Don't Worry - and Be Happy!

Why and How to Stop Worrying to Be Happier

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I really like the quote in the box here. Because really, worry - especially excessive worry – destroys happiness. It’s truly useless. It’s as simple as that.

“Worry never changes the course of tomorrow; it just saps the joy out of today”
- Leo Buscaglia

And yet it’s so prevalent - even though we all know that by not worrying, we can get closer to a state of peace-of-mind, which is usually one component of happiness. 

And worry can be eliminated – or at least minimized.

I can honestly say that I don’t worry very much at all. And it’s not because I have no problems.  I have plenty of challenges, problems, stresses, and difficulties in my life, just like everyone else. But I am nearly free from worry mostly because of the 3 steps I’ll discuss below.

You can also find out how to stop worrying - and be much happier - by getting a free autographed copy of my best-selling book - BeHappy! - sent to your home, along with two other free ebooks for immediate download, just by clicking on the "Order Free Now" button here
(just pay shipping).

Why We Worry...

Do you worry a lot? Do you lie awake at night worrying about how you're going to pay the bills, or about losing your job or house because of the economy? Do you live in fear because you are worried about the potential for terrorism in our country or the high crime rate in your city? Or are you worried that you might contract some disease or health-related problem or that your children might get injured or start using drugs?

All this is understandable - especially if you watch the news on a regular basis, which can cause anyone to "worry" and feel "depressed" (click on that “news” link to take advantage of another issue related to The News to help increase your happiness).

And by the way, I am not saying here that you should just be oblivious to the "threats" and "problems" we all face in life. I'm also not saying you shouldn't care about what bad things might happen. And none of this means you shouldn't be doing things to address any potential setbacks or negative circumstances in your life.

No, that is NOT the point here. What I AM saying, though, is that worrying about what might or could happen is not an effective strategy. There are many ways to deal with adversity, problems, and difficult circumstances. Worrying is not one of them.  In fact, by worrying, we can make our circumstances and problems worse since it can cause an inability to best deal with our problems effectively.

Eliminating Worry...

So, if worry is prevalent in your life, here’s a 3-step process to reduce – or even eliminate – worry and fear from your life:

Step One...A Mental Commitment

The first thing to do is to realize – deep in your mind, your heart, and your soul – that “worry never robs tomorrow of it’s sorry, it just saps the joy out of today” as stated in the quote at the beginning. In other words, worrying about something doesn’t change the outcome – it just makes you miserable in the process of whatever outcome is going to occur. If anything, worry can actually contribute to a more negative outcome, simply because (a) you’re focused on the negative situation (i.e., "you get what you think about" and the whole Law of Attraction concept) and (b) you are less productive in dealing with whatever it is you’re worrying about when you are in an anxious, “worried”, or, worse yet, “paralyzed" state of mind.

Here's a worrying person:

Here's someone who does not worry:

See the difference? (yes, I'm exaggerating a bit to make a point) ... but really, which would you rather be?

So, simply put, “don’t worry - BeHappy!

I know - I know. You’re probably thinking ... “Yeah right - that’s easier said than done. I can’t just ‘turn off’ worry at will ... I have some serious issues facing me right now."

And I can understand that. It isn’t easy out there - especially these days, with the complexity of life and the media bombardment of all the bad stuff going on around us.

It takes focus and practice ... yes, practice ... to eliminate worry from your life.

And it takes a conscious effort.

Not worrying must become a “habit” – just like worrying has become a habit. And that’s what it is – a bad habit. And bad habits can be broken. It takes a conscious effort – and some time - to eliminate a bad habit and replace it with a good one. But just like quitting smoking or maintaining an ideal body weight, nothing worth doing is easy.

For Step One, though, just a mental commitment to understand – psychologically and subconsciously – that worry never accomplishes anything positive is an important start. And even if you don’t believe – or even want to believe – that it’s possible to just stop worrying about things, take Step One now; because once you make that mental commitment, Steps Two and Three will get you there.

And really - think about all the things you’ve worried about that have never come to pass. How much unnecessary grief have you caused yourself by worrying about something that never even happened? What a waste of time – and happiness. Even more impactful, how many things have you worried about that actually did come to pass? You can probably not think of as many things (which is the first point). The more important point is this - for those “bad” things that did happen, how much did worrying about it change anything? I can almost guarantee you the answer is ZERO! In fact, as mentioned before, worrying about it may have even contributed a bit to the negative outcome happening.

So, think about this – right now. Spend a few minutes to ponder your worry “habit”. Take the time to consider what you believe you are achieving by worrying about things. Reflect on why you worry. Consider how much better your life would be if you didn’t worry. And, think about what it is you worry about most, which takes us to ...


Step Two...Putting It Out on the Table

What are the 3 things you tend to worry most about on a regular basis? Write them down. Is it money? Is it your health? Is it related to your job? Is it your children? Is it your relationship? Everyone is different. And we all have challenges and problems to address in our lives. Some issues are more serious than others – but everyone has to deal with adversity and difficulty (see Handling Adversity here on behappy101.com for much more on the topic of handling adversity in your life to BeHappy!

Here’s a simple, trivial example of what I mean when I say that worrying is useless and can hinder happiness: My wife, kids and I spend a lot of time on our boat in Newport Beach California. On weekends, I love to go cruising around Newport Harbor in our dinghy. It’s great fun. Normally, when we do this, we would take our dog with us. He loved it, too.  One day, though, when we were going on the dinghy for the day, we couldn’t take him because we were also going to ride bikes to a restaurant with some friends for lunch (we hadn't taught him to ride a bike yet). Well, the whole day my wife worried that Sunny (our dog) was going to be too hot on the boat. She was concerned and anxious all day about it. She couldn’t even enjoy the day because she was so worried about him. When we got back to the boat that afternoon, she walked in and said, “Oh, it’s not as hot as I thought it would be on the boat”. But it was too late. She had worried all day – and basically ruined her day – because of something that never happened (and that wouldn't have changed anything by worrying).  Remember, "worry never changes the course of tomorrow, it just saps the joy out of today".

Just writing down the main things you worry about on a regular basis in your life helps put them “out on the table” for you to address. For me, just the simple act of getting them out there helps reduce their impact. And it’s a very simple, quick thing to do. It just takes a couple of minutes. And for many people, it doesn’t take much thought – since you’re already thinking about these things most of the time anyway. And once you’ve made this all a “good” habit – you won’t even have to write it down anymore. I just do all this in my head.

For now, though, write! Then, once you’ve written down the three things you worry about most, it’s time to take...


Step Three...Visualization and Action

With the list you’ve made – it’s time to create a plan to eliminate each of these “worries” for yourself. This can be a bit tougher and take a little longer.

Here’s how to do it...

It basically involved two things: (A) visualization of the best-, most likely-, and worst-case outcomes and (B) developing some action steps to either avoid the worst-case outcome – or, if the worst-case outcome were to occur, be prepared for it.

For example, let’s say one of your frequent worries relates to losing your job (i.e., your income). Here’s what you would do:

A. Visualization of the best-, most likely-, and worst-case outcomes:

While you really don’t know what ultimately will be the best and worst case scenarios for you (click here for a quick – but important - “lesson” about this with a story called “We’ll See”), you are probably thinking something like:

  • Best-case: You don’t lose your job
  • Most likely-case: You don’t lose your job
  • Worst-case: You lose your job

It’s important to visualize these different scenarios. By visualizing them, you can start to feel their affect on your life.

B. Developing some action steps to either avoid the worst-case outcome – or, if the worst-case outcome were to occur, be prepared for it:

Now, to create an action plan to avoid the worst-case scenario, or be prepared for any possible negative situations – staying with the example of worrying about the loss of your income, make sure to read the article Multiple Streams of Income.

A good example of this "we'll see" philosophy is from a story I heard recently where several people who had just lost their jobs were interviewed. Some of these newly unemployed people were very stressed, worrying about making ends meet and how bad the job market is right now. Some of them, however, were actually happy about the situation and seemed to have no stress at all – even though they also didn’t know how they were going to pay their bills. People in this latter group, though, took being laid off as an opportunity to do something they had always wanted to do and had never done because they were "stuck" in their jobs. They didn't worry but rather were excited about the potential to start their own business or change their careers entirely.

Creating multiple streams of income (a smart strategy regardless of your job security situation), eliminating fear and creating a plan to address your finances – regardless of the economy - are powerful components to removing worry from your life (if financial issues create worry for you).

If you have created – or are creating – multiple streams of income, for example, you will be in a much better position to address any temporary, or even permanent, disruptions in one or two of those income streams. Obviously, this would reduce your worry significantly.

Secondly, write down your potential worst case financial situation. Usually, it’s not quite as bad as the worry you place on it. Every challenge, problem, or adversity in life needs to be put into perspective. Relate it to some of the problems other people you know might be having. Consider the You Don't Have it So Bad Exercise. Then, do something to minimize its impact on your emotions - and your reality. Reduce your expenses right now, just in case.

And this technique can apply to anything you might worry about. Whether it’s a financial situation like the example here, a health worry, or a relationship issue – putting the situation into perspective and being prepared helps reduce worry, create peace-of-mind, and reduce the chances of whatever you're worrying about ever happening.

With a health worry, for example, just living today as if you only had a month to live can help you prepare mentally for the "worst-case scenario" related to your health. Also, being proactive to prevent health issues can reduce worry - both because you are focused on the positive aspects of health rather than the negatives and because you are doing something to reduce the chances of getting ill or developing a major, life-threatening disease. Eating right, exercising regularly, not smoking, maintaining your ideal body weight, and perhaps taking nutritional supplements like the potent anti-oxidant, OPC-3 and the best multivitamins on the market are all ways to be healthier (and, therefore, reduce your need to worry about health).

I know there is a lot here to consider and act upon. So, to summarize all this, here are the 3 steps to change your “worry habit” and eliminate worry from your life:

  1. Realize – at the deepest level – that worry accomplishes nothing and can destroy happiness everyday
  2. Know what you worry about most by writing down the top three things to “get it out on the table”
  3. Create an action plan to prepare yourself for your “worst-case scenario”

And like I said before, everyone is different - with different problems and difficulties. So, you'll have to tailor the steps provided here to your own situation.

Remember, it takes a mental commitment, some effort, and some time to break the worry habit.

So try this 3-step process. It really works if you do it. And it’s so worth it. 

There are several great books about eliminating this worry habit in the left margin above. Also, use some of the other tools, tips, and techniques found here at behappy101.com (like stress-reduction strategies and other happiness-builders) to be able to create different “representations” for the worst-case scenario (like some of those people in the “laid off” example were able to do).

Then, don’t worry and...

BeHappy! 

my friends


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