Five Ways to Cultivate Joy in Hardships, by  Dr. Gregory Popcak

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By Dr. Gregory Popcak, Catholic Exchange, January 13, 2020

Dr. Gregory Popcak is the Executive Director of the Pastoral Solutions Institute, an organization dedicated to helping Catholics find faith-filled solutions to tough marriage, family, and personal problems.

Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thess 5:16-18).

Dr. Gregory PopcakThat’s a tall order St Paul lays on us. It can be hard to remain joyful even when times are good, but it’s especially challenging when life becomes complicated or downright difficult. The first thing to remember is that while joy and happiness are related, they aren’t the same thing. Happiness is more fleeting and dependent upon our environment, while joy is a state of being that allows us to hold on to a sense of rightness, connectedness and peace even through difficult times.

Here are a few tips to help you cultivate joy in challenging times.

1. Don’t Pretend

Many believe that being joyful means pretending that things are better than they are, but true joy can only flourish in a spirit of authenticity. It’s ok to admit you have problems. Dealing with problems joyfully means reminding yourself of all the times you’ve made it through difficulties before, all the times God has delivered you from previous challenges, and then making a plan—in graceful confidence—to overcome the challenges you are facing in the here and now. To hold on to joy through trials, praise God for his past providence and make a plan for the future.

2. Pray

Research consistently shows that prayer improves well-being. The more we pray the more resilient we are and the more peaceful we will be.  Cultivating an active prayer life is key to maintaining the attitudes (and grace) that makes joy possible.  ….

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