Life will always be filled with challenges – sometimes big, sometimes small. The key to staying calm and positive in challenging times is doing what we can to seek out and connect to the Source of simchah – to Hashem and the hidden light within ourselves, and those around us and the situations we find ourselves in.
How can we control our emotions and come to actually feel that Hashem is with us in this challenging time and any other challenge in the future?
Here are a few things we can do:
Speak it out with others. Others can see things that we, by ourselves, cannot; and that clarity can take us to places we never could have gotten to on our own. Plus, simply by offering a sympathetic ear, our spiritual leaders, friends and family can also give us new energy and resolve when we are caught in our day-to-day struggles and trying to keep our heads above the water.
Seek out the good. Getting in the habit of seeking out, focusing on, and being thankful for the good that Hashem is sending our way is one of the biggest s’gulos there is to protect what we have from harm or loss. It also opens the doors to additional brachah and y’shuos.
At the same time, we also need to remember to seek out the good in ourselves, too! Did you prepare a tasty meal? Were you supportive of your children? Did you get some work accomplished? Clean a little for Pesach? Say some T’hilim for another person who needs a y’shuah?
Take some time to reflect. We need to pay attention to our thoughts – particularly the distressful ones. Before every emotion and feeling, there is always a thought that precedes it. What and how we think actually causes us to feel a certain way. This means, if we can recognize negative thoughts and change the narrative, we can change the way we feel over time.
Keep moving. But even where we can’t change our thoughts enough, there is always action. Chazal tell us that our actions can also change the way we feel and eventually the way we think.
So, even if you feel like staying in bed all day and running away from the situation, you still need to just get up and get things done. Find something useful to do, even if you don’t feel like doing it: Clean some small part of your home, say encouraging things to those around you, have mercy on those who need it, put a smile on your face even if you feel sad inside.
Do good to others. In the same vein, if you know of people who are struggling, then make it a point to reach out to them and find ways to help. Not only will this make you feel better, but it can unlock a flow of brachah and Divine assistance in your life.
According to the Zohar, when Hashem wants to show us compassion, He first sends to us an individual who himself is in need of compassion. When we have compassion on this person, then Hashem has compassion on us, as it says, “Whoever has compassion on God’s creatures, receives compassion from heaven.
Daven to Hashem that the fear and worry should lift. When we have a distressful emotion, it is really Hashem speaking to us, calling to us to return to Him. For this reason, the instant we remember Hashem and turn to Him for assistance, we often find that the intensity of our emotions decreases.
But this can only happen when we truly believe that Hashem loves us, is really listening to us, and wants more than anything to give us good. And that can only happen when we truly believe in the intrinsic good within ourselves.
In short, life will always be filled with challenges – sometimes big, sometimes small. The key to staying calm and positive in challenging times is doing what we can to seek out and connect to the Source of simchah – to Hashem and the hidden light within ourselves and those around us and the situations we find ourselves in.
Material was previously published on www.ShiratMiriam.com.