SHRED YOUR NEGATIVITY—EVEN IN HOLIDAY TRAFFIC!

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?”

NEGATIVITY: THE CONSEQUENCES

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.

AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH

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.

ISN’T THIS APPROACH PRETTY PASSIVE?

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

LETTING GO OF URGENCY

I often hear a whispered lie telling me “Gotta go faster!” or “It’s going to horrible if I can’t get this done.”

Such urgent thoughts scare the wits out of me—and they’re NOT TRUE.

To re-calibrate my exaggerated self-talk, I breathe, meditate, pray, and use other tools to connect with my true self/higher power. And then, voila! Those things that just “had” to be done are effortless and in perfect order. Whew! Relief!

I love this reading about urgency from Melody Beattie, The Language Of Letting Go.

“One thing at a time. That’s all we have to do. Not two things at once, but one thing done in peace.

“One task at a time. One feeling at a time. One day at a time. One problem at a time. One step at a time. One pleasure at a time.

“Relax. Let go of urgency. Begin calmly now. Take one thing at a time.

“See how everything works out?

“Today, I will peacefully approach one thing at a time. When in doubt, I will take first things first.

Great advice, aye? I think I’ll follow it by letting go of my urgency!

Gigi Langer holds a PhD from Stanford University in Psychological Studies in Education. She’s an award-winning teacher and writer with 33 years clean and sober. Her new book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now won the National Indie Excellence Award and rates 4.7 stars on Amazon. The AUDIOBOOK is due in mid-September 2019 (Audible, Amazon, i-tunes)

TWO EASY WAYS TO STAY SANE DURING THE HOLIDAYS

Let go worry less now gigi langerAs we approach the holidays, we often find ourselves triggered by feelings of: Overwhelm (How will I get it all done?); Worry (How am I going to handle this family member?); Self-pity (I feel so alone; no one loves me!); Shame (Will they ever forgive me and trust me again?); or Resentment (Why does she/he get so much more attention, money, love than I do?)

I know these feelings well. Just let me get too afraid, hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, and the negativity goes on a spree inside my head.

Since the holidays are ripe for such challenges, I want to share my two favorite ways to restore my sanity and balance when I’ve lost it. I’ve memorized each of them and they really work!

Whenever you have a negative thought or action toward anything or anyone, pause, remove yourself from the situation (if possible), and repeat the phrases of “Loving-Kindness” or “The Activity of God.” Then notice how you begin to calm down and gain a new perspective. When you return to the situation you’ll find yourself thinking and responding differently.

Loving-Kindness Practice

The loving-kindness practice Buddhists call metta calms your mind, opens your heart to goodness and love, and connects you with the power within your true self. The practice also asks for the healing of your fears, worries, and negative thinking so you can serve others’ growth.

1) Say the words aloud:

  • 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.

2) With one or more of your loved ones in mind, say the prayer again changing I to you: “May you be at peace. May your heart….”

3) Next, change you to we: “May we be at peace….”

4) Now use the “May you” version of the prayer for a person you feel is causing you worry, frustration, or pain: “May you (name) be at peace…”

The Activity of God, by Sig Paulson, Daily Word (Unity Church) 

This affirmation reminds me that negative thoughts are making my problems appear bigger than they are; and these appearances are just that, figments of my overactive imagination. It shrinks my fears by reminding me of who I truly am: an individual expression of a loving power.

  • The activity of God is the only power at work in my mind, heart, and life.
  • All false beliefs, all negative appearances are dissolved right now by the loving, forgiving action of God.
  • I am whole, strong, and free, as God created me to be.

1) First, you assert God (or higher power, true self, etc.) is bigger than your past wounds, stronger than your worries and fears, and wiser than your intellect. This benevolent power is the only one you want to influence your life.

2) Next, you claim your loving power has dissolved your negative beliefs and fearful imaginings. (I love the image of dissolving; I see it as washing out, softening, and reducing the sludge-like fears and worries of my mind.)

3) In this same sentence, you encounter the words, forgiving action of God. This forgiveness doesn’t refer to sin or any other dogma. It simply means releasing the negative thoughts and actions that separate you from others.

4) Finally, you claim the truth of who you are; not the person you may present to the world, but your true self, endowed with positive power, whole, strong and free.

This holiday season, I wish you patience, acceptance, and kindness—and the ability to attain peace of mind when you get triggered into negativity.

 Gigi Langer, PhD, wrote the award-winning 50 Ways to Worry Less Now: Reject Negative Thinking to Find Peace, Clarity and Connection. Five stars on Amazon plus rave reviews. All order links here.

STOP An Anxiety Attack

Anxiety Attack Worry Less Now

I recently had an upsetting encounter with a friend when I kept trying to set a boundary that was repeatedly ignored, and then it escalated into a shouting match. Afterward, my body was shaking with anger and anxiety; I was in full-out fight-or-flight mode.

Choosing Self-Care

Although I was tempted to keep the drama going by replaying the incident and defending myself with thoughts of how I had been right, or what I “should” have said or done, I did something different.

I decided to calm myself down and enjoy the rest of the day. So, I went into a bathroom, closed the door, said a prayer, and did some energy tapping with soothing self-talk. Then I used the following technique to dissolve the adrenaline flooding my system. The whole process took about ten minutes, and afterward, I had a wonderful day.

The 5,4,3,2,1 Technique to Manage Anxiety

  • Take a few slow belly-inflating breathes and remind yourself that your body has just felt threatened and is reacting normally.
  • Name 5 things you can see around you (Examples: rug, painting)
  • Name 4 things you can feel (feet on the floor, cool air on the skin)
  • Name 3 things you can hear right now (a fan running, people’s voices outside)
  • Name 2 things you can smell right now (perfumed soap)
  • Name 1 good thing about yourself (“I am strong,” “I can help myself through this.”)

If you simply can’t focus, or if your body and mind haven’t yet settled down, take a few more belly-inflating breaths, and tell yourself that you can calm down. Then do the exercise again. It may take several minutes of repetition before the adrenaline dissipates.

According to independent.co.uk, “the trick, which relies on sensory awareness, is rooted in mindfulness – and apart from anxiety, it can help treat depression, addiction disorders, lower blood pressure, and relieve stress (Harvard University Helpguide.org).”

Whenever you suffer from incessant thinking, worry, tension, anger, or fear, this practice will return you to a more relaxed state. It sure worked for me!

Gigi Langer is a former “Queen of Worry.” She’s also an educator, speaker, and author of 50 Ways to Worry Less Now: Reject Negative Thinking to Find Peace, Clarity, and Connection, winner of the 2018 Indie Excellence Award. Learn to defeat negative thinking, find inner peace, attain clarity, and improve relationships–no matter what is going on in your life! Available through Amazon (5 stars), Barnes and Noble, and e-book sites.

Langer holds a Ph.D. in Psychological Studies in Education and an MA in Psychology, both from Stanford. As Georgea M. Langer, she’s published several books for teachers and school administrators.