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Don’t worry, be happy

POSTED August 18, 2009 11:47 p.m.
On Sunday, my pastor preached that “God will provide.” He went on to say that since God has our needs covered, there is no reason to worry. I left church feeling good about the message and thinking, “You’re right Pastor Dave. There’s no need to worry, God has my back.”
But, as is often the case, this seemingly simple platitude became more complicated when put into practice. My new carefree attitude lasted through the walk out of the chapel and into my car. But by the time I reached home, I found myself already worrying about all the chores I needed to get done before Monday morning.
I know I am not alone in my struggle not to worry. Mothers around the world worry about their children. From infancy, where every germ is a possible threat, to adulthood, where choices in careers and spouses have life-long consequences, mothers (and fathers, too) are programmed to worry about their children.
As we enter into a new season, the opportunities for worrying increase exponentially. Students entering into a new school year worry about their teachers. Teachers worry about their new classes. Parents sending their kids to kindergarten and college both worry about sending their precious loved ones out into the (all too often) cruel world.
In today’s world there are things to worry about around every corner. Will I lose my job? Will I ever find a job? Will I lose my house? How can I afford health insurance? Will there be another terrorist attack on U.S. soil? Will Jon and Kate be able to reconcile?
See, I’ve already got you worrying about things you didn’t even know you should be concerned about! Leaving your worries to God (or any higher power) is much harder than it seems.
Being able to control worrying is something that will not only help one spiritually, but also physically and mentally. Worrying is a key indicator of stress. And stress is bad.
According to the American Psychological Association, one-third of Americans are living with extreme stress and nearly half of Americans (48 percent) believe that their stress has increased over the past five years. Stress is contributing to health problems, poor relationships and lost productivity at work, according to a 1997 national survey released by the APA.
“We know that stress is a fact of life and some stress can have a positive impact, however, the high stress levels that many Americans report experiencing can have long-term health consequences, ranging from fatigue to obesity and heart disease,” said psychologist Russ Newman, APA executive director for professional practice.
I think we can all agree that stress — and worry — is not something positive in our lives. I am going to make an effort to reduce the time I spend worrying every day. Hopefully, by New Year’s I won’t even remember that I was suppose to be worrying!
In the meantime, I will just chant the immortal words of Bobby McFerrin:
“In your life expect some trouble
But when you worry
You make it double
Don't worry, be happy......”
To contact Kristina Hacker, e-mail khacker@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2004.

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