How to Thrive Amidst Despair

How does one become a thriver? You know, someone that thrives despite unfortunate circumstances. Thrive: to grow, progress, succeed, flourish regardless of any diverse situations.

When you are not thriving you are wilting. Stagnant. Lackluster.

If you are in the midst of a chronic illness, recovering from one, or just dealing with daily responsibilities like a zombie, you may not feel like thriving. But as you may or may not know, leading a thriving life necessitates effort. It’s real easy to live a miserable life, remain in a rut and allow circumstances to dictate our destiny.  I believe we are here on this planet for a reason. Each one of us has a purpose, a unique, beautiful one.

But we can’t do it alone.

3 Ways to Thrive Despite Whatever Disastrous or However Hopeless the Situation:


1. Support- This is huge. This can be your friends, family, support groups, God or whatever your religious or spiritual preference. We cannot leave out the medical professionals! Let’s not forget our healers, massage therapists, yoga teachers, wise gurus, and experts in nutrition. This list can go on and on. When I first learned that I needed to be gluten free, I took cooking classes, bought cookbooks, attended events, gluten free expos, and consulted with experts in that field. When I needed some healing time, I went to retreats. Kripalu, in the Berkshires, is one of my favorite places to go inward. I rest, meditate, do yoga and feed on  the most decadent, nutritious meals. I always leave feeling rejuvenated and clear.

The support is there, seek it. Ask for it. Be open to it.



2. Gratitude-Wherever you are in your journey of life, battling a new diagnosis, dealing with a loss, looking for employment, money issues,or a recent breakup, this is a key component to bringing goodness and so much more into your life. For example, if you are anguished over a breakup, think of 12 things you can be grateful for about that relationship. Maybe it was something you learned from him or her. Every experience comes with a lesson, possibly even making you stronger. Despite what you may believe, there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for.


Say or write down your 12 gratitudes while walking, while you meditate, or during your  morning commute. Buy a gratitude journal or write them in your phone. Even if life is good, be grateful. Being in this space allows for more good to continue to bless your life.

This is my daily practice, to me it is like prayer. Aside from meditation, I will recite my 12 gratitudes every morning, at times in my journal. It fills me with grace, acknowledgement, and thankfulness. It’s all a gift.

3. Pleasure- This can be a hard one for most of us. Especially for women, we are the ultimate nurturers and most times we put our needs last. We become run down, worn out, and eventually we become resentful. Pleasure can mean so many things. What is fun for you? What hobbies have you missed doing? Even sitting for an hour reading a new book with your favorite music in the background, and a hot cup of tea. How about going to see a movie, a little spa time, or even a 10 minute chair massage, going out with a friend you haven’t seen in a while, a manicure/pedicure, or a walk in nature.  It doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. These days if something is not fun, I won’t do it. Plain and simple. Or I find a way to make it fun. Add music, add a friend to the situation, go to the nearest bakery or frozen yogurt place. Delayed at the airport? Rather than going ballistic with the airline, you get 2 hours to catch up on your favorite book, get a chai tea, get comfortable and maybe catch up on the tabloids. You also get to do a little shopping at the airport, or even write in your mini journal that you travel with. Get a small one that contains only positive affirmations, your gratitudes, your desires, quotes you love or even make a list of places you want to visit and plan the itinerary.

I’d love to hear how you get through those hard times. Who do you turn to? What self care do you do that gets you through that rough day?

Much love,