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

HOW TO SUCCEED IN RELATIONSHIPS

Relationships Require Care. Follow these tips to find harmony and happiness.

Balance. Don’t make the other person the most important thing in your life. Have a variety of interests, friends, & passions.

Support. Talk through your concerns & problems with healthy friends or a counselor before sharing it with your loved one. Don’t make him/her your counselor.

Listen. When your loved one shares, don’t interrupt. When they finish, summarize what you heard. Don’t give your own story or suggestions. Instead, help them explore the issue with clarifying questions (“You mentioned _, tell me more about that.”). Ask permission to offer solutions.

Self-Awareness. Be honest about the motivations behind your words and actions. Where are you being controlling or self-centered?

Kindness. Focus on your loved one’s strengths and demonstrate care through your words and actions.

Forgiveness. Wait at least 2 days before discussing a conflict. During the talk (not through text or email), acknowledge your part in the disagreement and listen to their side of the story.

Don’t use substances as a way of avoiding feelings. If you’re drinking or using a lot, your relationships will often fail. Try no more than 2 normal-sized drinks a day; if you can’t stick with that, get help.

Meditation. If you’re moody or prone to anxiety, try the free app, “Insight Timer”. It guides you thru meditations for any situation or emotion.


** Relationships can be difficult; the healthier you are, the better are your relationships. **

Gigi Langer Worry Less Now

Gigi Langer, PhD. Many years ago, I used alcohol, romance, and professional accomplishments to soothe my frayed nerves. When I quit drinking, I was left with only my fears and worries. Over time, I discovered effective tools from therapy, recovery pro­grams, scientific research, and a variety of philosophical and spiritual teachings.

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 with directions, personal stories, and other helpful suggestions. Amazon: 4.8 stars (50 reviews) (Buy Paperback, e-book, OR audiobook HERE)

REVIEW by 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.”

LISTENING: AN ART GUIDED BY THE HEART

talk at barbecue

In your relationships, are you really listening?

Do you try to understand the other person’s point before offering your own ideas?

Giving your complete attention to another person’s words offers him a treasure—a sincere gesture of care. Unfortunately, most of us respond to our loved ones either by telling stories about our own past or offering solutions.

Both types of responses prevent seeking to understand first, perhaps the most important of Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Listening from the Heart

When in a conversation with someone, open your heart, empty your mind, and listen. If you notice yourself thinking about your own past, refocus your attention on what he is saying. If you’re tempted to suggest solutions, remind yourself that actively listening is your goal.

To show your intent to understand, briefly summarize what you think you heard. After that person’s reply, summarize again.

Listening in this way not only shows that you care—it also invites the person to clarify his own thoughts and feelings, often leading to helpful insights. Perhaps the initial “problem” is something else entirely.

For example, if a friend tells you she’s worried about losing her job because her boss constantly criticizes her, tune in, breathe, and resist the urge to tell your own tale about a bad boss. Then paraphrase her words: “It sounds like you get a lot of negative responses from him.” Your friend replies, “Well, it’s not really criticism. It’s just that he has such high expectations.” Then you summarize (without giving advice), “Hmmm, high expectations. Tell me more about those high expectations.”

Responding in these ways elicits her feelings and encourages more detail, allowing both of you to explore the problem before seeking positive ways to address it.

Try It Out!

 1.  Select a friend or coworker who’s easy to talk to, and plan a 15-minute conversation without interruption.

 2.  You may want to begin by explaining that you’re working on your listening skills and reassure the person you have only good intentions—to understand what they say.

 3.  Ask the person to begin talking about something happening in their life. Listen intently while resisting your urge to break in with your own experiences or solutions.

 4.  When the person stops, pause to see if they’ve finished talking and take a moment to prepare your response. Select the most important parts of what was said and summarize one of them in your own words—for example, “So, you said (fill in blank). Tell me more about that” or “You mentioned the word (fill in blank). What does that mean to you?” TIP: If you’re talking less, and they’re talking more, then you’re doing great!

 5.  If it seems acceptable to the other person, at the end of the conversation, ask how it felt to be listened to this way.

Make It A Habit

In your everyday interactions, make a conscious effort to listen carefully to others and paraphrase what you heard. Withhold your own thoughts and reactions until you fully comprehend the other person’s position or experience. You will be amazed by the good will you create (and what you learn about the other person!)

Gigi Langer

Gigi Langer holds a PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. She is an acclaimed teacher, author, and speaker who has helped thousands improve their lives at home and work. Gigi hasn’t had a drug or drink for over 30 years, although she does occasionally overindulge in Ghirardelli chocolate and historical novels. She lives happily in Michigan with her husband, Peter and her cat, Murphy.