Simple Tips For Living a More Joyful Life


We tend to think that joy is a product of stepping away from life and finding little ways to take a break or enjoy ourselves. While that can be important, just doing this only leads to fleeting moments of happiness. But how do we find real joy in our daily life without having to take time away from work, family, or the other aspects of our lives?

Theology of the Body reminds us that Joy is the fruit of living a meaningful, intimate, and virtuous life. Joy is that quality that allows us to have a deeper sense of rightness and contentment about our lives even when things are a little crazy or not going the way we’d like. Because Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, you can’t pursue Joy directly. Cultivating joy means dedicating oneself to a life of meaningfulness, intimacy, and virtue regardless of our circumstances.

Here are three More2LifeHacks for Cultivating Joy in your Heart:

Keep the Big Picture in Mind–Joy requires us to be able to step out of the chaos of everyday life and remember who we are and what’s important. This requires us to stay connected to God–to be able to see things from his point of view. Find ways to bring the present moment to God no matter how crazy it is. Ask him, “What do you want this moment to look like? How can I respond to this in a way that glorifies you?” Then re-engage the situation from this more graceful perspective. Keeping the big picture in mind helps you remain connected to what’s important.

Be Kind–True joy comes from seeking little ways to be a gift to others all day long.  As you go about your day, consciously ask yourself how you can make a difference in this moment?  Is there something you can do to make this person’s day even a little easier or more pleasant?  Is there something you can do to take down the tension in this situation?  Is there some way you can surprise someone with a small thoughtful gesture or little act of service? You don’t have to be a martyr about it.  In fact, it’s better if you aren’t.  Just look for those little ways to be a gift or create caring connection while you’re passing by or passing through.  These little acts of kindness increase your joy by helping you see all the ways you are making a positive difference in your world and in the lives of those around you.

– Stay In School–Research shows that joyful people are eager students in the “school of life.”  Joyful people are always open to seeing things from a new perspective, trying a new experience, and growing in ways that help them be stronger, healthier, more well-rounded people.  Joyful people aren’t shy about sharing what they like.  They know who they are and what they stand for, but they are open to discovering all the ways God is revealing himself to them through the people and the world around them.  And the more ways we open ourselves to this experience of God the more his grace makes us joyful. So, be yourself, but don’t be afraid to be more, learn more and grow more.

For more tips on living a joy-filled life, tune in to More2Life Monday-Friday 10am E/9am C on Sirius XM 139 and check out my book, The Life God Wants You to Have!

Parenting in the Age of Weinstein


Almost every day, new allegations of sexual harassment are in the headlines. The #metoo campaign has exposed the abusive behavior of power-brokers in Hollywood and DC helped victims, who have been silenced for too long, find their voices again.

One parent, despairing at the onslaught of depressing headlines and salacious stories recently asked me, “What can we do to raise boys not to act like this?  How can we protect our girls from a culture like this?”  While we can never control every variable, the truth is that parents can do a lot to raise young men who can be respectful of women and young women who know how they deserve to be treated.  Interestingly, the answer to both questions involves the same two things.

Attend to Attachment

Research consistently shows that a child’s attachment style predicts both how likely a child is to victimize others as he or she grows up as well as how likely it is that a child will be able to set appropriate boundaries with those who try to hurt them.

There are three basic attachment styles (secure, anxious, and avoidant) that determine a child’s basic sense of how they should both treat others and expect to be treated by others. Which attachment style a particular child develops is determined by how promptly, generously, and consistently his or her parents respond to the child’s emotional needs.

Securelyattached children are raised by parents who are generous with affection, employ gentle discipline that teaches good behavior instead of merely punishing bad behavior, encourage healthy emotional expression, and model the healthy give-and-take involved in loving relationships.  Securely attached children are naturally empathic, and are naturally repulsed by the idea of using or hurting another person.  They also have a gut-level sense of when they are not being treated properly and so are much more likely to sense and avoid dangerous situations, set boundaries early when someone tries to take advantage of them, and be confident about seeking help when they feel like they are in over their heads.

Anxiously-attached children are raised by parents who tend to be conditional about giving affection and praise, tend to use harsh, emotionally-driven discipline that blames rather than teaches, and tend to be too distracted by their own problems to consistently respond to the child’s emotional needs.  This child grows up feeling like it is their job to make other people meet their needs and it is their fault when other people don’t treat them well.  As adults, anxiously attached children often have a hard time recognizing unhealthy relationships. They tend not to notice that others are treating them badly until its gone too far.  And then, when they do notice, they tend to blame themselves, thinking they somehow caused the problem or even deserve the poor treatment.  This makes it difficult for them to set limits, or seek help.

Avoidantly-attached children are raised by parents who are unaffectionate and emotionally shut-off, tend to use heavy-handed approaches to discipline, and tend to leave children to themselves.  Avoidantly attached children grow up to become adults who, because they have never been taught to connect emotionally or spiritually with others, over-emphasize the importance of sex.  The more seriously avoidant a child’s attachment style is, the more likely that child will be a bully, a sex-addict, or, in the extreme, a sociopath who takes joy in hurting others.

If you want to raise a child who knows how to treat others well and knows how he or she deserves to be treated, the most important thing you can do is teach your child what a healthy relationship looks like by engaging in those practices that promote secure attachment.


The second most important thing a parent can do to raise children who know how to treat others well and know how they deserve to be treated is to teach kids, from an early age, that everything we do to another person is either ordered toward loving them or using them. When we are affectionate and respectful, when we do things to build them up, or look for ways to make their lives easier or more pleasant, we love others and help them become the persons they are meant to be.  By contrast, when we disregard others, when we are critical, mean, or derogatory, when we use people as a means to some end, or act in ways that say we don’t care about what they are going through, we treat people as things to be used, abused, or neglected.

A Catholics, we believe that the only appropriate response to another person is love, never use.  Children as young as 4 or 5 can understand the difference between love and use in relationships.

Parents who foster healthy attachment and teach their child the difference between loving and using another person from the earliest days not only are prone to raise healthy kids.  They strike a blow against a culture that sees people as objects and relationships as exchanges where the powerful use the less powerful as a means to their selfish ends.

Dr. Greg Popcak is the author of many books including Beyond the Bids and the Bees: The Catholic Guide to Raising Sexually Whole and Holy Kids.  Visit him at

Think Contraception Prevents Abortion? New Study Says, “You’re Wrong.”

shutterstock--The PillYou’ve probably heard the slogan, “You can’t be opposed to both abortion and contraception.”  Or, alternatively, the accusation,  “If you opposed abortion, why don’t you support greater access to contraception?”  The idea, of course, being that if everyone was on the Pill, we wouldn’t have abortions anymore.  Well, a new study by Britain’s most prominent abortion provider, British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), shows just how wrong that is.

It turns out that over half of women (51%) who procure abortions do so because of the failure of their contraceptive method.  In fact, the study of over 60,000 women, found that contraceptive use contributes to a greater likelihood that women will have later term abortions (20 weeks and later) because they assume they can’t get pregnant using contraception and miss early pregnancy signs as a result.  Late-term abortions are not only more morally objectionable to the general public, they also carry higher health risks for the mother.

In response the study, Anna Furedi, BPAS chief executive said, “Our data shows women cannot control their fertility through contraception alone, even when they are using some of the most effective methods. Family planning is contraception and abortion. Abortion is birth control that women need when their regular method lets them down.”

This finding comes on the heels of an earlier study that found that when the UK decreased funding for contraceptive services, unintended  pregnancy rates actually decreased as well–in direct contradiction to dire predictions by family planning agencies.

And again, the reason for this is that the efficacy of artificial means of family planning are oversold.  Women are led to believe that as long as they are “practicing safe sex” and using one form of artificial contraception or another, they cannot get pregnant.  But because of  both the built-in risk of method failure and life circumstances that prevent perfect use of contraceptives in the real world–many women using artificial means of contraception can find themselves pregnant and scared.  They are, in essence, being set up to feel that they need abortion by the very agencies that promote contraception and abortion services.

Again, Ms. Furedi says, “When you encourage women to use contraception, you give them the sense that they can control their fertility – but if you do not provide safe abortion services when that contraception fails you are doing them a great disservice.”

The research is clear.  Artificial contraception use increases the likelihood of both unintended pregnancy and abortion and, in fact, increases the potential that a woman will choose a higher-risk, later-term abortion because of her misplaced confidence in her method of artificial contraception.

Despite what the anti-science left would have you believe, the only way to be truly opposed to abortion is to oppose artificial contraception and promote life-affirming, relationship-building methods of family planning, like Natural Family Planning and Fertility Awareness Methods. To learn more about you can experience a healthier, happier, and more graceful sexual life, check out Holy Sex! The Catholic Guide To Mind-Blowing, Toe-Curling, Infallible Loving. 

Is Technoference Affecting Your Family?


We often hear how children’s overuse of smartphones and other devices is responsible for a host of problems including academic underperformance and social impairment.  But if you’re a parent, did you ever stop to think that your smartphone use might be causing your kids to act out?

A new study discovered that 48% of parents report technology disrupting time with their children such as during meals, playtime, or other activities more than three times a day, while only 11% of parents said this never occurs. This kind of disruption in personal time is referred to as “technoference,” the way technology use interrupts or distracts us from being fully present to the individuals around us.

The study indicated that, “As technoference increased, so did children’s behavioral problems, such as whining, sulking, restlessness, temper tantrums and acting out.” Likewise, children’s own technological use increased as their parents’ use increased. The researchers noted that “even low and seemingly normative amounts of technoference were associated with greater child behavior problems.”

While technology can be helpful, and the use of technology is often necessary, it is also important to have designated times in which parents and children alike put away their devices and spend quality time with one another. Parents should be especially mindful of avoiding technoference during family meals, playtime, game nights, or other bonding activities.

Kids grow up fast.  Cherish your time with them.  That cat meme will still be there after they go to bed.

For these and other parenting tips, check out Parenting With Grace: The Catholic Guid to Raising (Almost) Perfect Kids! and tune in to More2Life weekdays, 10am E/9am C on SiriusXM 139.