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The Serenity Mantra

The Serenity prayer, or serenity mantra is the key to verbally reminding yourself to focus on changing what is in your control, and letting go of what is not.

One of the most cherished pieces of advice from self-help groups and rehabs is the Serenity Mantra:

“Universe (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.”

The Serenity Mantra is not just a formula repeated by mundane tradition at the beginning or end of meetings. The Serenity prayer is an attitude that self-help participants use routinely and regularly to help them get through daily difficulties.

It suggests a guide to good problem solving that goes something like this:

Is this problem something I can do anything about at all, either directly or indirectly?

If it isn’t, I should stop agonizing over it, letting it run around in my brain, getting frustrated, , angry, and resentful over it.

If it is something I can change, have I got the guts to do it?
If not, I should call my counselor or sponsor or a good friend in the group and ask for their encouragement and support.

Do I know whether it is something that can be changed or not?
Usually the key to this question is: if you can only change it by trying to control somebody else’s feelings or behavior, it probably can’t be done.

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