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Three Ways to Thrive, Knowing You’re Not Alone

Three Ways to Thrive, Knowing You’re Not Alone

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We all struggle with our own challenges; depression has been one of mine. Over the years, I’ve been tested in this regard a number of times. I’m used to digging myself out of the foxhole through the help of friends, family, inspirational words of wisdom and mentors, ad infinitum. Nonetheless, I’ve had to dig deep within myself to reveal inner wells of strength.

Our mission in this life is not only to survive but to thrive. I believe that we can all handle challenges by tapping into the infinite within us. Here are three possible channels to unlocking the light and greatness within you. In addition, I encourage you to find and follow that which returns you to yourself.

Gratitude

Modeh Ani lefanecha melech chai vekayam, she-he-che-zarta bee nishmatee b’chemla raba emunatecha.”

I offer thanks to You, living and eternal King, for You have mercifully restored my soul within me; Your faithfulness is great.

While it’s been said to redundancy, perhaps, in times of need, it’s pivotal that we remind ourselves of all that we have to be grateful for in our lives. From the moment we wake up, we declare our gratitude before G‑d with the saying of the “Modeh Ani” prayer. I offer thanks before you, starts our day within a framework of gratitude.

Whether you think it in your mind or better yet write it down, set aside a few moments throughout your day or at the end of your day to focus on gratitude.

Personally, I love projects and the feelings of accomplishment that come with it. A positive and productive 30-day challenge is to write down three things that you’re grateful for each day. Or like me, you can purchase a gratitude journal and challenge yourself to go deeper. For fun, you can take on this challenge with a friend, your spouse and even your kids.

Like work, relationships or any aspect of our life, happiness requires a concerted mindful effort on our part. Just as the very first words off our lips in the morning are those of gratitude, we can work on finding gratitude throughout our day.

Generosity

“On three things the world stands: on Torah, on service [of G‑d] and on acts of human kindness.” (Avot 1:2)

There is nothing that will allow you to feel more abundant than giving. When you give from a place of strength, it infuses your life with meaning and purpose. Kindness is one of the pillars upon which this world was created.

Indeed, when challenges arise, we may be in a position when we need to receive, which requires a great display of courage, strength and character. At the same time, a tremendous way to forget your own sorrows is to give to others.

Whether it be offering a smile or directions to a stranger, participating in a volunteer project or bringing someone a hot meal, neurons are triggered in your brain when you help someone else (and it’s far more lasting than just writing a check, though that is very generous, too).

Visualization

“Even when I walk in the valley of darkness, I will fear no evil for You are with me.” (Psalms 23:4)

We sometimes forget that G‑d is orchestrating every detail of our life for our own benefit. We can come to believe that we are alone in this world. We can come to feel that we must handle everything on our own. This is false. And we can refuse to allow this mindset into our lives.

For a portion of each day, I open my hand as I walk, and I imagine that G‑d is holding my hand. I feel his presence. I envision G‑d holding my hand as I know G‑d is with me. I search my days for “coincidences” of Divine providence, and they never cease to arise. There are days when we may walk in the valley of the shadow of death, but still we never walk alone.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Alyssa is a thirsty soul looking to connect to spirituality and the larger Jewish community. She invites you to come along.
Sefira Ross is a freelance designer and illustrator whose original creations grace many Chabad.org pages. Residing in Seattle, Washington, her days are spent between multitasking illustrations and being a mom.
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Martha New York February 10, 2017

Thank you for the beautiful and clear message! I use an app called 5 Minute Journal, which makes you write three things you're grateful for each morning, and three good things that happened that day in the the evening. It's super quick and helpful, and I've seen major changes in my attitude when I do and do not use it. Reply

Anonymous Stony Brook February 5, 2017

What beautiful thoughts & words! Reply

Anonymous February 2, 2017

Art or even doodling is helpful in shifting one's state of mind too, just 15 -20minutes focusing on a mini project every morning will give you a suprising and pleasing result.
when anxiety starts to take over I know I've not been releasing my creativity for a while. Re-discovering that through art I had a way out of the darkness all along was the best moment in recent years. It's good to search outside too but its often the case that G-d has already given you your own unique way of seeing His light , and sharing that gift. Reply

Hinda Baltimore February 1, 2017

Thank you! Thank you, much appreciated! Reply

Simcha Arona February 1, 2017

"The Garden of EMUNA by Rabbi Shalom Arush. Reply

jim dallas February 1, 2017

thanks for the hebrew translit., very homey and deep! thanks for the prayers inserted in the fine written work, they and the two hands given so professionally with feeling and beauty by sefira, are a wholesome break for me as i work in the hebrew Torah! Reply

Anonymous Brooklyn January 31, 2017

Beautiful, thank you! I love the "i invite you to find what makes you return to you" meaning one of these three ways or talent ?thank you Reply

Joyce Oxfeld Philadelphia January 31, 2017

Boy, I could sure use this now. Social Media, the way people around me act at times, Politics, fears for health and being alone are plaguing me lately. I have trouble leaving the bed and facing the world. I do say the morning prayer, but I haven't written down anything that I'm grateful for and I keep missing my Dad , who we were sounding boards for. He died in 2005 around this time, and His Yahrzeit is on Feb. 6 this year. Reply

Blake Asbury Minnesota January 31, 2017

thanks, i needed a little clarity today. "...I open my hand as I walk, and I imagine..." this was good, I had not thought like that before. have a good day. Reply