Don’t Worry Be Happy | How to Stop Worrying

Don’t Worry Be Happy | How to Stop Worrying November 16, 2011

We’ve all heard the famous line ‘don’t worry, be happy’ and most of us could whistle the tune made popular by Bobby McFerrin in the 80’s.  His 1988 one hit wonder simply titled Don’t Worry Be Happy because an instant hit single and chart topper.  It might have been the simple lyrics to the song that connected with people (or maybe it was the use of Robin Williams in really cheesy music video you can watch at the end of the article). Whatever it was, the words stuck enough for people to turn the song into a global message:

Don’t Worry Be Happy Lyrics

Here’s a little song I wrote – You might want to sing it note for note

Don’t Worry — Be Happy

In every life we have some trouble – But when you worry you make it Double

Don’t Worry — Be Happy

Ain’t got no place to lay your head, somebody came and took your bed

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

The landlord say your rent is late, he may have to litigate

Don’t Worry — Be Happy

Ain’t got not cash, ain’t got no style, ain’t got no gal to make you smile

Don’t Worry — Be Happy

Cause when you worry your face will frown – and that will bring everybody down

Don’t Worry — Be Happy

© ProbNoblem Music

Worry: The Enemy of Happiness

It happens to all of us – we worry.  We worry about money, relationships, jobs, kids, parents, the economy, and just about anything that has a hint of uncertainty.  It’s the normal thing to do in today’s world.  If you take the opposite approach, people call you a wishful thinker, optimistic, or a dreamer and make you feel like you’re doing something wrong (usually because an underlying dose of jealousy or pessimism).  The result: we usually go back to doing what ‘normal people’ do and worry.

Worrying kills our energy, it depresses ambition, and it suffocates goals.  It inhibits us from thinking clearly and keeps us from being happy.  It’s the ultimate vacuum of all things enjoyable and prevents us from living life to the fullest.

If you turn to the Bible, you’ll find that Jesus addressed worry with this command: “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

But I have to plan for my family.  It’s irresponsible to live each day without a plan and hope for the best.

I agree and I think Jesus would too.  The point is that we can become anxious about the uncertainties in life.  Careful thought and planning is key – worrying and letting our mind become anxious about the unknown is foolish.  How will being anxious about something make it any better?  It won’t, which is why we shouldn’t worry.

How to Stop Worrying

1. Write down the worst thing that could happen.

Honestly assess the situation and make note of the absolute worst thing that could possibly happen if you failed.  Instead of letting your mind wander aimlessly about all the possibilities of failure, just write them down.  You might write things like “I might lose my job” or “my spouse will be disappointed” or “I could lose my home.”

2. Come to accept it.

I’m not going to sugar coat anything here.  Statistically, the chances might be low in your situation – BUT the absolute worst outcome could happen. (Which is why we worry in the first place, right?)  So why should we just come to accept the idea that the worst could happen?  I like how Dale Carnegie answers that here: “When we have accepted the worst, we have nothing more to lose.  And that automatically means – we have everything to gain!”

3. Start moving forward.

We have nowhere to move but up when we come to grips with our worries, so why let them take up so much of our attention now?  Once we’ve accepted the worst that could happen and when we stop worrying about the unknown and focus on what we can control, we can start to move forward.

Overcoming Your Worries

1. Keep Busy

Winston Churchill was asked once how he kept from worrying about his tremendous responsibilities as Prime Minister of England.  At times he had been working 18+ hours each day during the height of the war.  His response was simple and straightforward: “I’m too busy.  I have no time for worry.”

Now the last thing we need to do is clog up our schedule with mundane tasks and useless events just to fill time.  The point is to divert your thinking towards something productive and useful instead of letting your mind wander back to worrying about the finances or other things.

2. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Have you ever spent so much time worrying about the smallest of things only to realize later that it really didn’t matter at the end?  Put thing into perspective and ask yourself if they’ll really matter in the end.  If it’s not something you can control and it won’t really make a difference at the end of the day, week, month or year, why should it consume all of your attention and keep you from enjoying life?

3. Count Your Blessings

Before you succumb to worry, think about the things you’re thankful for.  It’s hard to worry and be anxious when we’re being thankful and content with what we have.  There’s a rhyme that helps us to remember this point:

“I had the blues because I had no shoes,

Until upon the street, I met a man who had no feet.”

We can spend our time thinking about what we don’t have, or we can spend our time thinking about the blessings we do have.

We can spend our days worrying about small things that won’t matter in the end, or we can focus our energy on activities that make us stronger.

Life is in the living, embracing every hour in every day. 

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