Articles and Features

Worry and Happiness

Week of February 22, 1998

On February 22, 1989, the song "Don't Worry, Be Happy" won a Grammy award for Song of the Year. At that time, I not only was oblivious to the Grammy Awards (still am), but I was unaware of the idea of not worrying and being happy. It's not that I hadn't heard the song (Who could have avoided it?), but that I thought it was silly foppery. The attitude of that song, actually angered me and I turned away from it in disgust.

I had kept worry with me like a friend. I was under the impression that it protected me. The more I worried, the more ideas I would come across that would eventually help me with my problem. In that sense, worry is a friend, but I kept it too close to my bosom. At times, I would come across an amazing idea that would be sure to fix the problem, but the solution would take more than a few days. During those few days, I still worried. My mind would still nag me about the problem, even though I was well on the way to fixing it. It is then that worry was not my friend.

I was still "cleaving unto" worry when I was in college. Taking finals and nearing graduation, I was consumed by the almost irrational worry about what would happen if I didn't graduate. I let this worry eat me from the inside until I was sick and lashing out at all of my loved ones. Even at graduation, the worry grabbed at my intestines.

It wasn't until a few years ago that I finally gained some grasp of the benefits and disadvantages of worry. I am finally able to worry about the things that need solutions, and use the energy of worry to work on the solutions once I get them. I'm finally able to turn this very negative emotion in a positive one: happiness.

Here are some quotes that helped me along the journey.

Introduction and quote compilation by Laura S. Moncur, Staff Writer.

"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia."
Charles Schultz
"If you can't sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there and worrying. It's the worry that gets you, not the loss of sleep."
Dale Carnegie
"This art of resting the mind and the power of dismissing from it all care and worry is probably one of the secrets of energy in our great men."
Captain J. A. Hadfield
"Don't worry about things that you have no control over, because you have no control over them. Don't worry about things that you have control over, because you have control over them."
Mickey Rivers
"You probably wouldn't worry about what people think of you if you could know how seldom they do."
Olin Miller
"When I can't handle events, I let them handle themselves."
Henry Ford
"The worst thing you can possibly do is worrying and thinking about what you could have done."
G. C. Lichtenberg
"There are people who are always anticipating trouble, and in this way they manage to enjoy many sorrows that never really happen to them."
Henry Wheeler Shaw
"Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all."
"When we hate our enemies, we are giving them power over us: power over our sleep, our appetites, our blood pressure, our health, and our happiness. Our enemies would dance with joy if only they knew how they were worrying us, lacerating us, and getting even with us! Our hate is not hurting them at all, but our hate is turning our own days and nights into a hellish turmoil."
Dale Carnegie
"Worry a little bit every day and in a lifetime you will lose a couple of years. If something is wrong, fix it if you can. But train yourself not to worry. Worry never fixes anything."
Mary Hemingway
Featured Books
The following books and tapes are available through
  • Life 101 Hardcover by Peter McWilliams - A wonderfully positive book with lots of quotations. This book will not only tell you how to harness negative emotions like fear and worry, but tell you a myriad of other ways to be happy.
  • Life 101 Quote Book Paperback by Peter McWilliams - If you are just interested in the quotes from Life 101 (and several other books by Mr. McWilliams), this is the book for you. None of the positive discourses here, just the quotes he uses to back them up.
  • How to Stop Worrying and Start Living Paperback by Dale Carnegie - I haven't read this book, but many of the quotes I've found are from Dale Carnegie. The site has tons of reviews of this book, and none seem displeased. Plus, with a title like that, the book must be good (how's that for shallow?).
  • Meditations for People Who (May) Worry Too Much Paperback by Anne Wilson Schaef (Editor), Cheryl Woodruff (Editor) - If meditation helps you, this book might just do the trick. Instead of imagining your most comfortable place, these meditations get to the root of why you're not comfortable.
For more information about Worry and Happiness, try these links:
  • The Motivational Quotes of the Day - This page is generated daily by choosing four quotes from my collection of over 1000 quotations (it's almost 1500 quotes now). If you're a regular visitor, you probably already know about this page, but I just can't resist giving myself a plug.
  • The Bobby McFerrin Page - The official page for Bobby McFerrin (of "Don't Worry, Be Happy" fame). If you liked the song (I still don't, but no matter), here is the page where you can find out what the artist is still doing.
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