Lately, I have been meditating on this prayer written by Teresa of Avila. Meditating on prayers is one of my favorite ways to refocus my mind when I’m feeling anxious or stressed. I hope it helps you in the same way.
Let nothing disturb you, let nothing upset you
Everything changes, God alone is unchanging
With patience all things are possible
Whoever has God lacks nothing
God alone is enough
When everything seems to be changing around me and I feel worried, I think it’s helpful to remember that everything changes. Change can be very stressful, and there’s a tendency to think that change is the exception and if only things could settle down we could get back to normal. But this prayer reminds me that that’s not how life works.
In therapy, I often meet with people whose goal is to always be happy, have a relationship without any conflict, or find a perfect job. If your goal is to be happy or positive all the time, that’s unrealistic. There is no perfect relationship or job that will completely fulfill you or complete you. Having negative moods or a bad day at work fan derail you, but only if you let it.
Part of the goal of therapy is to build resilience. Given that change is constant and nothing will be perfect, how can you develop the mental skills to handle the ups and downs of life?
The stories we tell ourselves shape the way we perceive and react to the world. If your mental narrative tells you that you need to always be happy all the time in order to be okay, you’ll be consistently on the lookout for negative thoughts and emotions and it will ruin your day and your self-image. And a consistent focus on your negative thoughts can create a downward spiral that sucks you down into depression.
If this sounds familiar to you, consider meditating on this prayer to help break the negative thought cycle and get you back to a healthier narrative.
When things change, remember the times you overcame difficulty in the past, all the times change brought you a positive result, and how you made it through negative changes through your own strength and help from others.
Then ask yourself this question: What if everything works out well?