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Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe 

 April 17, 2021

By  Oak Norton

Don't worry, be happy

Have you ever heard the song: ‘Don’t worry, be happy’?

Maybe you’ve heard someone you know say: ‘Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe’.

Or perhaps you’ve read the words: ‘Do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself’.

For hundreds of years, people have been writing books and singing songs about worrying.

Why? Because at some point in our lives, we all learn what it feels like to worry.

Discuss: A time when you were worried about something. Try to think about:

  • What caused you to worry in the first place
  • How being worried affected your day at work or at school
  • Did the thing you were worrying about actually happen?

Now, go back to the start and re-read the three quotes out loud.

Discuss: What do you think each quote is trying to tell you about worrying?

The main message behind all of these quotes is that life is too precious to spend it worrying.

Although worrying is a natural part of life – and something we all experience at one time or another – the moral of the story is that worrying isn’t helpful. It doesn’t help to solve problems. It doesn’t make us feel good. And it’s definitely not a burden we can afford to carry.

Discuss: Can you think of one thing in your life that might be causing or contributing to your worries?

Discuss: As a family, try to come up with three different activities that might help to overcome your worries in the future.

If you can’t think of any ideas, here’s a couple to try:

1) Get a piece of paper and write down “I am worried about ______ because ______. The worst that could happen is _____.” Then write as much as you can about the worry and why you feel that way. Writing it out takes the worry from feeling too big to reducing it to paper where you can logically analyze it.

2) Meditation. Try a 10 minute exercise to clear your mind. Sit quietly and focus on your breathing. If a thought enters your mind, gently push it out as something to think of later and just breathe deeply. This will help tension melt away and build your ability to push worries out of your mind.

Oak Norton


Father of 5 children, husband to 1 amazingly patient woman, entrepreneur, and education advocate.

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