A Prayer for Serenity

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.  


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 


Would you like to become more emotionally resilient?

If you are feeling stressed, I may be able to provide you with some resilience strategies.

You can book a time to chat. My goal is not to sell but to always give value. Promise.

About the Author:

Barbara Clifford (The Time Tamer) is a time management & stress management enthusiast based in Alice Springs, Australia. She has spent over 20 years working in time precious and stressful industries such as film, hospitality and marketing. She has always had a burning passion for creating order and making sense of things. She is sought after like a beacon in a sea of chaos to provide professional development in the business environment through workshop training, coaching, mentoring, online training programs, webinars and as a guest speaker around Australia. Her professional experience has included contracts with small business, Not For Profits, Aboriginal Organisations, Media, Marketing, Aged Care, Universities, Health Services and Cruise Ships. Follow Barbara on Twitter @barbclifford.


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