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: 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.)
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.