Here's a challenge that can improve your overall well-being. It has helped me the past few months, so perhaps it could help you too.
Anytime you feel any discomfort, start to catch yourself trying to fix something outside.
You see, we're so programmed to immediately turn outward to fix a problem, when in reality, the real problem is in ourselves.
I've learned that trying to fix an inner problem by changing the outside world is a never-ending game. It's the reason why we think life is a struggle. It's why we wake up in the morning and don't want to get out of bed. We feel that we're at constant odds with life, because we are. But we are because we choose to be, albeit unconsciously.
I've decided I don't want to live like this.
I've learned that life doesn't have to be a constant struggle if we just dedicate our lives to one simple statement.
That statement is: I can handle it.
Handle what? Handle everything. Handle whatever life throws at me. Handle every moment as it comes.
To handle something means to not get disturbed by it. And when we're not disturbed by it, we can actually do what the situation calls for, not what we need to do to feel better.
Learning to be okay with reality is a winning formula.
You can't lose when you're at peace with everything that happens around you. Ultimately, that's what we want anyway! But we're fooling ourselves by trying to get peace through external means.
If we instead learn to be okay with anything, we will get what we ultimately always wanted.
So, the exercise is simple.
Every single time you sense your inner energy make an uncomfortable shift - whether it's a feeling of jealousy, anger, sadness, guilt, whatever - notice how your mind will immediately tell you something outside needs to change.
Watch that tendency.
Then combat your mind's solution by saying, "no, whatever happens will happen, that's none of my business. My business is whether or not I can handle what happens. That's in my control. Not what happens out there."
By the way, being okay with anything does not necessarily mean we like it. It doesn't mean it's what we want. Nor does it mean that it's morally okay. It just means that whatever's happening is happening, and that we'll be able to handle it because it won't cause us inner disturbance, which was the original problem we were trying to fix.
When we take this perspective, life gets a little lighter. We realize we no longer have to fight to uphold our mental structures of how everybody around us needs to behave.
For example, let's say you're in a relationship and you're the type to experience jealousy. The next time you catch yourself thinking about your partner connecting with someone else in such a way that makes you uncomfortable, watch your mind try to pull them away.
Watch what the voice in your head tells you must happen in order for you to be okay. Just notice the extremes it goes to because you're not okay. Does it tell you to make the other person go away? Does it tell you to yell at your partner? While you watch this tendency, reverse its advise by saying, "I can handle it. I don't care what happens out there in the world, as long as I learn to be okay in here within myself."
A final note on this exercise.
In order to do this, you have to want to do it. If you simply aren't interested in trying this experiment, then there's nothing I can do to help you.
All I'm saying is, why not try? It's just a more direct path towards what you're looking for.
Live with substance!