Bobby McFerrin’s song “Don’t worry…be happy” was a big hit. Don’t you wish it was that easy? At one time or another, we’ve all worried about something – health, finances, kids, a broken nail…something. Don’t laugh about the broken nail. Long before fake nails were so readily available, I met a hand model who had just broken a nail before a photo shoot and worried she would lose the well-paying job.
I come from a long line of ‘professional worriers’. Parents, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles – we worried about everything – children, the neighbors, money, the weather, potholes, cracks in the pavement, the roof, how we looked…no subject was off limits. We even made up a name for it – ‘worget’, loosely translated meaning a worry target.
For years I fooled myself into believing that worrying was a good thing. If my family was my ‘worget’, that must mean that I’m a loving and caring person. If something is wrong, the more I worry about it the more likely I’ll come up with a solution making me a problem solver. Worrying can even promote intelligence. How? When I worry constantly about something, I read up on it therefore increasing my brain width. Okay, that may be pushing it.
Worrying has no age, nationality, gender or racial boundaries. Everyone worries. Recently my husband Jeff and I had the opportunity to go to Arizona and work on an Apache Indian reservation. What an experience! We learned so much about their culture, how to make ash bread and how to ‘basket’ worries. In the Apache culture, as in many Native American cultures, you are not allowed to bring your worries into another person’s household. It was deemed improper to bring negativity to the home of someone else. Because of this belief, many of the homes hang a little “worry basket” outside. Before you set foot in the home, you place your worries to rest in that worry basket. Today, a worry basket hangs proudly next to my front door. My only request of our guests is that, on the way out, please take your worries with you otherwise that’s more for me to worry about.
There are a number of other ‘tools’ to help let go of worry, reduce anxiety and solve the seemingly insoluble problem. These include a God Box, the Higher Self Box and the Angel Box. Before going to bed, you write down your ‘worget’, place it in whichever box you’re using and request that God or a higher intelligence take care of it. A good night’s sleep hopefully follows.
If you’re a worrier and your ‘worgets’ are out of control, take the advice of an Irish proverb found on a tombstone.
“In life, there are only two things to worry about, either you are well or you are sick.
If you are well, there is nothing to worry about.
But if you are sick, there are only two things to worry about, either you will get well or you will die.
If you get well, there is nothing to worry about.
But if you die, there are only two things to worry about, either you will go to heaven or hell.
If you go to heaven, there is nothing to worry about.
And if you go to hell, you’ll be so busy shaking hands with all your friends, you won’t have time to worry!” Problem solved!