Worry-Buster: Non-Attachment

worry less nowNon-attachment boils down to a humble admission that your thoughts and actions–especially when they’re based on worry–don’t always lead to the best results. It’s trusting that a power wiser than your own fearful mind might lead you to a better outcome.

You can then approach life without fighting it, judging it, or needing to control it.  Like this enlightened master replied after being asked how he remained so calm in the middle of life’s storms, 

“I don’t mind what happens.”

So, if this is non-attachment, what then is attachment? Attachment is the mother of all worries. When you’re attached, your whispered lies insist you know exactly how things should turn out. Further, you’ve made your own happiness dependent upon reaching a specific result.

How do you know if you’re overly attached to something? Just ask yourself, “How often do the words should, must, or ought go through my mind?” Attachment sounds like this:

  • My daughter should stop using drugs.
  • This person, (fill in the blank), must be nicer to me.
  • The mayor (or president, legislator, etc.) is wrong and ought to (fill in the blank).
  • I should never experience troubling situations.
  • should not be aging.

These are examples of what Fred Luskin, the director of the Stanford University Forgiveness Project, calls unenforceable rules. Such rules demand an outcome you believe must come true, but over which you have no control.  Luskin writes in Forgive for Good that these inflexible beliefs make you feel helpless, angry, hurt, hopeless or bitter.    https://www.amazon.com/Forgive-Good-Proven…/dp/006251721X

Although holding an unenforceable rule may feel good—even noble—it doesn’t mean you can make it happen. In the first example, the daughter should stop using drugs, but no matter how persuasive the mother’s arguments, she doesn’t have the power to make her daughter stop.

The mother does, however, have control over her own choices and behavior. She can seek help from a therapist or Al-Anon to learn how to let go of her worry.  Then she might choose a goal for how she wants to act and feel, detach from the result, and use growth tools for her own peace of mind, regardless of her daughter’s choices.

One of my own unenforceable rules became clear as I was writing this book. When my mother passed away, I found it difficult to write and became discouraged by my lack of progress. When I honestly faced the false belief that I must complete the book by a certain date, I became willing to see it differently. Eventually, after using some of my favorite worry-busters, I turned my “rule” around to “I will finish writing the book at the perfect time.” In turn, I became kinder and more flexible with myself. You can find some of the tools I used in my other blog entries: https://gigilanger.com/worry-less-blog/

Non-attachment offers you peaceful acceptance and creative freedom. Nothing becomes a live-or-die situation because you know  things are working out, with results that may far surpass your greatest hopes. You can allow life to unfold without holding on so tightly to your worries.

worry , recovery, sanityGigi Langer, Ph.D.  Based on her work in psychology and personal experience in therapy, recovery, and a variety of spiritual teachings, Gigi is a sought-after speaker and award-winning writer and professor.  She holds a Ph.D.  in Psychology and Education from Stanford University.

Gigi  lives happily in Michigan with her husband, Peter, and her cat, Murphy. Her new book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now: Reject Negative Thinking to Find Peace, Clarity and Connection will be released February 20, 2018.  Learn more at https://gigilanger.com/new-book-worry-less-now/

Reject Worry & Stress with Mindfulness Meditation

stress worry mindfulness I’ve felt pretty stressed lately as I’ve been learning about book launches, pitches, press releases, tip sheets, and so on. It’s a dizzying array of information!  I keep saying to myself, “I was a Psychology major, not a business school grad!”

Since most of my book budget went to wonderful editors and  designers, I decided to study up and do the promotional work myself. Often I worry whether “I’m doing it right.” Ahhh: the achievers’ dilemma:  We try so hard, it can be tough to let go of the results.

Yes, I get the irony: The book’s title is “Worry Less Now.” But now you can see why I’ve needed every one of those 50 tools!

Anyway, I needed to do something to get my head screwed on straight, so I turned to mindful meditation.  A few years ago, I took the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course with Madeline Ebelini  at Integrative Mindfulness. After eight 2 & 1/2-hour live sessions, I finally began to get the hang of it.

Research by the developers of the course (Jon Kabat-Zinn & his colleagues at University of Massachusetts Medical Center) shows that consistent use of mindfulness meditation actually DECREASES the area in the brain responsible for stress and anxiety.  Amazing! The MBSR course is offered in person all over the world and also online. Click here for more information:  https://www.umassmed.edu/cfm/mindfulness-based-programs/

The meditation I used today, “Mindfulness for Releasing Anxiety,” by Glenn Harrold, is offered free on the app, Insight Timer.  Here’s that link:  http://insig.ht/gm_1122

After 20 minutes, I got up feeling centered, confident, peaceful, calm, and receptive to intuitive nudges. I can relax, take action, and let go of perfectionism. Whew! What a relief!

PS: I get no kickback from Insight Timer; it’s just a helpful tool I share with you.

worry , recovery, sanityGigi Langer, Ph.D.  Based on her work in psychology and personal experience in therapy, recovery, and a variety of spiritual teachings, Gigi is a sought-after speaker and award-winning writer and professor.  She holds a Ph.D.  in Psychology and Education from Stanford University.

Gigi  lives happily in Michigan with her husband, Peter, and her cat, Murphy. Her new book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now: Reject Negative Thinking to Find Peace, Clarity and Connection will be released in early 2018.  Learn more at https://gigilanger.com/new-book-worry-less-now/

 

 

Are You Stuck? Four Strategies to Get Unstuck

stop fear and doubt
Reject fear and doubt

For the past few weeks I’ve felt stuck in fear and doubt.  I’ve written a new book because I wanted to share the tools that helped me face and grow through life challenges such as addiction, divorce, chronic pain, perfectionism, and co-dependence.  

The book goes on sale in February, so it’s time to start promoting it.  But I’m rather overwhelmed by the prospect.  My mind’s (not-so-helpful) whispered lies chatter away: “It’s too much work! Where do I start? Look how well other authors do it! What’s wrong with me?”

When such worries and negative thinking keep us stuck, how do we move forward? Today, I used four strategies to dissolve my fears and return to my happy, creative, productive self. It’s through struggles like this that I’ve discovered these tools.

1. Get Honest with Yourself. At first, my worries flew under the radar, coaxing me to eat sugary “treats,” binge-watch TV, and oversleep. Fortunately, I no longer use drugs, alcohol, overwork, or sex to avoid my feelings. Those are all dead-ends that stop growth in its tracks.

So, my first step was to honestly admit to myself that my latest challenge had me rattled. Then I could practice self-compassion (http://KristinNeff.com), and clear away the shame. (After all, how many authors really do know how to market a book?).

I gain self-honesty most easily when I can share my struggles with healthy friends. Journaling helps too; when my fears are out on page, they don’t seem insurmountable. Quite often I pray or meditate—both help me feel that I’m not alone and shrink my fears.

2. Claim Positive Power. Here’s the step that many balk at: I admitted that my willpower wasn’t going to change anything.  When I let go of my need for control and certainty, I can access a source of power greater than my fears.

My negative thinking told me I must try to figure out the magic formula that would make the book sell. Although it’s true that I do need to learn a lot, I don’t have to motivate myself with such fearful thoughts. My best inspiration and guidance come from a higher, wiser place.

You may be thinking, “Oh, man, here we go with that higher power stuff.” Power and wisdom come from many sources and it’s up to you to find your own. You might use a variety of terms for this power: courage, God, universal truth, providence, true self, angels—it doesn’t matter, as long as proves to be stronger than your fear.

Try reading and listening to words that inspire you. Then, just say to yourself, “Maybe I’ll try trusting a power greater than my fearful thinking.” That’s all that’s necessary.

3. Choose Your Future. Even when I’m stuck, I know what I’d like to have happen. In this case, I wanted the marketing process to get the book into the hands and hearts of the people it will help.

When I was stuck, I didn’t believe this could happen, and I was resentful that it seemed so hard. My mind was so clogged with negativity and fear that little inspiration could enter it.

But I didn’t have to say there. I set aside my worries and stated my goal; then I took actions to stream positive power into my body, mind, and spirit.

4. Use Growth Practices. First, I needed to reinstate my daily practices of reading inspiring writing, talking with supportive friends, meditating, and walking outdoors. I had been lax for the past weeks; that’s why I found myself at the mercy of my fears and doubts.

Your own daily tools for achieving peace might differ, but they will always lower the volume of your worries and whispered lies.

Today I used tapping therapy, a few new chants, and a prayer to dissolve my negativity. As a result, I now trust that the right resources and inspired actions to successfully market my book are on their way. In fact, this article is my first creative action in a while. Whew!

When your own worries and doubts threaten your happiness and productivity, try these four strategies:

  • Honesty: “Here’s what’s going on inside me.”
  • Power: “I claim courage and intuitive direction.”
  • Choices: “This is what I want and I’m going for it!”
  • Growth Practices: “I’m actively connecting with loving power.”

In my own and others’ experience, these practices yield wonderful results:

  • Peace of Mind. Manage life’s challenges with calm, wisdom, hope, and gratitude.
  • Clarity. Fulfill your dreams without limitations.
  • Enjoy relationships that thrive and serve others.

worry , recovery, sanity

Gigi Langer, PhD.  Based on her work in psychology and personal experience in therapy, recovery, and a variety of spiritual teachings, Gigi is a sought-after speaker, retreat leader, and award-winning writer and professor.  She has co-authored five other books for educators.

50 Ways to Worry Less Now will be released in early 2018.  Learn more at https://gigilanger.com/new-book-worry-less-now/