1. Live Joyfully

“Joy breaks all barriers,” taught the fourth Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom DovBer. The sheer happiness we can arouse in ourselves by celebrating our blessings and adopting a positive attitude can obliterate obstacles.

Interpreting the line, “G‑d is your shadow at your right hand,”1 the Baal Shem Tov explained that just as shadows mimic our actions, G‑d reciprocates our actions measure for measure. If we feel joy, G‑d gives us more joy; when we are charitable, G‑d is charitable towards us; and when we perform acts of kindness, G‑d does so for us as well.

2. Eschew Negativity

A small kitchen fire that isn’t smothered can erupt, spread, and burn down the whole house. The Maggid of Mezeritch, the Baal Shem Tov’s successor, taught the importance of adjusting our attitudes and training ourselves to think positively.

G‑d commanded Aaron and his sons, “The fire on the altar should be kept burning; the fire must not go out.”2 Why the duplicate wording? Per the Maggid, just as Aaron and his sons should never let the fire be extinguished in the Tabernacle, we must “put out the ‘no’” and extinguish any negative attitudes.

3. Recite Holy Words

Before flooding our world, G‑d told Noah to build a teva, an ark, to shelter and protect his family and animals.

Teva also means “word.” By saying holy words and immersing ourselves in the ideas and words of Torah or prayers, taught the Baal Shem Tov, we create a protective shelter from the deluge of negativity and materialism all around us. Moreover, holy words spill over and purify the atmosphere around us.

4. Love and Value Yourself

Before we can work on loving and giving to others, we have to love ourselves. So included within the mitzvah to “love your fellow as you love yourself” is the presupposition that we actually love ourselves.

We can understand our true value by revealing the innate spiritual worth and holiness of every Jewish soul. By appreciating our inner goodness and realizing that our soul is a piece of G‑d, we can use the skills, talents and abilities that G‑d gifted us to elevate our surroundings.

5. Love Others Unconditionally

The Baal Shem Tov taught that everyone—regardless of background, age, or level or scholarship—deserves unconditional love and kindness. The more we see the good in others, the more we can create beautiful friendships and communities, and strengthen our love of G‑d.

6. Realize That G‑d Orchestrates Your Life

The Baal Shem Tov taught that Divine Providence means that G‑d constantly supervises every detail of creation. Nothing is mere happenstance. Every day, 24 hours a day, G‑d orchestrates events for our best possible outcome.

Internalizing that all circumstances in which we find ourselves are ultimately for our benefit, (whether or not we can see the good immediately) brings joy, comfort, and strength.

7. Have Confidence in G‑d

Belief in Divine Providence helps to strengthen our bitachon—our trust and confidence that everything G‑d does is for our good.

When we trust G‑d, we don’t waste energy worrying or feeling anxious. When we trust G‑d’s plan, we avoid unnecessary stress and negativity. Realizing that G‑d, Who loves us and cares for us, wants only good, makes us calmer and more joyous in whatever life brings our way.