In this time of relative chaos and disruption in the world, is it possible to be serene? Almost every time one is paying attention to any form of news, talk shows, social media or even discussions with friends and family, the COVID-19 pandemic, politics, civil unrest, and/or the economy are likely to be the main topics. Over and over again, the same opinions and sound bites are endlessly repeated. Our focus is directed on things beyond our control.
In the 1930s, Reinhold Niebuhr wrote the Serenity Prayer. The first four lines are:
“God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Those four lines are recited thousands of time per day around the world at 12-step programs, like Alcoholics Anonymous. There are more than 100,000 AA meetings every week.
Just like so many others, AA meetings have been changed by the Zoom effect. It’s never been easier to find a meeting for those who need one.
Changing the focus from what is out of our hands, to what we can change allows a transformation from helplessness to individual power. Almost all of the things in the news, social media and daily conversation are beyond an individual’s ability to change. Focusing on those things only causes suffering.
The Serenity Prayer is much longer than the four beginning lines. The next two lines are a key to letting go of stress and anxiety.
“Living one day at a time,
enjoying one moment at a time;”
The only time that actually exists is right now. All the negative, dystopian, scary possibilities that could happen in the future are not happening in this minute. Likewise, all the sad, disastrous events from the past are not occurring in this moment. The subconscious is not aware of time, following wherever the conscious mind focuses. The subconscious includes the emotions and the physical feelings that come with emotions. Worrying about the future brings all the negative feelings as if it were happening right now. Recycling negative memories brings the old emotions to this current moment.
Limit exposure to news, social media and conversations that are focused on negative issues outside of our control. Notice how often the exact same story is reported, resulting in the same emotional response. One exposure is enough.
Avoid responding to negative comments/posts in social media. Opinions simply are not changed. Engaging only leads to frustration and anger.
Block or defriend as necessary for mental health.
Bring the conscious mind to this moment to become clear and calm.
Do what brings positive feelings: being in nature, exercise, music, positive conversations with positive people, yoga, relaxation techniques, fill in the blank for what works for you.
Change what can be changed; let go of the rest.
Enjoy now. Enjoy today. The past has been. The future will come. FBN
By Don Berlyn
For more information on becoming more positive, recovering goals or anything related to using the power of the mind contact Don Berlyn at 928-699-8263, firstname.lastname@example.org or FlagstaffHypnotherapy.com. Consultations are always free!