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


Before I got sober, I didn’t pray, unless you count uttering in desperation, “Help me!”

Even though I didn’t know what it meant, I memorized the Lord’s prayer, just to fit in at my best friend’s church.

** I had no idea that connecting regularly with a Higher Power (HP) could solve my troubles and fears. **

My favorite author, Karen Casey, writes:
“(1) Prayer promises relief when we are anxious.
(2) Prayer connects us with our Higher Power when we feel isolated and full of fear.
(3) Prayer frees our minds from the obsession to plan other people’s lives.
(4) Prayer helps us take action when we feel compelled to change the circumstances of our lives.
(5) Prayer becomes a wonderful resource to draw on when living through our painful moments.
(6) And prayer gives us the willingness to accept God’s solution for every problem that plagues us.” (from “A Life of My Own”)

My friends say that praying is asking, and meditation is listening to the God of our understanding. So, I meditate to gain all the wise direction I can get! (I also attend meetings, do service work, and read inspiring spiritual texts to keep myself balanced and stress-free).


Gigi Langer Gigi Langer 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!


Over 30 years ago, I was listening to a cassette of Gerald Jampolsky’s little book, “Love is Letting Go of Fear” as I drove to work in my VW Bug. It changed me forever.

For years, I had been filled with shame and self-loathing because I couldn’t stop my lying, promiscuity, drug use, and profound belief that I couldn’t possibly be loved by anyone. Already in my third marriage, I was back to my old patterns.

That’s why, when my grad school mentor, Jane, sent me Jampolsky’s little book, I grabbed onto it like a life raft.

It taught me two crucial truths:

1. The essence of my being is love.

2. We can learn to love ourselves and others by forgiving rather than by judging.

Back and forth to work, I listened to these and other lessons, and slowly began to change.

After years of denial, I quit drugs and alcohol and discovered the power of A Course in Miracles—a spiritual system similar to Jerry’s work. Over time, I even managed to become happily married.

Twenty years later, Jane and I attended Jerry’s “Attitudinal Healing” (AH) weekend course where he emphasized one of my favorite principles of AH:

“We can become Love finders rather than fault finders.”

For example, instead of criticizing politicians, we can choose to love and appreciate our democracy. Or, when you have an ache, instead of focusing on it, send love to all the body parts that work perfectly.

Every minute, we can choose to be loving toward ourselves and others rather than judging them. We can choose to join our hearts rather than finding fault.

As we bear these lessons in mind, let’s all HAVE A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY SEASON!

With Love, from Gigi Langer. 💗

PS. Get “50 Ways to Worry Less Now” audio or ebook (free); paperback (discounted). Just email me here:

Gigi Langer author

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 posted it on their site. You can find it by clicking here — Or copy this link:

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”