Don’t Worry, Be Happy

“If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it.” – George F Burns

I used to be a worrier. It was one of several issues I had with myself. I was a nervous kid, what can I say?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Worry as:

Main Entry: 2worry
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural worries
Date: 1804

1 a : mental distress or agitation resulting from concern usually for something impending or anticipated : anxiety b : an instance or occurrence of such distress or agitation
2 : a cause of worry : trouble, difficulty

Stress will make you sick. Literally sick. Once you realize that worry and stress and tension are all our enemies, we can begin working on fighting it. Its not easy to not let things get to you. I know. I’ve worked for over ten years to get to where I am at now.

“In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive.” – Lee Iacocca

One trick I developed when I started working on stress management, was to keep busy. If you’re not thinking about it, you’re not stressing about it. This doesn’t work for everyone, but hey, it did not hurt one bit.

Think back to the last few arguments you’ve had. Particularly, the “stupid fight” ones. Could it have been avoided? Yes. Did someone overreacted? Most definitely. Was the argument worth it? No way! These arguments or fights stem from this unconscious stream of fear and worry. I’ve talked about fear and thinking positive before. Imagine handling those situations with a little forethought. Tell yourself “I do not want to argue” and with that in mind, imagine how the conversation would have happened. Go into every situation knowing that it is not the intent of your loved one to cause grief or worry. Go into every situation knowing that everyone has the ability to push your buttons, but showing restraint will show you to be the better person.

This is how I got rid of most, if not all, my stress and worry. I recently found myself in a strange situation between two people, and I did not want to be in it. I simply told both parties that I will not be a part of this issue, for I do not want this kind of drama in my life. I continued by stating that should they want to continue a discussion with me, it would be done civilly and without explosive argument.

Ultimately, things happened, and I wasn’t stressed from it. I also tend to look for and avoid stressful possibilities.

“Stress is basically a disconnection from the earth, a forgetting of the breath. Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important. Just lie down.” – Natalie Goldberg

Nothing is that important. At least as your personal health. It manifests physically, through ulcers or migraines or who knows how else. Considering how hard life is already, we might as well make things a little better by reducing stress in our lives. Sometimes a symbol helps, my bobble head helps to calm me and to remind me what it is I am trying to do this year. Sometimes its the thought that by changing yourself, you are ensuring that someone or someones in your life sees this and begins their own transformation.

Or through song. Or through three little birds.

Whatever the reason, whatever the solution, keep in mind that you have to want to stop letting stress rule your life. You need to actively think about things and how you can ignore the stress. Calm down, breathe right, drink more water. Take a bubble bath with a rubber ducky. Do something with a friend. Life goes on.

Finally, something else that always helps me put things into perspective, is that I try to make someone smile every day. Sometimes, several someones. People that I know, or know me, or even strangers. Do something good and watch it multiply throughout the universe.

Being creative helps too.

Garson Kanin put it best:

“There are thousands of causes for stress, and one antidote to stress is self-expression. That’s what happens to me every day. My thoughts get off my chest, down my sleeves and onto my pad.” – Garson Kanin

2 Responses to “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”

  1. your timing is impeccable.

    as usual.


  2. Nice article. Stress is something that can affect everyone and when you are stressed it causes stress to others around you. Good thoughts to keep in mind. When I saw your tweet about this post the first thing I thought of after that annoying fish was “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley (which led me to thinking about Will Smith in I Am Legend which is besides the point). To quote Jonathan Coulton, “Work is easy if you don’t stress out about deadlines” (courtesy “I Feel Fantastic”).

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