WHAT? ME WORRY?? How to End Your Worrying

I used to be the “Queen of Worry,” biting my nails and stressing about everything. After I quit drinking, I found I still had a major “thinking” problem. When hardships arose, however, I couldn’t drink them away, so I had to learn other ways to deal with my fears and insecurities.

After several years of challenges and discoveries, I had built up such an effective set of tools that I rarely found myself worrying. In 2011, I grouped these tools into five simple strategies: HP-CPR. You can think of it as “Higher-Powered CPR” for the terrified heart and mind.

HP-CPR

HP-CPR: Honestly claiming a loving Power, we Choose our future and use Growth Practices to get there. Here’s a quick summary, followed by an illustration.

  • HONESTY: “Here’s what’s really going on inside me.” Admit that your worrying has kept you stuck in unhappiness.
    • POWER: “I claim courage and intuitive direction.” Claim a source of positive power to overcome your worries through your mind, spirit, and/or body energy.
    • CHOICE: “This is what I want and I’m going for it!” Choose a new future andcommit to do the necessary work to achieve it.
    • PRACTICES: “I’m actively connecting with loving power to grow as needed.” Consistently use a variety of tools to dissolve your worries.
    • RESULTS: “Here it is!” As you gain a peaceful perspective, you will act with wisdom, heal past wounds, repair relationships, and find true happiness.

HP-CPR At Work

One night, my friend Mary called and asked for my advice after meeting the affluent mother of her daughter’s friend. When the woman asked Mary where she lived, Mary didn’t want to say she resided in a small apartment with her three children, so she gave a vague answer. After this encounter, Mary began worrying about how she responded.

Honesty: Mary began our conversation by honestly describing the situation and her embarrassment. Together we identified her negative self-talk (whispered lies): “I’m a loser,” and “People will only like me if I match their standard of living.” She also admitted that her need to look good in the eyes of others was a long-standing problem.

Power: Mary felt powerless over her negative thinking and past efforts to correct it. By talking with me, a trusted friend, she began to claim the power and courage to overcome her fears. As we talked together over the next few weeks, I encouraged Mary to use prayer and meditation to connect with her source of loving power.

Choice: I asked Mary to write a statement of what she most wanted in her life as if it had already happened. She wrote: “I have freedom from my self-punishing thoughts and my family is economically secure.” She read the statement aloud as often as possible, visualized it as if it were already done, and felt gratitude for the anticipated results.

Practices: Mary used the following growth practices to overcome her worrisome whispered lies. 1) The Golden Key: Every time she noticed herself worrying, she shifted her thoughts toward any connection she felt with positive power. Because she had a religious affiliation, she chose to focus on God. 2) Gratitude list: Mary wrote a daily list of three things she was grateful for, without repeating any of the items listed.

My conversations with Mary began in January. During the next few months, she met with me, connected with her higher power, affirmed her life choices, and used the suggested tools. She even added some new ones; for example, she increased her participation in a support group.

Results: In March, Mary experienced what she described as “a miracle.” She was freed from her worries and self-judgment; and she found peace with her current living situation. A month later, Mary was offered a lease on a gorgeous three-bedroom home for very low rent. To top it off, just as I was revising this chapter, she called with news about her work promotion with a big pay raise.

Patience, Persistence, and Support

Notice that Mary’s changes did not come all at once. She followed the steps of HP-CPR with patience and determination.

Another of her crucial actions was joining with others. When we’re in the grip of our worries, seeking help is the last thing that occurs to many of us. By connecting with healthy others, however, we can explore questions such as, “How might I see this differently?” “What do I want as an outcome?” or “What growth tools might help me?”

How do you overcome your own fears and worries, and who supports your growth with encouragement and wisdom? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

(Excerpt taken from page 6-8 of Gigi Langer’s award-winning book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now. For another illustration of these steps, see this post.)

Worry Less Now; Gigi Langer

Gigi Langer holds a PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. She is a seasoned author and popular speaker who has helped thousands of people 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.

Gigi’s book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now has gained rave reviews (4.8 on Amazon) and a publishing award. Get it HERE in paperback, e-book, or audiobook.

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In 50 Ways to Worry Less NowGigi Langer shares her personal journey as a prisoner of fear, worry, and substance abuse, along with practical techniques anyone can use. Award-winner with rave reviews: Amazon 4.8 stars. Get special offers on the paperback, e-book, and audiobook HERE.

gigi Langer worry less now

Gigi Langer has been sober 34 years, and holds a PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. Formerly crowned the “Queen of Worry,” Gigi resigned her post many years ago and now lives happily in Michigan with her husband, Peter and her cat, Murphy.

WHY STOP USING ALCOHOL?

LOVE LETTER TO SOBER CURIOUS WORRY LESS NOW GIGI LANGER

By the time I was 36, I lived in a self-created jail of fear and worry. I was more miserable than I’d ever been. Little did I know that I suffered from a subtle case of un-diagnosed alcoholism.

The First Crack in My Denial

Of course I was in denial; aren’t we all until we’re forced to face the problem?

But denial, when held onto for too long, can keep us from facing up to and taking responsibility for our problems.

Jane Stallings, my mentor and employer in grad school, was the first to break through my denial. At the time, I was living with John, one of several men I had either married or lived with during the past 15 years. We met almost every night at a bar, drink a few beers, and then went home, got high, and made love to the sounds of Mozart or Sibelius.

This seemed like normal behavior to me, but not to Jane. She would often phone me in the evening about some work detail and find me less than coherent. She had also witnessed my bawdy behavior as John and I drank heavily at one of her dinner parties.

A few weeks after that party, Jane gently said, “You are such a talented woman and yet there’s a piece in there that’s just . . . I don’t know, just not quite . . . ” I can’t recall her next words, but here’s what I heard: “There’s a part of you that’s broken, and it shows.”

Jane’s comment that day pierced my illusion that attracting men, earning good grades, and being well liked were hiding my problems. But I wasn’t yet ready to give up the fight.

Not Ready Yet

Later, Jane introduced me to Don, who would become my third husband. We fell in love quickly, and I moved to his home in Michigan to complete my dissertation. From the very beginning, I tried to act exactly how I felt he wanted me to–no over-drinking or pot.

After a year of living in this emotional pressure cooker, I’d had enough. I walked into my favorite tavern and chose a seat. Shafts of sunlight pierced the blinds the same way they had at my regular bar at Stanford. When a couple of guys in business suits sat near me, our small talk soon escalated into flirtation.

 I called home and told Don I was out with some of my students. Then I left with the guy I’d picked up. We went to buy cocaine, drove to his home, and had sex. Only through good fortune did I make it home safely at 2:00 a.m. I told my husband more lies the next morning to cover up my misadventures.

The Final Straw

At that point, I admitted that something was seriously wrong, and sought therapy. When the counselor said I was in the early stages of alcoholism, I foolishly thought with relief, “That’s not too bad.” He then suggested I have two drinks, no more and no less, each day, and take note of my behavior.

After a few months, I realized that sometimes I could stop after two drinks; but on other occasions, I would continue drinking, find drugs or go home with a stranger, and cover up my actions with lies.

When I honestly admitted that after just one drink or drug, I couldn’t predict what I would do, I accepted that I needed to stop drinking.

I walked into my first Twelve-Step meeting one month before my thirty-eighth birthday. Ever since, I’ve been clean and sober through the  support of several healthy recovering women. And my dream of being happily married has come true; my fourth husband and I recently celebrated our 30th anniversary!

Your Honesty

Trust me, if you’re life isn’t working, if your relationships are awful, if you grew up in a dysfunctional family, if you’re a perfectionist, chances are that alcohol has been promising you relief while robbing you of an honest, happy life.

Don’t let denial get in the way. Take a long look in the mirror. You’re the only one who can do something about it.

In 50 Ways to Worry Less NowGigi shares her personal journey as a prisoner of fear, worry, and substance abuse, along with practical techniques anyone can use. Award-winner with rave reviews: Amazon 4.8 stars.

Get special offers on the paperback, e-book, and audiobook HERE.

Gigi Langer Worry Less Now

Gigi Langer has been sober 34 years, and holds a PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. Formerly crowned the “Queen of Worry,” Gigi resigned her post many years ago and now lives happily in Michigan with her husband, Peter and her cat, Murphy.

How to Trust Life–No Matter What!

When your troubles plunge you into agitation, It’s very hard to trust life. Your mind whispers, “You won’t be okay until this is fixed!”

Unfortunately, this approach is upside down. Instead of trying to fix things, we first need to seek the wisdom of our true self.

From this loving place, we gain patience and, sooner or later, the best solutions appear.

Patiently Trust Life

“Love is like the blossoming of a flower. You cannot force it to open.”

Amma, the hugging saint

Imagine that you’ve planted a seed. Each day you water it and check its progress. Eventually a green stem sprouts from the earth, and a pale pink bud slowly emerges. Suddenly, you have an insane urge to pry it open to see it right now in full bloom.

Instead, however, you choose to patiently care for it. Your reward is a fragrant, beautiful flower; and recognition that–from flowers to human experiences–each miracle appears in its own time and its own way.

Trusting life is like waiting for a blossom to appear. In the meantime, you remind yourself that, no matter how scary a situation appears, your positive power and wisdom will resolve it. You practice non-attachment, use your growth tools, and wait.

Trust Life’s Perfect Order

There’s a perfect order to 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 a spiritual path, healthy friends, a happy marriage, and creative productivity.
  • Many years of shoulder and back pain taught me to accept what I couldn’t change, to trust positive power, and accept care and comfort from others.
  • My husband’s resumption of drinking resulted in my forgiving my father and a new appreciation for my marriage.

While I don’t relish such challenges, I’ve learned that each upsetting event or person will ultimately increase my growth and ability to love. They’ve helped me trust life–no matter what is going on!

Time for Action: Tool 46. Are All Hard Times Totally Bad?

It’s easier to trust life when you believe something better is coming, even though you can’t yet perceive it. When you see ups and downs as opportunities to grow, you can relax and enjoy life.

  1. Think of a few major life challenges in your past.
  2. List two or three of them in your journal, leaving space to write under each one.
  3. Beneath each life challenge, describe the subsequent benefits it brought to you and your loved ones.
  4. Now consider two problems worrying you. Write them down, along with their possible positive outcomes.

When a person or situation pushes your buttons, it’s often life’s way of helping you face and heal old beliefs that no longer serve you. Especially when you repeatedly receive–and accept–the same poor treatment, it’s a wake-up call. As you choose to work toward inner peace, you’ll experience the exhilarating freedom of trusting life.

Worry Less Now Cover

This post is taken from Chapter 7 of Gigi’s book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now (available HERE in paperback, e-book, & audiobook). It’s received rave reviews (4.8 on Amazon) and a national award.

Gigi Langer security

Gigi Langer holds a PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. She is a seasoned author and popular speaker who has helped thousands of people 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.