety. “

Gigi Langer

Gigi Langer, a person in recovery, 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 at work. She lives in Michigan with her husband and Murphy, her cat.

worry less now

Get Gigi’s new book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now: Reject Negative Thinking. available in audio, e-book, and paperback. 5 STARS! (Amazon) Click HERE

“Valuable, heartfelt manual.” — Publishers Weekly (BookLife)

“This book is a winner.” -Karen Casey, Hazelden author


HERE’S A SITUATION SURE TO KICK OFF NEGATIVITY:  Imagine you’re on your way to an important doctor appointment and you’ve left just a little late. You find yourself waiting in a long line of cars with left-turn signals blinking.

When the cars finally begin to inch forward, you realize you might not make it through the light. You look at your watch, clench your jaw, and think, “I can’t miss this appointment.” Your stomach begins to churn as you imagine having to wait several more weeks to see the doctor.

Suddenly, a big black car cuts in front of you. He’s the last one to make it through the light. You bang your hands on the steering wheel and yell, “Who in the hell does he  think he is?” Then your mind whispers, “I’ll never get in to see the doctor! My symptoms will get worse and I’ll suffer even more. Why does this always happen to me?”


It’s hard to keep such incidents from prompting a hissy fit, often with dire results. For instance, we might drive recklessly in the traffic or speak rudely to the doctor’s receptionist.

Or, when we arrive home, our frustration might cause us to hurt a loved one with critical or impatient words.


I’ll bet you’ve had similar experiences, especially with holiday traffic. I sure have. But after years of working with my negative thinking, I’ve discovered how to change it through Honesty, Power, Choice, and Growth Tools. Here’s how it looks in the traffic situation.

First, the driver honestly admits how upset she is, and tunes into the tension in her jaw and belly. She then notices, without judgment, her negative thoughts—for example, “I just thought ‘That guy is a real jerk!’ and I’ve convinced myself I’ll never make it to my appointment.”

She follows that realization with “If I can stop worrying, I can access the power of clarity.” She then makes the choice to cease upsetting herself.

She might seek a different perspective by thinking, “I have no control over this traffic. This would be frustrating for anyone. I’m willing to trust that I’ll get to the doctor at just the right time.”

To move her focus away from her irritation and fear, she applies the following growth tools.

She begins with the tool of deep breathing. In her calmer state, she tries to feel compassion toward the driver who cut her off. Perhaps he’s had a bad day or family emergency.

Finally, she uses visualization to imagine the office  receptionist being helpful and kind. As her negative thinking continues to make a bid for her attention, she persists in using these tools.

In a short time, the next right action occurs to her. She thinks, “I’m  going to call the receptionist and ask if I can keep my appointment if I’m thirty minutes late.” When her call is put on hold, she breathes calmly.

Soon, she learns that the doctor is behind schedule and being late is no problem. She relaxes and enjoys the ride.


Perhaps you’re thinking that the driver should have been more assertive, perhaps by immediately seeking a detour.

*Here’s an important point: Using these strategies does not mean that you never take strong action.*

They simply allow you to delay acting until you’ve gained a little wisdom. As a result of your new perspective, if you are meant to do something, you’ll have the direction you need.

Unfortunately, we don’t have as much control over external events as we might imagine, and fretting or forcing a solution often just makes things worse.

Next time you’re irked by traffic, try applying honesty, power, choices, and growth tools. You can experience the peace and goodwill of the season, no matter what!!

Gigi Langer Gigi Langer, a Stanford PhD, is a former teacher who quit drinking, only to find that her negative thinking, judging, and fears kept her in a cycle of worry, codependency, chronic pain, perfectionism, and overworking. Her award-winning book “50 Ways to Worry Less Now” (Amazon 4.8 stars) is available in paper, e-book, and audiobook. Honest, practical, simple. Relevant to anyone! Buy it here GigiLanger.com/buy


“Our fears, whether large or small, were distorted. And we still distort those fears, on occasion, because we move away from the spiritual reality of our lives.” Karen Casey, ”Each Day a Dew Beginning” (Hazelden)

Sometimes my fears grab the microphone and whisper (or sometimes scream) lies such as: “If I can’t fix this, I can’t be happy!!”

I fell victim to this incessant voice recently as I tried to resolve thorny technical issues with Amazon and i-tunes. Further, a barely started book chapter was due July 9. After several weeks, I could not resolve these issues, NO MATTER WHAT I DID!

Eventually, I found myself swearing at other drivers and peeling out onto a busy street. That reckless action got my attention.

So, I admitted to myself how pissed I was and went to a meeting. There I admitted how victimized I felt—just like a powerless little girl. As others shared the “wisdom of the rooms,” Spirit’s voice of hope and sanity dissolved my rage.

When I got home, I listed on paper the three situations and then wrote “Higher Power, I place each of these into your hands and mind. I thank you for the perfect resolution for each of them.”

The next day, God pulled the rabbits out of the hat! Amazon e-mailed to explain what I needed to do; the lovely i-tunes people resolved that technical issue; and I found out the book chapter wasn’t due for two months.

Now, if that isn’t evidence that “turning it over” works, what is?

I sometimes ask myself, “Why couldn’t I have let it go sooner and saved myself all this aggravation?” Even after 33 years, I sometimes still deny my feelings—especially anger (remember, “All addictions are feeling disorders.”)

For me, the only solution to my mind’s distortions is to surrender them to my Higher Power. I’m always grateful when I do — even if it takes a I while!

WHAT WORKS FOR YOU?? I’d love to hear from you!

Why Are Frogs So Happy? They Eat What Bugs Them!

worry less now gigi langerWhat bugs you? Is it something or someone you can’t change, but wish you could? Yup, the fly in the ointment! It happens to me all the time.

Try Kermit’s approach: just chew it up and swallow it. It’s merely acceptance–digesting the reality of the situation and getting on with your life.

I needed to remember this lesson recently when my book distributor went out of business. Upon reading the notice, I just wanted to spit out the unpleasant news. It just couldn’t be true!

Then I began to roll it around in my mouth, as I tried to figure out how to fix it. Eventually that effort failed, and I had to just gulp it down, exactly as it is.

Now that I’ve absorbed this truth, I can look at it differently. For example, I realized that the defunct printing company had been charging me a lot! And that led me to finding new and creative ways to distribute my book.

For example, soon you’ll see a special offer of a personalized SIGNED COPY (available now at GigiLanger.com/buy mailed right to your home. Although people can still get it from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, this special deal allows me to connect with you more directly.

So, when life throws you a curve ball–something that really bugs you–just gobble it up and keep moving, knowing that a better way is coming along.

It works for me and for Kermit too!

worry less nowGigi Langer has been clean and sober for 33 years, and holds a PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. She’s a sought-after speaker and retreat leader who has helped thousands improve their lives at work and at home. Read her blog here or order her award-winning book (50 Ways to Worry Less Now) from GigiLanger.com/buy, Barnes and Noble, Amazon (5 stars), and all e-book vendors.