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Calm woman in red dress on row boat with peaceful sea
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Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Worry is absolutely useless.

It feels bad, it wastes energy, and it doesn’t accomplish a single thing. Bob Marley was right: Don’t worry, be happy.

Okay, so maybe happiness isn’t always appropriate. But worry never is.

When we feel helpless, sometimes anxiety seems like an actual activity, as though our distress is somehow controlling or helping the situation. Afterward, we breathe a sign of relief and say, “Oh, I was so worried!”

And some of us seek worry like it’s a badge of honor: See how much I care? See how anxious I am? As if love or dedication were measured on the level of worry experienced.

Worrying can be confused with concern – which seems the same but is very different. Worry is fearful; concern leaves room for faith.

Why Do We Worry, Anyway?

We worry about the future: “What if?” We think of every way we can fail. We fret about our health and the health of our spouses and parents and kids and pet hamsters. We worry about our jobs and bills. About traffic. About the weather. About missing an airline flight. About who’ll win the next presidential election.

Some of us are professional worriers. It becomes a habit, our go-to response to every situation with the tiniest possibility of going south. We live like the sky is falling, in a perpetual state of anxiety and stress. It gnaws at our stomach and eats at our souls. Worry steals our peace.

“Be still, and know that I am God.”

Psalm 46:10

This anxious, negative mindset is the opposite of peace. We can’t experience fear and peace at the same time.

So How Do We Stop?

So what is the cure for worry? It’s faith. Trust. The knowledge that we’re not in charge of the universe, and that all will unfold as it will. Our anxiety makes zero difference to anything – except to make a bad situation worse and steal joy from the good.

“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened. Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe.”

mark twain

The majority of life is beyond our control. What a relief! We need to stop hovering fearfully over the future, waiting for the worst. Anything can happen – both good and bad. We see the tip of the iceberg of possibilities, and eleventh-hour miracles happen everywhere, every day.

And if the worst does happen, we will deal with it. A calm and peaceful mind is more powerful than a chicken running around with its head cut off.

If you want to worry, do something better: Pray. Send good thoughts and energy. Write an encouraging note. Lift someone up. Lift yourself and the whole situation up. Be part of the positive, not the negative.

Don’t worry, be happy –

Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

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