I used to get really upset after missing a critical shot during a tennis match.  It was not unusual for people to hear me drop an f-bomb or two whenever on those occasions. Sometimes, I even threw my racquet.

For years I stoked this fury until I realized no amount of obscenities or racquet launches could change the outcome of any shot or make me a better player. In fact, this was having the opposite effect. I finally figured out that staying calm after a miss and getting ready for the next point would net better results, and it did.

This is a great simile for life, we assume we can use our willpower to force the results we desire, but this is a recipe for anxiety-stress-related illnesses of all types. Like my old tennis behavior, this willfulness only makes matters worse.

Serenity is a choice.

Whenever challenging times confront us, our first reaction is fear. Our conscious mind, perceiving a threat to our survival, will automatically proceed to a fight-or-flight response. This has been going on since we were children when we adopted a coping mechanism to deal with a threat or avoid harm. These strategies may have worked then, but they don’t in adult situations. No amount of education, experience and preparation can prevent us from this involuntary reaction. We do them automatically and without knowing.

This is where choosing serenity helps you attain your greatest good. Think of serenity as a pause before you react. Rather than automatically running off with the normal urges triggered by your anxiety, a pause gives you a chance to consider all options and then choose the best one for the situation. Instead of throwing my racquet or dropping f-bombs in tennis, I can be ready for the next point.

I realize my tennis example does not compare to the complexity of life’s transitions, but the metaphor applies. Instead of adding stress to your life by comparing yourself to how others are doing, you can rejoice on the things you have accomplished. In lieu of setting material or status goals you are convinced will make others see you as important, make it your mission to accomplish the things that motivate and inspire you. This is how you find your path.


There are two things that help me remain serene in tough situations; faith that the universe is conspiring with me and certainty that things happen in their own perfect timing. Choosing serenity before acting helps you develop a stress free, peaceful coexistence with your current situation and a gratitude for your life just as it is.

Going through a difficult life transition?

You might enjoy reading my latest memoir, Catch and Release: One Man’s Improbable Search for True Love and the Meaning of Life. It is my story about starting life over. Download a PDF of the first 5 chapters of Catch and Release for free.  To order your inscribed copy in either hardcover or paperback, click here (https://guillermovidal.me/shop/). Catch and Release is also available on Kindle here (https://www.amazon.com/Catch-Release-Improbable-Search-Meaning-ebook/dp/B07F26N1HS/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1535494644&sr=1-2). You can also subscribe to my free weekly newsletter on my website and receive motivation and encouragement to help you on your way to recovery.

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