The Third Leader: Be happy

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The Independent Online

Worrying news: Britons are worried. So worried that we're getting worry breakdowns. The latest looks at health worries, and shows that we worry most about not doing enough exercise, and when we're not worrying about that, we mostly worry about not getting enough sleep.

The results raise some worrying questions: 1. Why don't we stop worrying and do some exercise? 2. Is it the worrying that's keeping us awake? 3. What can we do to stop worrying?

Many find music helpful, and so, for advice and consolation, I have been trawling the works of those most pervasive of contemporary philosophers, the songwriters. This, for example, is from The All American Rejects: "Why worry? It's killing me. Forget about it." And this is Ruben Studdard, the American Idol winner: "Ain't no need to be worrying what the night is gonna bring because it will be all over in the morning."

Older readers might prefer Dire Straits: "Why worry, there should be laughter after pain, there should be sunshine after rain." Then there is Bobby McFerrin's anthem, "Don't Worry, Be Happy": "In every life we have some trouble, when you worry you make it double." (Mr McFerrin offers to make worriers happy if they call him, but, sadly, doesn't provide a contact number.)

The nonpareil, though, of course, would be Monty Python's "Always Look On The Bright Side of Life", which also confirms my view that we were much happier when we used to whistle. Come on, let's all join in. How does it go ... ah, yes, that's right: "For life is quite absurd, and death's the final word."

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