© 2014 Kebba Buckley Button. World Rights Reserved.
My grandmother worried. She worried about many things, from the smallest personal decisions, such as how to arrange which flowers, to the state of the Presidency, the economy, and world affairs. However, she had a system: she worried on schedule. At a certain time each evening, she told me, she would lie restfully, a small AM radio playing near her ear, and she would worry for about an hour and a half. If some worrisome topic came to her during the day, no problem. She could and would set it aside until it was time to worry.
Most people are not that mentally organized. They worry and stress and fret at any and all hours of the day, and sometimes at night. They cannot always concentrate on a task at hand, because they are distracted by stressful thoughts. I have clients who say they wake up worrying and can’t go back to sleep.
So, how much happier and more successful would you be, if you didn’t worry and stress and fret? How much more would you get done? How much better would you rest at night, and how much less tired would you be during the day? How much less stress relief would you need? Wouldn’t your life cost less and wouldn’t you have more money? You would also be more popular. People enjoy working and socializing with light-hearted people.
Possibly the most famous advice for worry was penned in many versions, by the American theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr, as a prayer. It is now widely known as The Serenity Prayer. It asks for the wisdom to discern between things we can or cannot change. If half the things you are worrying about are outside any of your control, are they worth getting stressed about? Make a list of everything you ever worry about, and draw an arrow through the items that you can do nothing about. Is it most of them? Is it half? Now, whatever your belief system or faith system, consider the power of mental boundaries to help you be wisely serene. Can you set aside what is not worth worrying about? If you are a person of faith, can you give those to God, and trust that Someone is in charge?
Consider this early version of Niebuhr’s prayer, from a 1937 Christian student publication:
“Father, give us courage to change what must be altered, serenity to accept what cannot be helped, and the insight to know the one from the other.”
Is it in your control? If not, set it aside. Call in your serenity, and live as you were meant to live.
● Kebba Buckley Button is the author of the 2013 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core (Second Edition). Keep this book with you constantly, to quickly recharge your Peace Within, with quotes, photos, and poems that take you directly there! Kebba is a corporate stress management trainer, and she also has a holistic healing practice.
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