Category Archives: Joy

Joys of Accepting and Mastering Discomfort (aka. Stress Management and Mastery)

Reflect back on your life. The further back you remember, the more you can find what stands out and matters most to you. Do your best, your happiest, your most cherished memories include relationships that had ups and downs? Do they include new experiences that could not be predicted, no matter how small or mundane? Do they include memories when you worked really hard and achieved something that seemed impossible and you felt so proud? Do they include those thrilling moments when you knew you had created something incredible?

Yes. The greatest joys and personal growth often come from moments in life when you work through the discomfort and get to the other side. There are times in life when we accept or are forced to accept situations that we do not choose, that throw us into the unpredictable and uncontrollable, that make us uncomfortable. We all have to get to the other side of that. Let me share with you how you can make that journey a bit easier.

Here are the steps to mastering the discomfort. Writing this down or talking about this with a close confidant or neutral person can be helpful.

  1. Identify your discomfort and figure out what is in your control and what is not in your control. What is causing you discomfort? Why? Describe and label it.
  2. Take what is NOT in your control & “put it away.” Imagine putting it into a storage container or a mental file cabinet or write it down and put it away. You can re-visit this later -if you want.
  3. Take what IS in your control & “work it.” Think about best and worst case scenarios.
  4. Consider worst case scenarios and figure out ahead of time everything you in your control that you can do to prevent the worst case scenario and make a plan to do that. Figure out how you would manage it if the worse case still came to be. Consider how that scenario could be the Universe (whatever higher power you believe in) delivering you a gift to teach you something important you need to learn, to benefit you or another being, or to propel your personal growth forward and upwards. Recognize you are resilient and accept that you are doing the best you can with what IS in your control.
  5. Now, spend time focusing on what you DO want to have happen, the outcome you ARE aiming for. Visualize, dream, brainstorm, strategize and make plans to go for the BEST case scenario. Define it, label it, “see it.” Regularly repeat this step- the more the better.

Mastery is when you are in control of the discomfort rather than the discomfort in control of you. Remember that everything happens for a reason and we may not know the reason right away. Appreciate that the discomforts in our life are there as messages to help us refocus. Accept that there will be those times of discomfort and then make a plan to master the discomfort and keep moving forward. You’ve got this.

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3 Questions for a More Joyful Life

assorted flowers in shallow focus lens

As a physician, I hear so many stories and witness so many ways to live life. Here is what I have observed and learned from those who live joyful lives. It’s so simple. We can all learn to live joyfully. At the start of each day, focus on being able to answer YES to these 3 questions:

  1. Did I genuinely laugh today?
  2. Did I experience love today?
  3. Do I have 3 “things” I am grateful for today? (for example: experiences, people, animals, privileges, surprises, gifts, blessings, etc.)

At the end of each day, answer the 3 questions. If you do not answer “yes” to one or more of these questions, reflect on your day and think about how to spend tomorrow, so that you can add another “yes” to the end of your day tomorrow.

person holding lighted sparklers

If you can genuinely answer “yes” to each of these, you were present for joy in your day and you had a perfect day. You may want to write a note to remind you about the details for each answer. Over time, you will have a personal journal of moments of joy in your life. How fun that will be to read.

The universal power of laughter, love and gratitude are immense…and contagious. They connect us to each other and to our universe. The more you practice this, the more joyful your life will be and it will spread to those around you.

***If you’d like to share your joy, add it to the comments below.***