I've noticed that when I'm feeling a little discouraged, I get busy trying to organize small unimportant areas of my life. This gives me the delusion of improving my situation. It distracts me from my worries but wastes a lot of time and effort.
The Serenity Prayer helps me stop this futile compulsion. It lets me step back for a moment to see what I can control and what I just have to live with.
Yesterday I needed this prayer. I say it each morning when I wake up but after a while it becomes a thoughtless routine. When this happens I make an effort to really pay attention to its meaning.
Here are some notes I found on wikipedia:
I have no idea who he was but from the 8th-century Indian Buddhist scholar Shantideva of Nalanda University:
If there’s a remedy when trouble strikes,
What reason is there for dejection?
And if there is no help for it,
What use is there in being glum?
Again, I'm not sure who this was. The philosopher W.W. Bartley (1695) had a Mother Goose type rhyme for this:
For every ailment under the sun
There is a remedy, or there is none;
If there be one, try to find it;
If there be none, never mind it.
Here is the "original?" long version:
God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
I'm not what could be called a very religious person. I believe the universe must make sense, even though I can't see how. I hope there is a God and a life after death. I wish I had faith. I try to be kind to others.
Anyway, this prayer helps.