HOW TO OVERCOME YOUR FEARS

overcome fears worry less now

Someone emailed me recently wanting to know how to overcome their fears.

Wow! That’s just the kind of question I love–because I’ve spent a lifetime trying to conquer my own fears, and I’ve found many helpful strategies and solutions.

First,  you’ll need to get honest about current habits that may be contributing to your fears and negativity. Overindulging in spending, eating, partying, mind-altering substances, or unhealthy relationships causes fear, shame, depression, and negativity. Get help to overcome your energy-draining choices so you can make better ones.

Now that you’re ready to change your reactions to the people and situations around you, know this ONE THING:  You can choose whether to be positive & courageous OR negative & afraid.  It will take awareness & practice. But you CAN do it.

Both my own experience and  scientific research support each of these strategies for overcoming fear, anxiety, and worry.

GRATITUDE. Want what you already have. Appreciate what’s already in your life rather than focusing on what you don’t have. Cultivate gratitude for the simple things (eyesight, shelter, friends, etc.) and stop to appreciate beauty, music, nature. Do this often.

COMPASSION. Avoid judging others. Be a strength-finder rather than a fault-finder. When you judge another negatively, stop yourself and then realize the person may have something going on that you don’t know about. Look beyond their behavior or appearance and focus on the goodness inside of them — in their best self.

SELF-JUDGEMENT. Avoid judging yourself negatively. Instead, cultivate self-compassion. When things are tough, give yourself a break. Don’t beat yourself up for not handling things better. Talk to yourself like you would a dear little sister or brother — with patience & gentleness. That said, don’t linger in self-pity. (For more on this topic, I recommend Kristin Neff’s book & meditations on self-compassion)

KINDNESS. Do something to brighten someone’s day. Smile, ask how they are, listen attentively, or let them go ahead of you in line. When you contribute to someone else’s well-being, you escape your self-centered worry. Try helping out a neighbor or friend. It’s a sure way to lift your spirits (as long as you’re not trying to change them; but that’s a whole different blog!).

INTERPERSONAL DRAMA. Avoid Gossip. Limit or cut off contact with people who drag you down. Hang with positive people who are growing and succeeding in life. Don’t try to overcome your fear alone. When you do have a conflict, do not try to resolve it via text or email; meet face-to-face after you’ve taken a day or two to simmer down.

— USE THESE FEAR-BUSTERS DAILY. Meditate, get enough sleep, walk regularly, and offer as many smiles and acts of kindness to others as you can. Keep up your gratitude practice, and replace critical thoughts with loving ones. Soon, you’ll be amazed by how happy you are!

Take GOOD care of yourself. You’re the only one who CAN.

Worry Less Now; Gigi Langer
From me to you!

Gigi Langer holds an MA in Psychology and PhD in Psychological Studies in Education, both from Stanford. She’s also an educator, speaker, and author of 50 Ways to Worry Less Now: Reject Negative Thinking to Find Peace, Clarity, and Connection (February, 2018), available in e-book formats and in print from Amazon.  

“Langer’s frank and empathetic tone will comfort readers, as will the practical steps she teaches.” (Featured Book, BookLife by Publishers Weekly)     “Her honesty will blow you away! It is beautifully written; filled with humor and authenticity.” (Member of Al Anon)

7 Ways You May Be Blocking Your Happiness

don't block happiness
Kermie & I start the day

Recently, someone asked me to name 7 negative things we do everyday that block happiness, with suggestions for what to do instead. 

That’s a “Pretty Good Question!” I thought. “I’ll give it a try!”     Here’s my list of seven.

What would you add? Write your ideas in the “Comments” section at the end.

7 THINGS THAT BLOCK HAPPINESS AND HOW TO CHANGE THEM

1 Saying ”I can’t . .  ”  Change it to “Up until now I couldn’t . .  ”

2 Saying “I always . .  ” Change it to “In the past I’ve . . “ or “I used to . .  ”

3 Reading email and texts first thing in the morning. Instead, meditate, read inspiring words, journal, or pray, (like Kermit & I do!)

4 Criticizing or Gossiping. Instead, look for what’s strong, positive, and good about a person or situation. Avoid complainers.

5 Saying, “You should . .” or “He should (or ought to) . . ” Instead, admit that you may not know best and, even if you did, it’s not your job to change others.

6 Drinking or drugging in a way that’s harming your relationships, health, or safety. Instead, get into a recovery program or therapy.

7 Thinking about what you’ll say next while “listening” to another.  Then responding with your own story or advice. Instead, listen with all of your mind & heart. Try to understand what the person is saying by asking for clarification, e.g., “You mentioned (…). Tell me more about that. What was that like for you?” Listen to the answer and then probe for more detail. Talk less. Listen more. Ask more questions.

OKAY, IT’S YOUR TURN. In the Comments section below, list the bad habit that  blocks your own happiness. Be sure to add the “instead” behavior. We really need your suggestions!

I can’t wait to see what you post!!

Worry Less Now; Gigi Langer
From me to you!

Worry Less Now by Gigi Langer

Gigi Langer holds an MA in Psychology and PhD in Psychological Studies in Education, both from Stanford.

She’s also an educator, speaker, and author of 50 Ways to Worry Less Now: Reject Negative Thinking to Find Peace, Clarity, and Connection (February, 2018), available in e-book formats and in print from Amazon.  

“Langer’s frank and empathetic tone will comfort readers, as will the practical steps she teaches.” (Featured Book, BookLife by Publishers Weekly)     

“Her honesty will blow you away! It is beautifully written; filled with humor and authenticity.” (Member of Al Anon)]

Thank God for Book Bloggers!

the gift of a rose

“The fragrance always remains in the hand that gives the rose.”

Thanks to InsightsIntoBooks and TrulyTrendy  for the great reviews!

InsightsIntoBooks Review: “50 Ways to Worry Less Now by Gigi Langer is a wonderful book to be read again and again. It is one that I will refer to often. This book doesn’t just teach you to worry less, it guides you to finding your authentic self and being true to it. This book is filled with gems from both the scientific and spiritual worlds. Being that I tend to be a worrier, I found this book very useful. I enjoyed the practices and ideas to help us worry less and be our best selves. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants less stress and worry in their lives. ”

TrulyTrendy  Review: WORRY LESS NOW IS A LOVELY RESOURCEFUL BOOK THAT IS FULL OF INFORMATION TO HELP YOU WORRY LESS AND ENJOY LIFE MORE. A BOOK FULL OF HELPFUL LESSONS AND SUGGESTIONS THAT WILL HELP YOU TO STOP THE WORRY. OVERALL A VERY INFORMATIVE READ.”

Positive Thinking: Let Go & Let God

Let go & let GodThe  4/24/18 post  explained that positive thinking is only the first in three steps to manifesting your best future.  In Step 1, you declared your intention, stated it often, and continually visualized its completion.  Beware tho’ of getting so attached to a desire that you’re consumed by it. That’s where Step 2 comes in:  LET GO & LET GOD ** (Non-Attachment to the Outcome)

After being asked how he remained so calm in the middle of life’s storms, an enlightened master replied “I don’t mind what happens.” This is non-attachment. It 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 intellect might have a better outcome. You can then approach life without fighting it, judging it, or needing to control it. In other words, you let go and let God take care of it.

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

In contrast, non-attachment offers you peaceful acceptance and creative freedom. Recall the guideline suggesting your affirmation include “in the best way for all concerned.” These words signify you trust your positive power to fashion a good result, even if it looks different from your initial goal.

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 be healthy and happy and never experience troubling situations.

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.

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, and claim a positive power to work in the situation. 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 my belief that I must complete the book by a certain date, I became willing to see it differently. After meditating, I let go of my false belief and affirmed, “I will finish writing the book at the perfect time.” Then I turned the results over to my higher power. Even though the publication date was much later than I had planned, it was in perfect order. I used the extra time to do marketing and promotion so when it did come out, it was a big success.

The essence of non-attachment is peacefully allowing life to unfold. Nothing becomes a live-or-die situation because you know your loving power is working things out, with results that may far surpass your greatest hopes. Letting go in this way works!

Let Go & Let God Exercise.  Detach from Specific Outcomes

After setting a goal, your subsequent thoughts and actions will indicate if you’re overly attached to it or not. The following exercise will help you find out.

  1. Think about a troubling situation (perhaps the one you wrote your affirmation about in April 24 blog). List the frequent thoughts you’ve had about it and the actions you’ve taken to make it better.
  2. Next to each thought or action, write A for attachment or N for non-attachment.

Write A if your thought or action was driven by:

  • Worry about the results;
  • Thinking about the hurtful details;
  • A need to fix your situation right away; or
  • Insistence on one right solution.

Write N if your thought or action helped you:

  • Focus on your own responsibilities, thoughts, and feelings;
  • Affirm a positive power working toward the best for all concerned;
  • Practice patience and compassion with yourself and others; or
  • Listen with care and express your feelings and needs kindly.
  1. Make note of the unenforceable rules or whispered lies blocking your progress. Let go of them and let God (positive power) take charge.
  2. Accept that it may take time for your situation to work out. Trust that the use of growth tools—along with your honesty, positive power, and good choices—will improve your circumstances.

Now that you’ve released your attachment to a desired outcome, you’re ready for Step 3: Get to Work with Growth Tools. Ironically, you won’t begin with direct actions to reach your goal. Instead, you’ll use various tools to enlist the power to achieve it. The 50 tools I use most often can be found in my book and in other blog posts. Best of luck!

Worry Less Now; Gigi Langer
From me to you!

Gigi Langer holds an MA in Psychology and PhD in Psychological Studies in Education, both from Stanford. She’s also an educator, speaker, and author of 50 Ways to Worry Less Now: Reject Negative Thinking to Find Peace, Clarity, and Connection (February, 2018), available in e-book formats and in print from Amazon.  

“Langer’s frank and empathetic tone will comfort readers, as will the practical steps she teaches.” (Featured Book, BookLife by Publishers Weekly)     “Her honesty will blow you away! It is beautifully written; filled with humor and authenticity.” (Member of Al Anon)