Don’t Worry; Be Happy

Why did the song Don’t worry; be happy become such a hit? Isn’t it because its simple message resonated within us? Deep down, we realize that we arent supposed to worry. Yet, the worry habit is hard to shake. Not that its surprising; after all, people continue to lose jobs because of downsizing, their children may not be doing well in school, monthly bills may be overwhelming, a family member may be ill, and so on.

Note the difference between pain and worry. Pain is a message sent by the body, alerting us of a problem. Worry, however, is a message delivered by our psyche alerting us of an opportunity for growth. Worry is caused by fear. Fear of the unknown (What will happen to me if I lose my job?). Or fear of a challenge (How will I ever pay my bills?). However, it is in facing problems and dealing with them that we develop our character and realize our potential.

Reflect for a moment on how Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh describes a lowly seed, The death of the seed will be the birth of the tree, and there will be great foliage and flowering and fruits, and birds will come and sit on the branches and make their nests, and people will sit under the shade of the tree; and the tree will talk to the clouds and the stars in the night, and will play with the sky, and dance in the winds; and there will be great rejoicing. But how can this be known to the poor seed which has never been anything else? It is inconceivable.

We are seeds that haven’t been anything else, so its understandable that we tremble when trouble comes our way. Yet, the cause of our fear is a ladder to the stars. True, the climb to the top is dizzying, and if we are not careful, we may fall. But we were made for greatness, and if we are to achieve it, we must be willing to take risks. So, the problems we face are opportunities to stretch ourselves and accept responsibility for our lives.

Additional Tips on Worry

Use humor to lighten up, and remember this story: There are only two things to worry about, either you will remain healthy or you will get sick. If you remain healthy, then there is nothing to worry about. But if you get sick there are only two things to worry about, either you will get well or you will die. If you get well, then there is nothing to worry about. But if you die there are only two things to worry about, either there is an afterlife or there isn’t an afterlife. If there is an afterlife, then there is nothing to worry about. But if there isn’t an afterlife you wont know, so don’t worry and be happy! Rather than worrying about what you want to do but cant, do what you should but don’t.

Don’t use worry as a crutch in a crisis. People get so in the habit of worry, writes John Jay Chapman, that if you save them from drowning and put them on a bank to dry in the sun with hot chocolate and muffins they wonder whether they are catching cold. Worry is not a solution to a problem. The solution lies in taking suitable action. For example, if you’re deeply in debt, instead of worrying, be responsible and take on another job to pay off your bills.

Don’t waste time worrying about the past. You cant change it, but you can learn from it. Worry cant change the past, but it can ruin the present. Remember that worry doesn’t solve problems, it merely saps your strength, making it even more difficult to overcome your troubles.

Don’t worry about what may happen in the future. By definition, anything that MAY happen, MAY NOT happen! How many times did you worry about something in the past only to learn your worries were unfounded?

Instead of worrying, accept whatever you have no control over. If its not going to snow tomorrow, you have nothing to worry about. If it is going to snow, don’t worry, but prepare for it. Finally, as Barbara Hoffman wrote, Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey!