Thursday, March 27, 2014

What, Me Worry?


When I was a kid I loved Mad Magazine. Every month my brothers and I would wait excitedly for the new issue to hit the newsstand so we could dive headfirst into our favorite features like Spy vs. Spy, The Lighter Side of..., and the Mad Fold-In. The front of the magazine, of course, featured freckled-faced coverboy Alfred E. Neuman and his trademark catchphrase, "What, Me Worry?"

The expression aptly describes the care-free and clueless persona of someone without a care in the world who lets life's troubles just roll off his shoulders -- an attitude toward life mirrored years later by singer Bobby McFerrin in his 1988 chart topper Don't Worry, Be Happy, and by Pharrell in the more recent hit Happy, from the movie Despicable Me 2.

Last Thursday, March 20, was the International Day of Happiness. "Never heard of it," you say? Well, I hadn't, either, but it's a day of global celebration established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012, which, in its resolution establishing the day, states that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal, and encourages the happiness and the well-being of all peoples. Can't argue with that!

In a recent post on The Positivity Blog entitled, "How to Stop Worrying: 9 Simple Habits," Henrik Edberg offers helpful and practical guidance on how to decrease worry and reach a higher level of happiness and well-being by utilizing, among other strategies, the disciplines of mindfulness and good, basic self-care. It's worth checking out.

Many of us, I  guess, would like to worry less. I know I'd like to! But the reality is it's not always as easy as repeating a McFerrinism like, "Don't worry, be happy," or as simple as adopting a clueless and naive, ignorance-is-bliss attitude as a coping mechanism for maneuvering our way through the obstacles of life. Rather, it requires being honest regarding those things about which we worry -- naming them for what they are, and recognizing when it's realistically within our control to do something about them -- and when it's not.

Say more about that...

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