(Published in the Spiritually Speaking column of The Daily Guardian on September 14, 2020)
‘Here’s a little song I wrote. You might want to sing it note for note. Don’t worry.. be happy!’
— This is the opening line of the famous song by Bobby McFerrin back in the 1980s called ‘Don’t worry, be happy.’
Now, more than ever, people all over the world should listen to this song and heed the gentle yet most powerful advice ever – DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY!
Life is a study in uncertainty. Each morning is a new mystery. We have no idea whatsoever how things will go. Today could be just another day or it could be the last day of ours on this planet. Does it matter really? The only thing that truly matters is that we are alive at this moment.
Worrying is an exercise in futility. Though it is one of the most common traits in human beings. The thing about worrying is that it is totally useless. If you have the power to change or prevent something, then do it. If you don’t have the power to change or prevent something, worrying about it will make no difference whatsoever.
Does this mean that we should be totally passive and fatalistic? Not at all. Just because worrying solves nothing doesn’t mean that we just sit there and do nothing. Do your best to create a situation that you want and let nature do the rest. Have faith in the Divine and leave the fruits of your action in the hands of the Divine.
One of the ways to stop worrying is to look at your situation in life and be thankful. People often complain about things that they perceive to lack. Not enough love. Not enough money. Not enough of this or that. Instead people should sit back and count their blessings. Not metaphorically. Actually sit down and make a list of all the things in life that you have. Be thankful for what and who you have in your life.
Your health, your family, your job or career, your education, your ideas, your friends, your life itself. Surely everyone has something to be thankful for. Focus on these things and be thankful. Doing this, will create a ripple of positive energy that flows outwards from you. In time, when you realize how much you have to be thankful, you will start to feel positive and happy and this will spread to those around you.
Do not ever worry about things. If you have power over them, correct them and if you have no power over them, there is no point in worrying. But remember this, prayer and faith in God can and does change things many times.
The times we live in are stressful indeed, but when stress begins to control us, it can lead to fatal consequences. We have all heard about the things that are bad for us – smoking, drinking, obesity, etc. but the real killer is stress. The bad news is that we live in a world full of stress. But the good news is that stress can be managed. When we realise this, we can take control of our lives and overcome the stress. How?
Happiness is a hidden gem that often remains hidden. But yet, the irony is that it can be achieved rather easily if we change our approach and attitude towards life.
There are many ways that we can make adjustments in our lives – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually that can lead to us being happy.
As you read this article, you are breathing. Feel the air coming through your nostrils, feel it going into your lungs and be aware of it as it is exhaled. Simply focusing on your breathing is relaxing and regularly doing this is perhaps the easiest form of meditation. It reduces stress and will make you more centred in your thoughts.
Exercising is also a great way to reduce stress and make you happy. One can start with taking a daily walk for a minimum of 30 minutes. While you are doing this, try to think of something pleasant or funny. Try not to think about work or other stresses while walking. Going to a gym and exercising is also great and remember that you can start with lighter exercises. The feeling you get after exercising is the reward itself. Generally, one feels very relaxed and happier after a workout.
There is a whole world of information and knowledge that is waiting to be discovered. Read something online or watch some interesting videos on YouTube. Watch something funny on TV. Humour is a great stress reliever and puts things into perspective. Life is not meant to be always serious and humour is a great way to remind yourself about the balance needed in life.
Reading transports your mind into another world of sorts. Imagination and wonder are great ways to be happy and reduce stress.
Writing is also a great way to relieve stress. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to write an article or a book (although that would be great) even just jotting down your thoughts in a notebook or writing a diary is a great way to let out vented up stress and energy and express yourself. You never know what comes out of you when you write. Every bestseller began with a single word.
In our daily relationships, there are good days and bad days. Sometimes we have fights, arguments, and disagreements with people whom we love. Sometimes we suffer from breakups, separation or divorce. These situations can lead to major emotional trauma and stress.
But the good news is – don’t worry, be happy! Believe it or not, you are the only one person responsible for your own happiness. We tend to become emotionally dependent on others. But we must love ourselves too. This is not a selfish kind of love. It is not saying that we don’t love others, but it is saying that we love ourselves just as we love others.
Watching a nice movie, play or reading a good book can also lead to an emotional charge that will not only entertain you, but also teach you some new perspective about life. It will help you to get rid of emotional stress.
We are spiritual beings currently on planet earth to learn, explore and grow. The sooner we realise this, the sooner happiness will come.
Prayer can be as simple as just talking to God the way you talk to yourself. Be thankful when you pray but don’t be shy. Express your desires to God and if it is something good for you, the process will begin that will cause that to manifest.
Chanting the name of God or a mantra is also a way to charge you spiritually. An instant blessing is received by a person who takes God’s name with reverence.
Meditating increases our awareness and leads to a state of bliss that relaxes us and decreases stress and also gives us a glimpse into a larger peaceful world of energy and love. There is a field of spiritual energy that surrounds us and binds us. Meditation helps us gain access to this field.
Soon we realise that we are on a spiritual journey and the only thing we take with us back to our spiritual home after we leave our bodies is our thoughts, feelings and karma. In the end, all is good.
So once again, don’t worry, be happy!