A Prayer for Serenity
The ‘Serenity Prayer’ is still a great philosophy for creating peace, calm and serenity in your life. Despite its age, it is still a worthy stress management tool, one that I need to use more often in managing my own stress. The key to this tool, is all about focusing on what’s within your control and not stressing over the things that are not within your control.
You may be familiar with the ‘Serenity Prayer’. The title in itself, makes you think about creating peace, calm and serenity in your life.
It’s such a powerful prayer and statement. It was written by an American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. He wrote the prayer for a sermon at the Heath Evangelical Union Church in Massachusetts and it was used widely in sermons around 1934 before being published in 1951 in a magazine column and continuing to spread.
It would become very popular and even more so when it was adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous for their 12-step program. It really resonates with people and it’s such a simple lesson and reminder for us about how we can overcome adversity and how we can deal with challenges in our life.
HOW TO APPLY IT?
It’s quite simply about what we are in control of and how to focus on that, to not get overwhelmed and stressed by those things that are beyond our control.
It can be things other people’s attitudes or situations that we find ourselves in. For example, if we are running late, or we miss a flight, these are things that we just have no control over, so what’s the point of getting angry, distressed, resentful or frustrated when it’s not going to serve any purpose?
I got a speeding fine recently and normally in that situation I would want to feel a particular way, angry or annoyed with myself or with the police, but I chose to adopt the attitude that is independent of the circumstance and focus on what is within my control. Ironically, I was not concentrating because I had three kids and a dog in the car and was rushing and didn’t pay attention to the speed limits in that area. It was a school zone and for a short period of time I was doing 50 in a 40 zone, focused on getting the kids to school on time. Consequently, they were late, and I got a speeding fine.
All I could do in this situation was laugh.
That’s the other important thing. One of the key traits of people who demonstrate emotional resilience is that they are able to roll with the punches and go with the flow, they are able to laugh at the situation.
I hope that gives you some insight or perspective for your day and perhaps this message has come to you at just the right time.
Focus on what you can control
Laugh and roll with the punches
Focus on what’s working
Sweat the small stuff
Dwell on things beyond your control
Don’t count or focus on the things going wrong