I have written that most human suffering is self-inflicted.  Maybe that comment surprises you. For example, feeling bloated or having heartburn can be examples of suffering when overeating. A more complex level of suffering could be low self-esteem born from being overweight – all products of suffering as it relates to overeating. How about a more intricate ailment such as stress?  Whereas overeating is mostly a self-inflicted ailment, one would think stress is not. The element of stress is born out of surrounding factors that may be out of our immediate control. Still, you have to ask yourself why you are stressed out or even angry. The question you need to ask is why should anything make me stressed out? The stress is not coming from the object or source, it is coming from you. How you process information in your mind and how you then react is really the variable. You could take 3 people and put them under the same stressful situation and each person will react differently based on how they process the challenge that is causing the stress and also how the person handles the stressful situation through their reactions. The point of all this is, 9 out of 10 times, suffering in your life is caused by YOU. Sure there are peripheral elements that can be the root of a stressful or angry situation, but how you handle the stress and anger is completely up to you. In essence, we as humans create our own suffering. Think about it: Anger, stress, overeating, smoking, drinking, drugs, loneliness, money problems, marital strife, jealously, lack of exercise are all elements that make us suffer. Almost every item on this list is a self- inflicted ailment to some degree. Further, complex long term suffering can be attributed to these precursors mentioned above: Anger and stress can lead to eventual depression and even violence. Overeating, smoking, drinking, drugs and lack of exercise can lead to disease and other acute health problems. Even over spending and money problems can lead to foreclosure, bankruptcy, marriage problems, anxiety and a genuine lack of happiness. Again, we can’t control the challenges that face us unexpectedly, but how we react to them and how we react with others can be controlled. Yes, suffering is intrinsic to life: When we are born we suffer and many times when we die we tend to suffer. Still, there are small little changes in life we can make to limit a lot of the current affliction. When we are mindful and aware of what makes us suffer, we can then make the space for more awareness and thus make better responsive decisions in life.

Up next, I want to discuss how diet and exercise can help fight Cancer.


John C. Bader