Worried? Advice from Jack LaLanne

“What? Me worry?” If you’re a connoisseur of MAD magazine, you’ll remember that quote from innocent-looking Alfred E. Neuman, but it mainly applied to his attitude toward the consequences of his mischief.

Today we tend to worry about lots of things–finances, job, health, crime, family, the unknown–so the advice that Jack LaLanne gave on his TV show one day really hits the mark:

Now to put it into practice! How many worries that you have control over can you eliminate from your life? Think of how much better you’ll feel. Jack LaLanne was 96 years old when he died in 2011–most likely a man who tried not to worry.

Video Transcript:

We’ve been working a little too fast and I have something that I want to talk to you about that I’ve been wanting to talk to you about for quite a long time. Listen carefully. I have something on this paper here that causes so much unhappiness, causes so much sickness, so much disease. I have it right on this paper. It’s a five letter word. What do you think it is? Look here. Are you guilty of this? Worry. Excessive worry.

You know what worry can do? It causes nervous tension. It causes fear. It causes high blood pressure. It causes ulcers. It can affect the heart. It affects every cell in your entire being. Worry. You know, a little worry is normal, natural, but people are prone to do excessive worrying about things that they shouldn’t be worrying about. For many years, I was a chronic worrier. That’s right. Until I got smart.

I started using my head and figuring what this is all about. I came up with a little plan that I would like to have you try if you are a worrier and see if it doesn’t help you in your daily living. My little plan, I have it in two categories. Number one, the things that you can’t control, and number two, the things that you can control. Look it, there are so many people that worry about what?

Because your husband is not making more money, you worry about that. How can you control that? His boss gives him so much of something. He makes just so much money. Why worry about it? A lot of people worry about the weather. If it’s hot or cold or snowing or raining. Whatever the thing, you can’t control that. Can you? You have to live with it. Dismiss that worry out of your mind.

There’s another worry that people worry about too much. What people think about you. You’ve got to go through life, you’ve got to live with the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” What people think about you, you can’t control that, so don’t worry about it. But people do worry. Don’t worry about something you can’t control. Now, there’s another thing people worry about. Things that you can control.

There are so many of you students right now that are watching me and listening to me that worry that you’re getting prematurely old, or that you’re having too many aches and pains. Your energy and vitality is not there anymore. All of these things can be controlled. We know if you exercise everyday and we know if you eat properly, you get enough minerals and vitamins and protein and you do something about your food intake, that you are going to keep yourself young, and you’re going to get rid of those aches and pains, and you’re going to be beautiful and glamorous.

This is the truth, isn’t it? Don’t worry about these things. Do something about it. I want you to do this. When you wake up in the morning and before you go to bed at night, here is something that I want you to say a little silent prayer to the good lord above. Remember this. “God grant me serenity to accept things I cannot change. Courage to change things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

So, when old man worry rears his ugly head, figure out for this thing if you can do something about it or can’t you do anything about it. If you can do something about it, do something about it. If you can’t, then don’t worry about it. Therefore, you’ll have no worries. Try it. It works.

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