That hurts. These profoundly painful losses and times of sharp grief have brought us face-to-face with the existential realities that all must address. We admit our lack of control in this life. We know how isolating the world can feel. We realize that identities can shift and may need to be revised. We know that death is a reality. And in this, we strive to find ways to cultivate meaning. We try to live intentionally, because we cannot control the future. We try to seek out meaningful relationships with people who also desire lasting and deep connections. We make every effort to live authentically, true to our identity that includes our pain. We try to make the most of each moment, knowing that life is short and that we all eventually will die. Pain inflicted on the body through exercise of some kind isn't just an exercise to toughen the body, but a necessary exercise to toughen the mind. Soft people don't succeed, especially when they're pitted against tough people. Do something active, feel some pain first thing in the morning to wake up your nervous system and get your blood pumping. Start with push-ups or pull-ups. Throw in a cold shower. Both have a similar effect and both are highly recommended. When you get your blood flowing early and stimulate your nerves, you'll need to rely less on things like caffeine to keep you awake and focused later in the morning. Pain, moreover, is good. Add pain to your life in the way of push-ups and a cold shower, and you're accepting the uncomfortable, which is what self-improvement requires.

You cannot improve amid comfort. Let me tell you about the symptoms I had after lunch today--and I didn't go to the emergency room, either. The Single-minded Interpreter Gladys Di Isfahandiarian is a forty-nine-year-old unmarried Armenian American interpreter for a large international organization in Washington, D. She was born in the Soviet Union and is fluent in seven languages: Armenian, English, Turkish, Persian, French, Italian, and Russian. She gives a history of more than fifteen years of chest discomfort: pressure, tenderness, dull and sharp pains, but mostly a feeling of discomfort--a term she expresses in all seven of her languages. The terms are more or less similar--a vague, unsettling, apprehensive feeling in my chest, around the heart, it seems. For most of the fifteen years she has experienced these symptoms, Di has visited doctors for what she fears is heart and lung disease. Probably it is both. It runs in the Isfahandiarian family. I am also a smoker, so there it is. Living with the knowledge of these existential realities can enrich life. Sometimes, these reminders are a gift. Even if unwanted, they are still a gift. They clarify what is important, shift focus to things that really matter, and encourage us to live with purpose. Of course, to live this way is deeply painful, and it is also powerfully motivating. It takes hard work to transform suffering into something more, while still honoring the pain it causes and the ways it has changed lives. We haven't conquered our suffering--no one really does. It is a part of life that comes, goes, and sometimes stays, and finding meaning along the way helps make it more bearable. Meaning is both an existential issue and central component of a flourishing life.

Our hope is that by bringing together insights from existential psychology and positive psychology, this article has provided you with a rich, multilayered perspective from which you can engage your clients who are suffering. That's not how it works. Improvement is necessarily painful and uncomfortable. Including physical pain in the morning trains your brain to accept rather than avoid it the way most of society does. The other side of pain is that it's required to develop toughness. No good has come from being anyone being soft, being a pussy (look up pusillanimous if you get your panties in a knot about the use of such a word). Toughness and grit were once necessary qualities for survival, and are now necessary qualities for one to live a flourishing life, for one to improve, to succeed, to avoid giving up. Do things that you don't feel like doing. Do them early. And you will avoid the weakness and laziness that can claim a day, then a week, and then a life. Your Perfect Evening It is astonishing, almost unbelievable, but in all those years not one of the doctors could find anything wrong. I have undergone very many tests. Sometimes one shows a small abnormality, but in the end nothing. It is a terrible experience to go through all these years of illness and be left with, what? How shall I say it? Stripped of your identity. In limbo, you might say. I am neither well nor ill. My illness has no name.

I have been told it is stress-related, psychosomatic, hypochondriacal--in other words, in my imagination. We hope that you have seen the light and dark side of meaning and have begun to think differently about suffering and the ways to best support your clients in some of their hardest moments of life. You also can develop the courage to suffer--to bear with your clients in crises that have shaken them to their core, upended their worlds, and caused them profound pain. And while supporting your clients, you may have begun to think deeply about existential realities that have raised anxiety or prompted you to challenge your beliefs. Through working with people who are suffering, we are called into direct confrontation with the uncertainties of life. We hope that you have taken this time to think hard about your assumptions, critically examining how you reconcile these existential facts of life. Perhaps in working with your clients, you have found your own life to be changed. We encourage you to make existential considerations a regular part of your clinical work and contemplating them a consistent practice in your life. The story of suffering is never simple; It is not something to triumph over, but rather an inescapable part of life. We will all suffer. They saying goes, win your morning, win your day. To extend that, if you win your day, and you win enough of them, you win your life. In my humble experience, however, my morning is dependent on how I ended the previous day as much as it is about my morning habits. I've learned by reading the words of smarter men than I, like Cal Newport who wrote Deep Work, that the end of a work day should be firm, not simply when the work is finished', which is what I always used to do. <a href=''>As</a> a result of having your work day endwhen the work is finished', you don't give yourself the power of a deadline, nor do you give yourself the time to plan the next day to ensure that it, too, is won. What comes first, the chicken or the egg, the morning or the evening? Again, in my experience, the evening comes before the morning because it's when you both grade your day, plan your next, and ensure that you stay the course. It's also far more effective to plan after having just completed work rather than planning at the start of a new day when options are endless and opportunities seem limitless. I read somewhere that Hemingway wouldn't completely finish a thought by day's end, instead leaving that thought open so as to be able to jumping back into something that has momentum rather than having to start anew.

Planning your day after having just finished work (or just having finished a work period) means that you can prepare tomorrow to begin with momentum rather than having to wake up and think about plans rather than actions. That is nonsense! If it were in my mind, would I feel it in my chest? Ridiculous! So why am I visiting a psychiatrist, and not the first either? To see if psychological factors play a role and can be treated, says Dr Tahardi. Well, what better way can I spend my time but speaking to a psychiatrist? Excuse the irritability, but much as I am delighted to meet you, and for certain will learn from speaking to a professor, my problem is in my chest, not my mind. Di is a charming, cosmopolitan, well-traveled professional woman. But she begins or ends each of her well-turned statements about herself with either a description of her symptoms or a review of her fears of the consequences of her condition. Probably I will die. How we do so matters. And because we shall all face these existential certainties, we are reminded that life is a gift, and we are offered a choice of what to do with that gift. Mary Oliver poignantly describes this human experience in the concluding lines of The Summer Day: Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to doFor example, a group member might ask, Can I give you a hug? TREATMENT TECHNIQUES A therapist can use many different techniques within the context of one group. Choice will have to do with the personality of the group at any given time, goals of the group, and therapist expertise. If the group is psychoeducational in nature, the therapist will probably want to present the educational piece, allow time for discussion, and then assign homework so that group participants can practice skills. For example, one group session might be devoted to learning how to manage anxiety.