Dont worry 1

Don’t Worry – Be Happy! Getting Rid Of The Worry Bug

I remember singing this with my friends around the campfire – yes we were a little wasted, but this was really the anthem that we all related to. It’s such a simple song but it holds a lot of value.

So, let’s do it! Let’s not worry and be happy! I can’t imagine how not worrying will not make me be happier, or anyone else for that matter. In fact, I have a story in my past to prove it.

When 9/11 happened, I was terrified. I thought of all these worst-case scenarios in my head about what was going to happen, and I worried myself into despair.

I had always worried about things that were not likely going to happen. Even in my early teens I worried about bombs dropping when I saw planes. I don’t know where the heck I got these fears from, but worry was a huge part of my life.

After 9/11, I promised myself that if my worst fears didn’t come true then I wouldn’t worry about anything like that again. Of course, my worst fears didn’t come true, but that didn’t stop me from worrying!

Even this stupid Mayan thing for 2012 had me tense the whole year.

It is safe to say that I have not learned how to not worry. Although I have learned that our worries hardly ever come true.

This is one of those be happy tips that I really need to learn.

So, that is the task for this week. Don’t worry, be happy (a song that will now be stuck in my head all day.)

My husband is going on a business trip this week so that will give me extra practice to not worry about him while he’s gone.

Day 1 – When Your Partner (Or Someone Else) Worries

It is interesting that on the first day of ‘don’t worry’ week my husband went into full panic worry mode.

He is leaving for a business trip on Wednesday, and his job is looming in the air. He also has an interview on Tuesday for another job closer to home, and he had a real shitty day at work where he was thrown under the bus countless times. Put all of this together and you got some real good worrying happening.

So, after I picked up his passport and had a great day singing, drinking coffee, and feeling alive – I was confronted by my man who was exhibiting everything I was trying not to exhibit.

Of course I listened to him and tried to support him and make him feel better, but there is no talking someone out of that kind of mood. They have to come out themselves.

I was not worried about him or our future (hugely), but his attitude was starting to make me feel very unhappy as the hours went on. He was in pure pity mode where he had his hands in the air and had resolved that the worse was going to happen no matter what.

Finally I did something I have never done with my husband – I stopped talking to him and tried to avoid him.

We are normally on the same wavelength, but I think the universe through me a curveball for my first day trying to understand worry better, because it knew I needed to see that not everyone is always on the same wavelength and sometimes you have to be strong enough to stand up for your emotions and not get caught up in other people’s emotions.

There are lots of times when this happens.

  • Your co-workers start talking about the ‘layoffs’
  • Your mother talks about how everyone in your family loses their hair at the age of 50.
  • Your best friend worries about his or her spouses faithfulness.
  • The newscaster worries about a situation happening.

I’m not saying that you should not consider these things or support the person who is worrying, but I am saying that you should not let their fears enter into your life.

Don’t start to worry about the layoffs, don’t worry about the hair loss, don’t worry about what will happen to your friend or if the newscaster is right.

There is no point to add their worry into your life.

Remember, you cannot predict the future and neither can your friends or family. The chances of their worries coming true are just as likely as having your worries come true – not that big.

Day 2 – Techniques To Stop The Worry

Breathing, positive thinking, and meditation can all help us focus on something else other than the worry, but what if those things don’t work? Try the following things.

Visualization – Like usual I asked my friends on HubPages to give me some answers for my be happy venture of the week, and this was one of the coolest answers I got.

Don't worry

Take Action – I can’t believe I didn’t think of this myself because I am always preaching to take action in life, but whatever – I can’t take credit for the following answer. However, I do totally understand it – taking action allows you to fix the worry and therefore eliminate it…love that.

Prayer – This is another great tip to stop worrying. My husband often says this – “Let Go and Let God” (Trust me, he’s not overly religious, but this allows him to easily let go of what he has no control over.) Prayer gives you a sense that you are releasing your worry and letting god, the universe, or whatever/whoever give you guidance and help you fix the problem. I’m telling you, sometimes I pray so hard I wake up and instantly say the prayer I said before bed because it is so engrained in my head.

don't worry take action

Truth – Facing the truth is a part of letting go of worry. And Billie says this perfect…”I never worry about things over which I have no control.” There are some things that you just have no control over, and that is the TRUTH. Instead of telling yourself lies about what could happen or what will happen, tell yourself the truth, “I don’t have a clue what is going to happen, but I can take action right now to try and direct it towards an outcome I want.”

I’m very fortunate to get some great answers when I ask questions on HubPages, and I think that the above answers really explain some great techniques to stop worrying. Technique that I am going to put to use starting right now!

Day 3 – Missing Flights and Worry

Don't Worry missed flightWell, once again my husband gave me something to worry about! Lol. He missed his flight – well, he missed check in by 8 minutes. So he had to be put on a later flight. I still don’t understand why they couldn’t put him through considering he was there an hour before take off, but in any case, it triggered my worry factor.

Unfortunately, he was the only guy on the business trip that doesn’t have a company credit card, and not that it totally matters, but I was looking forward to him getting something from that company by the guys buying him lunch etc.

I was also worried that he was going to miss out on some important meetings in the day, even though I wasn’t sure of that fact.

Plus his boss is an asshole, and I was worried that he would make him feel bad about being late…this was supposed to be a fun trip, not another place to get pissed on.

So, I used some of the techniques from above, and guess what – I was happy for doing so! Here’s why….

Truth – First I faced the truth. No matter how much I worried, I was not going to change what would happen to him, how his boss would react, and everything else. The truth was that he missed his flight and he had to go through the process of getting on another flight.

Facing the truth of the situation allowed me to live in the moment instead of worry about what could happen. This was the biggest aspect in helping me to not worry – I didn’t even need to visualize anything because I was so grounded, in the moment, and able to let what will be, be.

Prayer – Of course I prayed that everything would work out well for him. I wanted him to be happy, because he was looking forward to this trip, so that is where I focused my prayers. This did help – I felt like I was actively trying to take action even though it was in the form of prayer. I can’t totally explain it, but I think you should understand that feeling. It makes you feel more powerful than just sitting around worrying.

It also allowed me to ‘let go and let god’ which gave me a knowing that this was meant to happen and he was likely right on course. (Turns out he really enjoyed his free time waiting for his flight and it gave him some much needed relaxation.)

Take Action – I did track his flights so I knew where he was at and what was happening. This allowed me to know when he got to Houston, and it gave me a greater sense that he was okay.

He wasn’t able to contact me, but because I knew when he got in, I assumed that he was okay. By the time he contacted me it was almost midnight, but I was not worried about him.

Turns out I really didn’t need to be worried. Thankfully his boss sent him a limo when he got in and he was taken to the hotel…not too shabby! His boss also took him out to eat once he arrived at the hotel (what?) and that I was very grateful for.

In the end, I could have worried all day about what would happen to him job wise, flight wise, and happiness wise, but what would that have done? Nothing! Instead, I used some techniques to fight my worry and both of us ended up enjoying our day.

Day 4 – Thinking About Victim Mentality

Thanks to one of the comments below from Harleena, I started thinking about people who live in a victim mentality – would they even be able to stop the worry and use the techniques above?

The victim mentality is when you view yourself as a victim because of what others do, say, or think – even if there is no truth behind it. For example, my mother in law thinks everyone is always out to get her and that life never works out her way. She lives in a victim mentality. 

I am no stranger to the victim mentality. When I was younger, I lived in the mentality as I dealt with jerk boyfriends, frustrating parents, friend issues, and even life issues. Then one day I said “what the hell am I doing?” I stopped thinking like a victim and I started taking action on my life, and it has really changed for the better since then. 

However, when I was living in a victim mentality, I can see how it would be hard to not worry. I mean how would I not worry about:

  • What my boyfriend was doing. (Because he treated me so poorly)
  • If I was going to get fired over the latest rumor that was going at work. (Because everyone hated me there.)
  • If my friend was going to live up to her promise. (Because she rarely ever did.)

See…I always had a victim statement to follow my worries, and in my head, that just solidified my reason for worrying. But really – if I would have taken the victim statement out of it, then it would have been a lot easier to use the above techniques and quit worrying about it. 

  • With my boyfriend I could have taken action and dumped their sorry asses.
  • With work, I could have faced the truth that I was not liked and taken action to find another job. 
  • With my friend I could have ‘let go and let god‘ because I had no control over what she did or did not do. 

How To Get Out Of Victim Mentality

I think the biggest way to get out of a victim mentality is to get out of a passive role and get into an active role. This means that instead of whining, complaining, and pondering over negative events in your life, take action to create a better outcome…one that you want to see.

Once you take action, even if you lose in life you feel more empowered because you try, you do something, and you don’t stay a victim. 

It is really a simple mind shift. Instead of thinking “think never work out” you simply think “it didn’t work out this time.”

Bottom line: If you want to let go of worry, then let go of a victim mentality. 

Day 5 – Plane Arrives Late And Cell Phone Dies

I’ve never had to pick up someone from the airport. I am always the one being picked up! And the people who pick me up normally park somewhere! I had no idea what to do or where to go, and let’s just say that my husband’s plane coming in late didn’t help.

His plane arrived about an hour later than expected, and for some unknown reason he chose not to charge his cell phone. (Must have been all the free drinks he got on FIRST-CLASS!)

Anywase, he managed to call me to say, “I’m here!” and then that was it. I didn’t know where to pick him up, where ‘here’ was, and whether or not he would be looking for me.

I drove through the pick up area at least 30 times. I had to keep moving because there was nowhere for me to park and people were constantly driving through which meant I had to keep moving. By about the 20th time I was about to lose my mind. I knew where he should be coming out of, as I had become quite familiar with what the pick up area looked like; however, I had no clue if HE knew where to go.

Worry set in that I would never find him. I pictured myself driving the loop over and over again until the morning and my husband sitting comfortable inside the airport waiting for his phone to change. Of course, this was unrealistic, but it was my thought nonetheless.

In any case, he eventually phoned me from payphone and we developed a really bad plan that took another half an hour to work out. (I have no idea why he kept walking in an area that I couldn’t see him in!)

In any case, no amount of breathing, praying, or taking action was enough to stop my worry about this never ending loop. The only thing that stopped it was actually seeing him and picking him up.

This led me to the conclusion that when you are in the process of a negative situation that causes worry, it can be hard to come out of it. Especially if you add frustration and anger to it!

Day 6 and 7 – This Too Shall Pass

This weekend I’ve been worrying about the amount of snow we have had and my husband’s long trip to work every day through really bad roads.

I’m telling you, I’ve been a huge worrier this week!

Today though I received a message from a guy who reminded me of one of my favorite sayings…”This too shall pass.” It is so simple, yet so profound.

For me, I have always applied this to negative situations, but I can see how it would work with worry.

In any case, I think that worry is feeling/thought that comes instantly without warning. It occurs because we start to ponder something negative and get anxious about it. It is unavoidable. However, by using some simple techniques we can squash or lessen the worry a bit, which makes for a better day! It is just a matter of using those techniques.

  • Taking action
  • Breathing
  • Praying
  • Being honest with yourself
  • Remembering that this too shall pass
  • Visualization
  • Not getting caught in the victim role

All of these techinques are necessary to squash worry.

If I had the ability to not worry completely, then yes – that would make my life a whole lot happier! But I don’t.

Worry comes when it wants, and until my mind-set instantly recognizes worry as useless, I will always have to use techniques to eliminate it.

I have never seen someone who doesn’t worry. I have worked in seniors homes, and unless dementia has set in, worry is a part of their life as well – even after all those years.

In fact, I think worry was more prominent in the older people I saw than it has ever been in my life.

  • Will my kids come and see me?
  • What if my medication doesn’t work?
  • I think I’m getting sick!
  • Am I going to get breakfast?
  • Is someone ever going to take care of me?

They even worried about the weather, which was ironic because most of them were not able to get outside.

Do you know anyone who doesn’t worry – ever?

So, instead of trying to force worry to stay away, try to learn the techniques that help you squash worry when it appears. To me, this seems to be the only answer to dealing with worry and moving through your day in a happy, worry-free zone.

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4 thoughts on “Don’t Worry – Be Happy! Getting Rid Of The Worry Bug”

  1. Hi Kari,

    I loved this post as you shared some great experiences with worry and what you did to overcome it. Your post got me thinking about the power of prayer and how powerful our faith in a higher force can be, to overcome worry and fear.

    I also love the song Don’t Worry, Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin!

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Hiten, thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      Yes, faith and prayer are a huge part of moving through our life with a brave face on. Faith really gives us a sense that it will be okay – which is needed a lot of days!

  2. You’re right when you say “There is no point to add their worry into your life.” It really makes no sense, logically or illogically. you can only invite the worst by thinking of the worst! Breathing, visuialization, prayer, truth, and action – wow, that’s a power punch! You spilled the secrets here – if you practice them all, worry will always be at a far distance from you.

    That’s a great lesson from the story of your expeirence, to teach us how to be happy! Thanks for sharing it, Kari 🙂

    1. It is just a matter of getting into the habit of practicing the techniques. I know many people who throw all common sense out the window when it comes to worry (my mother in law comes to mind) and wouldn’t even try to stop worrying…which makes me think that people with a victim mentality may not be able to stop worrying.

      Thanks for commenting Harleena!

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