When life is particularly difficult, I have trained myself to notice where my mind is in that moment. If I am in fear, then I know that my mind has traveled somewhere other than the present moment. I am thinking about all the what ifs, and this brings on a huge amount of suffering for me. What I have come to know is that suffering is optional.
Suffering is one of those torturous acts that leaves us feeling helpless and hopeless. It brings us to a place where there are no productive options. We stand on shaky ground when our actions are driven in the moment by pain from things that happened a long time ago, or fears of what may happen in the future.
Just think of it: if you were making a business decision, for example collecting facts on your prospective purchase of a company, and all the broker could come up with was an emotional mix of sketchy information about past performance and unfounded claims about the future of this company, would you move ahead to buy it? Of course not! And yet when our minds deliver us random negative flashbacks to the past and unfounded predictions about the future, too often we trust the information and subscribe to the pain.
Coming in to the present moment is a sure-fire way to remedy suffering. Adopting a life practice that aids you in understanding your inner landscape helps you pay attention. So much of the pain that we adopt in life CAN be changed, as long as we stay present in the moment. Bring your attention back to the reality of the here and now. Notice what you are feeling, and then actively participate in getting into a mindset of peace in that moment.
Access the present moment through the breath, mantra, focused intention or interactions with nature. If there are any other techniques that call to you, use them. With practice, you will arrive in a place that nurtures you in difficulty. Life is made up of change. The lessons we resist have the potential to make life very hard. Why not check out another way of being and ride the wave of the flow instead? Remember: suffering is optional.