My Number One Unique Life Lesson? Don't Worry

Don't Worry--Be Happy

It's easier said than done, of course, but looking back I have found that the things I worry about are almost never the things that happen. The real "bone crunchers " of life have always seemed to come out of left field. I've had my share like everyone else--but they have always been things that never crossed my mind to worry about,and they have always simply blindsided me.

I've done my share of tossing and turning and lying in bed at night obsessing and spinning out negative scenarios and I can tell you that it is totally unproductive and doesn't do a bit of good. In fact it can do a lot of harm both to your mind and your body.

Don't Look Back

Regret is a killer. Ditto guilt.I try not to look back with regret at any part of my past (should I have taken this or that job, could I have saved my marriage, Should I have married somebody else, had more/fewer children etc.) and I try not to worry about the future. I don't have a crystal ball. I just do the best I can, and I don't look back. My aim is to stay firmly grounded in the present moment.

When I can do that. which is far from 100% of the time, I have an almost indescribable sense of peace and happiness. I can intensely focus on and enjoy life's immediate gifts: a good cup of coffee, a laugh with friends ,or just the satisfaction of checking a task off my to do list. Staying in the moment makes each moment matter more. When the crunches hit I get through them by staying in the moment too. An old friend once said to me " take the action, let go of the result, and don't look back." It was good advice that has served me well.

The only thing I can really control is myself, so why worry? Worrying just makes me feel frightened angry and powerless so why do it--that's my life lesson and I pass it on for whatever it is worth.

How Worry Affects Your Body

Too much worry and anxiety over too long a time can take a terrible toll on your body. Your body doesn't distinguish between the stress of a long check out line at the supermarket and worry over the fact that you can't pay your bills. Your body's response to the fact that your doctor just found something wrong that could be serious and wants you to have tests, is the same as when you get caught in a traffic jam on the way home from work.

Your body's response to worry and stress was developed when we were still living in caves and needed all our wits about us to escape becoming dinner for a saber toothed tiger. Tense muscles, increased reflexes and a rise in heart rate and blood pressure all saved our ancestors lives, but can do our modern bodies a great deal of harm.

Things That Help


While I'd like to say that I glide through life, serenely living in the present moment at all times, I have to admit that it is just not true. i worry, fret, and get stressed out over family, money, health, work, neighbors and all manner of things just like most people. Here are a few specific tricks I've developed over the years to handle worry and I pass them on in the hope that they will prove helpful.

  • Distract yourself. It sounds too simple but it really works. When you are fretting over a major life problem or crisis, make yourself think about something else by doing something. Even a small, rote task like re-arranging your desk,washing your car, or scrubbing pots and pans will do it if you can really focus on the task. Throw yourself into it and you will not be thinking about anything else.
  • Talk to Someone You Trust It is said that a problem shared is a problem halved. I have found that to be true and if you try it you find it is so.
  • Get Enough Exercise and Sleep This is tough, especially when you are filled with anxiety. When I'm stressed out,I make sure I walk a couple of miles a day--tires me out and improves my mood. I try to wind down at night--no going online or doing work before bed--just a hot bath and a cup of herb tea and then lights out.



Don't Worry,Be Happy!

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Comments 43 comments

Paul Edmondson profile image

Paul Edmondson 9 years ago from Burlingame, CA

I agree that worrying is a waste of energy. However, some of the most successful people I know are chronic worriers. Some find a way for worrying to work for them I guess.

robie2 profile image

robie2 9 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

good point Paul-- I know worry can be a powerful fuel for action--but in my experience the successful worriers are more like problem solving with their worry and don't get super mired in self doubt or self recrimination which is what I wasted a lot of time doing....not to mention examining the road not taken in life and assuming it would have been much better than the path one followed-- what I like to call the "if I hadn't married your father I could have been a ballerina" syndrome:-)

Iðunn 9 years ago

paul, I'm the worst of both worldz - unsuccessful and a chronic worrier.

good hub, robie. :) sometimes I get led to action, sometimes I just sulk and it's useless. I know which one is the most useful, but it's a tough one to pull off sometimes.

rogue nestling profile image

rogue nestling 9 years ago

I've always said the 'what-if' game is never-ending so it's best to avoid it. Worrying weakens us, and leaves us even less able to deal with any crisis that may occur. It's best to look ahead positively, just forgive yourself and try not to repeat mistakes.

Iðunn 9 years ago

or make Drano haiku :hmm:

rogue nestling profile image

rogue nestling 9 years ago

Drano Haiku is never a mistake.

robie2 profile image

robie2 9 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

I prefer my drano on the rocks with a twist--but then I'm old fashioned LOL

Iðunn 9 years ago

hehe. I think I shall have to go with the Drano Margarita. We actually do have a little place semi-local that serves kamikazes made with blue caraca or however you spell that. they are blue and delicious and I admit I think of Drano. :p

LdsNana-AskMormon profile image

LdsNana-AskMormon 9 years ago from Southern California

A very personal Hub, I love that.

I know that when we make conscience decisions, for our good, that we are in the hands of God; and He will, regardless of the consequences of that choice, because we made it with goodness; He will ensure that - it has been good for our personal growth.

Interesting, that although I would never want to repeat the consequences for a few of my even 'good' (or so I thought) choices in my life... I 'still' would not go back and change a thing; because of what I have learned and how that new understanding has enriched my ability to live more 'alive'.

He, is a Master Teacher, but we need to recognize that He Is there for us...



In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 9 years ago from California


My husband and I are completely the opposite, he is "Mr. Worry", and I am "Don't Worry Be Happy" somehow we seem to balance each other out. I think a good balance of, worry to "the fuel of action" and, no-worry because you are "in the hands of God", is really the secret to success. I think it is a matter of balance for everyone. Thank you for you post.

robie2 profile image

robie2 9 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

I just logged on this evening and am sooooo pleased to see even more comments Wow--it feels very nice:-) This hub was an answer to the request "what is your greatest life lesson". I wrote it as a "trial balloon "the day I joined hubpages. It was a sort of practice hub to figure out how the site worked and I never expected so many comments. Thanks Nana for getting this thread out of the "drano";-) and putting it on a more spiritual level. And Doghouse--thanks for reminding me of the importance of balance and moderation.

robie2 profile image

robie2 9 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

oops--just hit the button again by mistake--sorry

Woody Marx profile image

Woody Marx 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Now if I could only learn NOT to worry that I am NOT worrying!

Then I could be happy! ;)

robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

always something eh?

Life's Good profile image

Life's Good 8 years ago from Australia

Yes, it is true that worrying is useless as it doesn't help us solve our problem, whatever it is. I focus on what I need to do, focus on what makes me happy and forget to worry when I am so engrossed with something I love and enjoy doing!

Of course, meeting new friends, exchanging ideas make us grow and develop more. Keep up the good work!

Iðunn 8 years ago

you changed avs again, and just when I was getting used to you as a blonde. :p

robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

I decided to be a cupid for valentine's day lol--thanks for noticing. Av change is a means of procrastinating while I write my next hub:-)

Iðunn 8 years ago

ah, a holiday avatar extravaganza. nice touch~

nothing wrong with procrastination, friend. I've often found that by procrastinating enough, often nothing needs to be done at all, or as someone else put it "never put off until tomorrow what you can avoid altogether". :D

Iðunn 8 years ago

Happy birthday, Robie~

once upon a time they say

a woman's soul was on it's way

to be a light, to glow and shine

and then one day to criss-cross mine.

I am glad you crossed my path, robie. You are a delight to the heart, a lovely woman all the way around and a talented writer. Happy birthday.

Also, Happy V-Day. :D

robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

What a lovely birthday message-- thank you soooooooooo much. I'm really touched that you remembered. There is a kindness and a sense of joy about you that is just so special...not to mention you are the best un-poetess I know:-) I'm glad our paths have crossed too.

I hope that you are having a romantic and wonderful Valentine's Day with someone very special--ain't life grand?

Iðunn 8 years ago

lol, my fellow doesn't do predictability or being around on a time line which is why so much of my poetry is about waiting, patience and hope.  him, I haven't talked to today (yet).

nonetheless, I'm having a lovely evening and I did think of you on your birthday and hoped you had a really lovely one. :)

my son came over and cleaned my house for V-day when I took a nap and wrote me a hand-made card, simply because I've been sick lately.  all the other kids checked in too.  my day was lovely. 

robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Well, I had a great day too--got taken out to lunch, my son and daughter-in-law sent me flowers, and a good friend brought me a beautiful birthday cake. The phone has been ringing all day and cards and emails - warms my cockles dontchaknow:-) I feel very blessed.

Iðunn 8 years ago

yay you! I was rather hoping your absence today assumed good tidings. I want in on the cake though. Please tell me it's chocolate. :drool:

robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

ooooooh yes--chocolate from a very fancy French bakery--butter creme chocolate frosting, creme anglaise between the layers--total chocolate yum yum---much better than Little Friskies:-) munch munch < sending you a virtual slice of birthday cake>

Iðunn 8 years ago

ok, now THAT just put the icing (so to speak) on my V Day cake. Just hearing about it rocked. I shall be after loving chocolate cake with you. :heart:

robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

munch munch, yum yum<see us munching together>:-)

rarestone1 profile image

rarestone1 8 years ago

Good advice there Robie. Worry does nothing but wear our energy levels down, and worry is driven by fear of what the future holds for us. It is imaginary fear! And it is just as easy not to worry as it easy to, if we can only train our minds to trust that 'all is well'.

robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

it's that trusting that all is well part that gets tricky--but training your mind is like training your muscles--it takes practice and when I can do it, it works. Thanks for reading and commenting rarestone

ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

I used to worry a lot too. I panic the most when I felt I have let my parents down in some thing or the other. So I constantly worry. I tell you it is NOT healthy. So I am proud to announce I am more relaxed now and am able to go with the "flow" of life. Yes, if there is one life lesson we need to learn's Don't Worry. And if you still worry, well, don't worry, there will come a day, you will be fed up with worrying. LOL Great hub robie. :)

franciaonline profile image

franciaonline 8 years ago from Philippines

You are right. Worrying doesn't help. I used to be an inveterate worrier and this only made me a high strung individual. Slowly I learned to let go and just trust the future.

A friend of mine who helped HIV-AIDS cases in Kenya die a happy death told me that when I die I couldn't even bring a piece of toothpick with me. Indeed, why should I keep worrying about many things?

Thanks for your hub. It affirms my own lessons.


robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Thank you so much Franciaonline for reading and commenting. Yes, there is something about remembering that we can't take it with us that puts everything in perspective--yes? Life is precious. Thanks for the reminder.

Buffoon profile image

Buffoon 6 years ago

Hello robie2 - Your intro to this hub grabbed me (and the huge smiley put a smile on my face!), you are so right that the things we tend to worry about hardly ever put us in a rut, and instead is the unexpected that throws us for a loop. That alone is a perfect reason not to worry too much. I usually don't, it's in my buffoon nature to smile and let go :)

robie2 profile image

robie2 6 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Love your comment, Buffoon. Thanks for stopping by :-)

CMHypno profile image

CMHypno 6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

I try and reflect on the fact that all the things I got so stressed out about over the years I got through and now really don't matter - like you said the big things always come out of nowhere and does it really matter if I forget to unload the dishwasher?

robie2 profile image

robie2 5 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Exactly CM--exactly-- and if only I could always take my own advice:-) thanks for stopping by and commenting

Akash Bansal 5 years ago

Your words added to my sense of peace and serenity. Thank you. True wisdom is ageless.

happyexplorer profile image

happyexplorer 5 years ago from Mostly USA, sometimes elsewhere

Get enough rest and sleep - Oh I agree! This can be the most difficult thing to do sometimes, but this is also the best thing to do to achieve a better disposition/mood. Great hub!

robie2 profile image

robie2 5 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

thanks for stopping by explorer and yes-- the whole world looks better after a good night's sleep

ExoticHippieQueen 5 years ago

Hi,i think worrying iz an inborn characteriztic. my z key iz gone zo i am in trouble.

robie2 profile image

robie2 5 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

ah, exotic hippie, I think there are some who would agree with you, but smiling still helps :-) Good luck with the z key and thanks for stopping by

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

I am blown away by the number of followers you have for only having written 59 hubs. Obviously you have a voice that speaks to a great many people. Excellent hub and it is so nice to see we share a philosophy of life that has served me well these past five years.

robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Hi Billybuc and I love that you landed on this Hub. It is the first one I ever wrote four years ago when I wandered into Hubpages quite by chance. Chance??? well, whatever.

I didn't know what I was doing at the time and was just trying to learn how to manipulate the capsules. Yes we do share a philosophy of life and I suspect we share it for the same reason and that we both have learned the hard way how to live one day at a time. Perhaps that is why I enjoy your writing and what you have to say so much. Thanks for stopping by and I am really pleased to know you.

AMAZING THINKER profile image

AMAZING THINKER 3 years ago from Home

Hi, robie, your hub is great!

I have a similar hub on how not to worry.

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