Q: I really struggle with worrying about ... well, almost everything. Do you have any practical suggestions for controlling my anxiety and keeping my perspective?
Jim: Let me turn back the clock to a well-known author and speaker, Dale Carnegie. Although he died in 1955, his books and seminars continue to sell the world over. He's probably best known for his book "How to Win Friends and Influence People." But another of Carnegie's classic works, "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living," is a timely and insightful message for this anxious era in which we live.
Here are Dale Carnegie's seven rules to stop your vicious cycle of worry:
No. 1: Fill your mind with thoughts of peace, courage and hope. As a man thinks, so is he.
No. 2: Don't waste time trying to get even with an enemy. Let it go.
No. 3: Be grateful.
No. 4: Count your blessings. Never look at what you have lost -- look at what you have left.
No. 5: Be yourself -- don't imitate. If you do, the best you can ever hope to be is second best.
No. 6: Make the best of bad situations. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
No. 7: Forget about yourself. When you are good to others, you are best to yourself.
I would tack on my own addendum -- a spiritual one -- to Carnegie's thoughts. There's a real sense of peace in knowing that we're directly connected with something bigger than ourselves. And I believe that "something" is Someone. The Creator who made me knows everything I'll ever face and walks with me on my journey, regardless of what comes along. I hope you connect with Him, too.
Q: With three teenagers in the house, I'm concerned about the dangers of substance abuse. What can I do to "drug-proof" my home?
Danny Huerta, Vice President, Parenting and Youth: Drug abuse is so widespread in our culture that you can't expect to completely isolate your kids from exposure to it. But you can take ongoing, deliberate and proactive measures to build up their immunity to using drugs.
First and most important, model the desired behavior yourself. If the kids see you smoke, vape, drink or abuse prescription medications, they're more likely to do the same. (Remember: it's never too late to quit.)
Secondly, create an environment that consistently balances love and limits while pursuing genuine relationships. Kids who know they're loved unconditionally are less likely to seek escape through substances. Those who have learned to live within appropriate boundaries supported by parental involvement will have better impulse control and self-discipline. Research affirms that balancing healthy love and limits helps set up children with the strong foundation necessary to make wise decisions.
Speaking of limits, help your children understand why drugs are harmful. "Just say no" is a great motto -- but understanding the negative physical, social, psychological and emotional effects will build a more complete and helpful conversation. Social pressure is real and difficult; role-play different scenarios with them about how they would respond to pressure and why.
Meanwhile, don't be afraid to confront when necessary. Be clear about the limits in your home, and the consequences -- loss of driving, dating, and/or phone privileges, etc. But remember that drug abuse is often social; you truly become who you "run" with. Help your kids learn to be discerning in relationships. Who gets a vote in their lives? Who is influencing whom?
Finally, remember that even in families that hold strong values and practice ongoing "drug-proofing," there are no 100 percent guarantees. Ultimately, these decisions are your kids' to own. So if a problem arises, face it squarely. Seek help, if necessary. Maintain interactive relationships with your kids balancing warmth and limits.
Jim Daly is a husband and father, an author, and president of Focus on the Family and host of the Focus on the Family radio program. Catch up with him at www.jimdalyblog.com or at www.facebook.com/DalyFocus.
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