Sherry Brownrigg is a Senior Partner of Kennedy Brownrigg Group and specializes in Strategic Marketing and Communications

We live in interesting times. What is it about 2016? There seems to be more tragedy, more suffering, more of an unease about life.

A number of my friends and colleagues report that life is getting more difficult for a variety of reasons, whether it is the illness of a loved one or their own infirmities, a job or marriage that isn’t going well, even the difficulties that are plaguing our nation and our world today.

I’ve suffered my own major health issues over the past few years and while I must admit it wasn’t easy for me to avoid being discouraged and suffer well, I did find that four things helped me at least stay on the positive side most of the time:

  • Stay close to God. We often move away from God without knowing it, either out of anger (how could you let this happen to me?) or simply trying to fill a hole with other things that we forget is made just for God. It’s important when you are suffering to stay with your devotional life and even increase it. More prayer, more reading, more Sacraments, more Scripture. It’s the surest way to stay on center.
  • Fall back on what you know to be true. One of the fruits of being Catholic is that we have bedrock Truth to rely on – we can count on it not to change or be unsure. We know that God is not surprised by the events of the day. We know that He loves us so much that our ultimate good is what He wants, and we can count on Him even when the outcome isn’t what we’d really like.
  • Extend yourself to others. I have known two beautiful, holy women who died young of cancer, and each one of them offered their suffering for others. One of them said to me within two weeks of her death that she had never felt more alive and vibrant than when she could be helping others so powerfully. Even if your suffering is temporary, offering it for others will help you take the focus off of you and your troubles. You can also do small things such as offer a senior citizen a ride to church or even just give someone a genuine smile. Giving is a natural way to elevate your mood.
  • Be grateful. Let’s be honest. When people tell you to be grateful, it can sometimes be irritating. But, the truth is that you can’t be grateful and depressed at the same time. If you really want to stay or get back to being positive, gratitude for what God has given you will get you there.

We can’t avoid suffering, but we can get through it.

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