Are You Suffering Through Life? 3 ways to reduce suffering and regain joy

MMB_Blog_4-_water&womanOkay, I admit it. The daily news cycle is getting me down. So much negativity, ill-will, and accusation in our political process. Hateful rhetoric and false facts  consume the headlines. There are days when I feel drained. How about you?

I should clarify that I’m not a huge television consumer (this from a one-time television news journalist) and as of recently, I’m hesitant to turn on the TV at all. It’s not, however, just the television that’s a culprit. The internet, social media — you name it — all have a part to play in what I term as, social suffering.

Folks, we’re suffering together — no matter what side of the political or social fence you stand on. As a country, we’re showing signs of depletion, and our kids — the future generation of this nation — have a front row seat to the show. As a mother, I refuse to be pulled in to these rough waters and dragged under, emotionally and spiritually. I refuse to let my kids be pulled under, as well. I refuse to suffer.

So, the question is: Are you suffering through your life? If so, what’s causing you to suffer?

MMB_Blog_40_girl by treeTruth is, you have the power to identify what is the root cause of your suffering, and what is blocking your joy. You also have the power to reduce the blockers, even eliminate them. You really do!

These blockers may be small, or they may be large. Either way, you hold the key to managing how they impact your overall sense of joy and fulfillment in your life.

I call these blockers, energy drainers, and they have two main categories:

  • Small Irritations, or Life’s Bugs: the little things in life that we handle, brush aside, or just deal with. These irritants could be a cluttered closet, a crowded garage, or a messy desk. Things we tolerate until we grow so annoyed that we take action.
  • Big Discontent, or Life’s Sufferings: the issues that crowd our thoughts and diminish the quality of our life. Issues like weight gain, an ailing parent, an upset spouse, or a disagreeable boss.

Now, although bugs and sufferings are a part of life — no one is exempt — we don’t have to stand passive while facing them. Identifying these energy drainers is key. Take a moment and list as many as you can and then count the cost to you. The cost could fall in the area of disappointments, or even a loss of well-being and vitality. Ask yourself if the cost you’re paying is worth the irritation, or worth the suffering. Let me be perfectly frank, if you want balance in your life and a sense of joy, you cannot afford to give up pieces of yourself in this way. You need to make space for more nurturing activities. And, I have ideas to turn your energy drainers into energy gainers!

  • Take your list of energy drainers and create a plan for eliminating each one, no matter how big or how small. This might mean spending a Saturday emptying out your garage, or clearing your schedule in order to spend the day with your spouse. Decide what you can do yourself, or look at what items might need delegating.
  • Neutralize these energy drainers and take the emotional charge out of the situation. For example, if you’re feeling annoyed by negative news — turn off the television, close the laptop. Go for a hike, a run, make a cup of tea, play with the dogs. Don’t allow someone else’s vitriolic dialogue to drain your energy, or dampen your joy.
  • Finally, I practice something called The Gratitude Grab. Sometimes, a situation is unchangeable, even overwhelming. I lost both my parents earlier this year, and so I know. In these moments, I close my eyes and grab onto gratitude. I say one thing that I’m grateful for in my life, and I celebrate it. Something like, “I acknowledge that losing my parents has caused me unthinkable pain, but I choose to stand in gratitude for the years that I had with them, and for the moments I was able to serve them in their final hours.”

water-1245677_960_720The Gratitude Grab gets us outside of our own head and skin, and expands our awareness — our sense of belonging to something bigger than ourselves. I find that The Gratitude Grab always brings me closer to God. It’s a powerful energy gainer!

May I urge you to get crystal clear about the real costs of energy drainers? Then, can I encourage you to rid them from your life? Set a date on your calendar and stick to it. Become a terminator of the things you’ve been tolerating that do not allow for a joyful life. Make the shift, make a change. You can choose. You weren’t born to suffer, you were born to shine. Break free!

Onward to joy,




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