Don’t worry, be happy

Published 4:36 am Friday, July 28, 2017

I think people are way too stressed out these days, including me too often. Life just seems to be getting faster and faster and much more complicated. How can we be happy when we’re always worried? Cue the music. When Bobby McFerrin wrote “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” he was already a multiple Grammy winner. That means he was at the top of his field, doing what he loved, had enough money, and had a good reason to be happy.

Unfortunately, for many of us one or more of those components are not so neatly aligned. When I get too stressed, I like to laugh out loud. I think of something hilarious, and then let it fill me up with levity. How can a person not be happy when she is snorting with laughter? And if you do it in the company of somebody else, it’s catching. Be careful, you might just get trapped in a call-and-response type of deal.

Another thing I recommend for the tense among us is taking a walk outside. Walking and being out amidst nature is a great way to relax. Smell the roses and gardenias. Hear the songs of the birds. Feel the sun on your shoulders. Notice how your mind and body respond. Feel your muscles working, and take deep breaths along your way. I especially like to take walks after dark, when the world is relaxed, the stars are twinkling in the black sky, and the night creatures prowl.

I also feel less stressed when I spend time with the people I love. They make me happy! I love to see them grow, develop, and evolve. And I like to help keep them happy!

I think it’s helpful to eat right, too. What that means to me is fresh fruit and vegetables — organic when you can get them. I like nuts, too. I don’t eat red meat, but I understand that choice is not for everyone, not even my largely carnivore husband.

Be an independent thinker. Be tolerant of others. Be forgiving. Be grateful. Notice what you have to be grateful for, and say thank you for everything all day long.

Drumming, dancing, singing, or listening to a recording of cicadas or the sea crashing on the shore might help, too.

Do anything that relaxes you personally. You need to find that out for yourself. So pay attention, and take notice of your reactions to things. Then you can heed McFerrin’s advice to “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”

Marcelle Hanemann is a reporter for The Daily News. You can email her at or call her at 985-732-2565, ext. 301.