Recovery: 5 Ways to Fill up Your “Sanity Bank”

In early recovery, we want relief from our messy situations—right now! But rather than focusing on those situations, we need to do the necessary footwork to heal ourselves. Think of it as filling up your “Sanity Bank.” As you fill up the bank, it yields miracles both inside and around you.

Five kinds of footwork help you make deposits into your Sanity Bank:

  1. Attending meetings: Go early, stay late, make sober friends (no romance!).
  2. Working the 12 steps with a sponsor: Meet regularly to work on recovery.
  3. Reading A.A. and other literature, e.g., Hazelden.
  4. Praying and meditating daily: Quiet time, read, pray, meditate.
  5. Service: Help with group tasks, talk to newcomers, sponsor others.

This list shows the difference between a healthy and a sick and life.  Surely we want the former.

-Clean, Sober & Clear versus Drugs/Alcohol, Sex & Worry

-Honest, Open & Willing vs. Denial 

-Trust God’s Care vs. EGO = Ease God Out 

-Turn it Over to Higher Power vs. “ISM” = ”I Shall Manage” 

-Love (Trust God/Power) vs. Fear (Victim Mentality) 

-Helping Others (no strings) vs. Self-Centered

-Higher Power provides all I need.” vs. ”I must have more of . . .”

 But why are we accumulating these “sane” riches? For the day when we need them. When we are down in the dumps, we can make a withdrawal from our Sanity Bank. We may receive comfort from a friend or ask our Higher Power for a different perspective.

Our Sanity Bank often surprises us with unsolicited gifts, similar to interest payments or dividends. We might receive an unexpected answer to a prayer, a positive change in a challenging situation, or money right out of the blue.

Like any system, the Sanity Bank can get out of kilter. Especially during the good times, it’s easy to become complacent. Life is going so well that we “forget” to do our footwork.  At such times, our bank’s riches are getting dangerously low, often without our own awareness.  Perhaps we:

  • Revert to old ways of “looking for love in all the wrong places:” TV binging, excessive partying, seductive games, overeating, or workaholism.
  • Stop meeting with healthy others and start hanging out with negative friends.
  • Become self-centered and grouchy with our loved ones.

Then, when the shit hits the fan, there’s little sanity left to draw upon. As stinkin’ thinkin’ creeps in, we see troubling events as catastrophic,  worry about the future, and indulge our anger about the past.

Fortunately, when you reach this state, you can refill your Sanity Bank through a crash-course of footwork. Go to extra meetings, call your sponsor, give a ride to a newcomer, or memorize a new prayer. Here’s one of my favorite meditations.    May it bless your sanity!

 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 to all others. 

worry , recovery, sanityGigi Langer, PhD has more than 35 years of experience in psychology, therapy, and recovery. She is a sought-after speaker on professional and personal growth. Gigi has co-authored five other books and is an award-winning writer.  Her latest book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now: Reject Negative Thinking to Find Peace, Clarity, and Connection, will be released in March 2018

Does Change Make You Worry? Step Back . . . Try Beauty!

Worry Less Now Blog: Beauty Trumps Worry

Change: Who likes it? No one does! I don’t either. Cuz it makes me worry! (What does this have to do with a hedgehog?? Stick with me here . . .)

Change always wakes up worry’s whispered lies:  “What if the change makes things worse? Don’t make the wrong choice. It could cost you!!”

We make a plan and proceed as if it’s in stone–but we know better, don’t we? At least those of us who’ve been around for a while. “Make the plan but hold it loosely.” That’s what I’ve learned over the years.  Still, when things change, it unsettles me; I need to step back to breathe and gain wisdom. Today, I’m stepping into quiet moments of beauty.

So, what’s the change that’s causing my worry? As happens so often in my life, the right person shows up at just the right time with (what seems to be) just the right advice. This latest info might require me change the release date of my book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now.  https://gigilanger.com/new-book-worry-less-now/

A friend-of-a-friend, a very experienced publicist, suggests releasing the e-book and print book at same time, in late February or March. I would print it right away and send out “advance reader” copies with letters requesting traditional media coverage –- reviews, interviews, and so on– to generate “buzz” before the release date. In the meantime, I would continue social media marketing. As I read up on marketing (I’m a total novice, so I have to research these things), there seems to be consensus on this approach.

This new plan kinda breaks my heart, tho’.  I want to get the book into readers’ hands as soon as possible.  I’m pretty sure it’s gonna help a lot of people beat the worry habit. For now, only the beta readers will get it, as they’ve invested their time to provide feedback and deserve a little reward. But others won’t.

So, while I’m stepping back to gain perspective before making this decision, I’m enjoying a bit of beauty by recalling one of my favorite books of all time: The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. Stunning writing! 

Here’s a little poem I wrote in 2011 after reading it.

And What of Beauty?  by Gigi

If all is illusion, as many believe.

Then, what of this feast that greets us each day?

The luscious green summer,

The slinking grey body of my cat, Murphy,

Looked upon with a full, almost-bursting heart?

Is it that Beauty elicits Love?

And thus transcends the physical?

Is it a portal into Heaven and Peace?

I may never know

Art, however, has captured itself

When Muriel Barbery wrote,

“I’ll be searching for those moments

of always within the never.

Beauty, in this world.”

As the rising notes of Satie rose up

Into that courtyard, Barbery’s character,

Realizing that she will never again see her dear friend, thinks,

“Those strains of music created a sort of interlude in time,

Something suspended,

An elsewhere that had come to us,

An always within never.”

Beauty trumps Death.

Love trumps Pain.

Truth trumps Fear.

Gigi Langer, PhD.  With more than 35 years of experience in psychology, therapy, and recovery,  Gigi is a sought-after speaker on professional and personal growth. She is an award-winning writer, and has co-authored five other books.  Her latest book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now: Reject Negative Thinking to Find Peace, Clarity, and Connection, will be released soon. 

“Worry Less Now” Cover Reveal!

Worry Less Now Release

WHAT’S A COVER REVEAL??  So, in book marketing there’s this thing called a “Cover Reveal.” (I learned this from my wise mentors at http://supportindieauthors.com). You post a picture of your book cover a couple of weeks before its release. . . and Boom!

Yup, you guessed it: This is the BIG REVEAL, the first time anyone has seen the great book cover designed by Kelly Zorn  here in Ann Arbor, MI. Isn’t it gorgeous?

WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU? The book has a lot of great stuff: Practical tools, compelling stories, and easy-to-use ideas that defeat worry and negative thinking. Check it out at https://gigilanger.com/new-book-worry-less-now/

I discovered the strategies through therapy, recovery programs, energy psychology, spiritual traditions, and mental health research.  (I’ve used these techniques extensively because I have a teensy issue with worry!)

WHAT ARE READERS SAYING? As one advance reader wrote: “Your personal story and the examples of the strategies helping peoples’ lives show that the techniques really work. I learned so much.”

Access your own wisdom, power, and dreams by applying the ideas in this book. Calmly and wisely handle any challenge: relationship failures, illness, work stresses, worry about loved ones, substance abuse, fear of failure, perfectionism, negativity, depression, childhood trauma, or anxiety.

Gigi Langer, PhD.  With more than 35 years of experience in psychology, therapy, and recovery,  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  print and e-book, March 2018.  Available at gigilanger.com.

8 Upside-Down Tips: Turn Worry into Positive Thinking

Winding road of perfect order

If you’re like me, you often worry or stress about the complications in your life. Because I know this state so well, I’m sharing a few tips for turning the negative upside down to positive thoughts. Trust me: They work!

  1. First, listen to your thoughts and notice how they cause tension in your body. Perhaps they signal anger, pain, frustration, envy, or an insatiable need for security, recognition or love.
  2. Stand apart from themlike you’re on a balcony, just observing your mind’s contents. Do NOT condemn the thoughts or feelings. Thank them for their attempts to keep you safe and secure during a turbulent lifetime.
  3. Recognize who is watching the thoughts: A part of your mind independent of your thoughts and emotions. It’s your choice: Do you want to stay in the drama of your fear-filled mind, or do you want to detach and experience peace and happiness?
  4. Now, breathe slowly and deeply until your body calms down. Withdraw your attention from your worrying thoughts and focus on your breathing.
  5. Realize there is a “you” greater, stronger, and wiser than the imagined disturbances. Yes, the operative word is “imagined.” Your fearful mind has woven a series of “whispered lies” based on your pastusually resulting in fear, guilt or remorse. DO acknowledge them; But do NOT believe them. They sound like this:  “I always…(followed by something negative, e.g. fail in love, am rejected, sabotage my success) and I can’t overcome it.” OR “If only he or she hadn’t done (fill in the blank), we would all be OK.“
  6. Try writing your mind’s false messages in a journal, so you can decide if they’re really true. In time, you’ll see them as predicting one of two horrible things: 1) past pain will repeat itself, or 2) the future will be disastrous.
  7. Once you see your mind’s lies for what they are, you can dissolve them by owning the truth of who you are:  a being of goodness and light whose perfection was obscured by false beliefs.
  8. Connecting with this essence of goodness will melt the apparent barriers to your happiness. Use meditation, affirmations, prayer, therapy, yoga, inspirational reading, groups, or any other method that helps you reject your negative thinking and find peace, clarity and connection.

You might be wondering how you could possibly solve your problems by using these “indirect” practices rather than attacking the issue directly:  It might seem upside down.

But, when you connect with your inner wisdom instead of your fear, sooner or later the answers will appearin the most amazing way and for the best of all involved.

Gigi Langer of Worry Less NowGigi Langer is a former “queen of worry.” She’s also an educator, speaker, and author of Worry Less Now  coming out in Fall 2017, the new book contains 50 powerful tips to defeat negative thinking, find inner peace, clarity, and connection.