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.

How to Stay Serene with Your Family During The Holidays

worry less now gigi langerThose of us who grew up in dysfunctional homes often have an especially hard time staying serene during the holiday season. For example, long ago I saw a TV ad showing a smiling, happy family sharing Christmas dinner. I just blew up, “That’s not how it was at my home!” Later, I wrote this poem.

Possum Hill Christmas

 “I’m the youngest of four at this Christmas dinner. My feet dangle—clean socks, patent leather shoes. We sit, waiting for Dad to come home. Mom’s tense, fretting over peas, turkey, and gravy. Her mother is quiet, reserved, disapproving. Something unspoken thickens the air. But we pretend it isn’t there. Finally, he arrives, boots muddying the carpet, drunken roars clouding the air. I sink lower and lower into my chair. This isn’t happening. I’m not here.”

[Read how I healed the insecurities created by these and other events in Chapter 5 of 50 Ways to Worry Less Now.]

So many of us have harsh memories of the drunken bashes and ugly scenes birthed by copious amounts of holiday “spirits.” What an upside-down way of celebrating Christ’s birth! We knew we were supposed to be happy, but all too often we felt hurt and confused.

 Family Holidays: Tips To Stay Serene

Now, however, we’re no longer at the mercy of others. We can choose to be serene with our families by using the following tips.

  • Family Wounds. If you were harmed by your family members OR if you harmed the family you created, the damage may take years to heal. Instead of trying to fix that, we first heal ourselves and gain spiritual strength. If being with your own family might prove too distressing this year, feel free to set some boundaries.
  • Time with Family. Early on, I discovered (the hard way!) that, after about three days, I reverted to my old insecurities and unhappiness. So, I kept my family visits short. After a few years of growth, I was able to extend my time and stay serene.
  • Prayer and Meditation. To prepare for family gatherings, I often increase my prayer and meditation. If I start feeling upset or defensive during the visit, I use one of my favorite prayers : “Please help me to see this (situation, family member, etc.) differently.” It acknowledges that my perceptions are clouded by judgment or anger; and that a power greater than my self-centered fear can restore my serenity. I also use guided meditations to reprogram my tension or negativity, for example Kelly Hine’s bodyandsoulretreats.com and Kristin Neff’s SelfCompassion.org.

My Wish for You

I wish you the wisdom and power to put your own happiness and serenity ahead of the need to please others, especially family, during this holiday season. I send you lots of love and encouragement!

What are some of your favorite ways of staying serene during the holidays? Please share them in the comments section below.

Worry Less Now; Gigi Langer
From me to you!

Gigi Langer is a former “Queen of Worry” who  holds an MA in Psychology and PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. She is a 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, and lives happily in Michigan with her husband, Peter and her cat, Murphy.

HOW AND WHY I PRAY–A LOT!

worry less now prayBefore I got sober, I didn’t pray, unless you count uttering in desperation, “Help me!”  Even though I 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 could solve my troubles and fears.

Six Reasons to Pray

These days, I pray a lot. Here’s why it helps, according to my favorite author, Karen Casey.

“(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 Karen Casey’s A Life of My Own)

My friends say that praying is asking, and meditation is listening to the God of our understanding. So, in addition to prayer, 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).

Prayer and Meditation

In the past few years, I’ve stepped up my prayer and meditation because of one of the scariest challenges of my life: writing and publishing a very revealing self-help book. I often say, “God made me do it” because I found myself running up the stairs with enthusiasm to write. And I found just the right people to help me publish it.

Last February, I released the paperback and e-book of 50 Ways to Worry Less Now: Reject Negative Thinking to Find Peace, Clarity, and Connection. Recently, several people have requested an audio version of the book. As soon as I decided to record it, I was filled with fear and resistance. It just seemed like too  much work!

The Prayer of Jabez

That’s when I remembered The Prayer of Jabez, a small book my sister-in-law sent me several years ago. The prayer comes from this Bible verse: “Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, saying, ‘Oh that you would bless me indeed and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from the evil one.’ And God granted his request.” (1 Chronicles 4:10, NIV)

I’ve adapted it to the following four steps. (If you use the prayer, feel free to substitute your own word for “God.”)

1) God’s blessings. I ask for God’s blessings and thank Him for the good things I already have.

2) Expansion of territory. I ask that God enlarge the number of people who benefit from my words and actions.

3) The presence of God’s hand. I ask for God’s power and guidance to serve the many new people reading and listening to my words.

4) Protection from harm. I ask God to protect me from negative thinking and selfish motives–that I remain open to do His will, not my own.

It’s just the right prayer to overcome my fears about making an audio book. I’ve read several articles on how to do this, and it requires quite a bit of equipment, patience, and time. But, I know it will do the most good if I record it in my own voice. So, here we go. . . Let’s call in all that power and courage!

A Request for Your Good Thoughts and Prayer

I plan to start on December 1st. Please wish me luck in this endeavor, as I continue to pray for blessings, increased readership, power to serve my new readers, and protection from fear and doubt. Thanks to all of you for your support, and thank You, God, for this adventure!

Worry Less Now by Gigi LangerGigi Langer is the author of 50 Ways to Worry Less Now: Reject Negative Thinking to Find Peace, Clarity, and Connection. 5 Stars on Amazon and winner of the Indie Excellence Award. Get 20% off here with promo code 20lessnow. (No discount at Amazon or e-books)

Worry Less Now bookGigi had a long career teaching and writing in education. She holds a PhD from Stanford University in Psychological Studies in Education, and has been clean and sober for 32 years.

GRATITUDE FOR MY ELECTRONIC FRIENDS!

gratitude worry less nowI’m hoping you’re finding many things in your life that evoke gratitude. It’s the key to happiness and it’s so simple–to focus on what we have rather than on what we lack. It’s like flipping a switch. “Ooops, I’m seeing the negative; I switch my focus to goodness.”

This year, my heart fills with gratitude for so many people and things. First, my dear, kind, fun, husband, Peter. We’ve had 29 wonderful years together.

Next, my family: brother, sisters, and their spouses, children, and grandchildren. Always loving and supportive of my life adventures.

I cherish the dear friends who’ve shared my childhood, school-years, adulthood, and especially my 32 years of recovery. You all are my best cheerleaders!

Some say that such family & friends function as “God in skin.” They stream love into our lives and we do the same for them.

I always thought these “angels” needed to be physically present in my life. But this year, I discovered thousands of “electronic” angels–my website and FB friends who react with such enthusiasm and appreciation to the words I write.

Ironically, I made these heart-connections purely “by accident.” While publishing my latest book (50 Ways to Worry Less Now), I found most marketing experts suggested using social media.

So I began to post articles on spirituality and recovery in FB groups. Soon, I had many followers whose insightful comments and compliments encouraged me to continue.

As the numbers grew, I saw my FB feed fill up with uplifting posts. Reading my new friends’ words became one of the joys of my life. 

So, this Thanksgiving, I want to thank all of my electronic and in-person friends for sharing your blessings of loving connection so generously. Thank you for enriching my life greatly!

PS: Want to support my FB author page? Just click  here  and click “like” below the book photo.

Worry Less Now bookGigi Langer is a former “Queen of Worry” who  holds an MA in Psychology and PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. She is a 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, and lives happily in Michigan with her husband, Peter and her cat, Murphy.

worry less nowGIVE THE GIFT OF HOPE AND INSPIRATION
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