“Hope involves planning, motivation, and determination.” Dr. Valerie Maholmes
It is human nature to want to grow, to change, and to expand our life experiences. Hope is our desire for a positive outcome, something that will make life better. For many of us hope motivates and encourages us to press forward in the most challenging of circumstances. Fear can be what stops us in our tracks; Hope is what provides us the courage to take the necessary steps forward.
How do we nurture and embrace hope when life appears to be hopeless?
Despair has been described as the complete absence of hope. When we have lost hope, we tend to give up under the immense weight of our current circumstances, asking ourselves, “What is the point?” Hope is what counters this feeling of helplessness; It provides the motivation to dig a little deeper and to intentionally search for a solution to our problems. Hope is essential to our mental and emotional health and is one of the most powerful contributors to our survival. It is something we should intentionally incorporate into our daily routine.
How can we accomplish this?
- It is important to set a goal. It is difficult to have hope around anything unless you know what the desired outcome looks like. Change begins with an awareness we want something to be different. Being specific allows us to engage our imagination, it allows us to dream, and that is where hope feels most at home.
- Hope is a belief everything will work out. It allows us to find calm in the roughest waters. Our minds can only hold onto one thought at a time and as humans we get to choose our thoughts. Intentionally focusing on a positive outcome can help us to feel better in the moment.
- Are you able to see a vision bigger than yourself? Are you able to take a step back, move away from the details, and expand the vision you see? When we are able to shift our focus from ourselves, to include others, it automatically seems more powerful and more attainable. It is always easier to wish good on others.
- Along the same lines of including others in our vision, volunteering can be inspiring not only to ourselves, but to those who are receiving our support. With our actions we are providing hope to others.
- Hope comes from a belief, or faith, the current situation will change. Dreams have a much greater chance of succeeding when we share them with others. When we share our vision with others, our faith expands as we receive support from the most unexpected places.
- We all tap into inspiration differently and each of us must do the same for hope. Where does hope speak to you directly? Is it the lyrics of a song? Reading or watching a biography? Between the covers of a book or a magazine? Is it a speaker, a workshop, or a course? Engagement with the word around us can be a reminder positive change is possible.
- Like anything in life, hope requires action, and needs our support in generating the change we seek. Once our goal is clear, we can begin visualizing it as if it has already happened. The clearer the vision, the stronger our hope.
- When hope seems weak and our positivity is being challenged, take a moment to breathe. Deep belly breaths, watching the stomach and chest lift and lower with each intentional breath. As we inhale, breathe in love and light. As we exhale release doubt and negativity about the current circumstances. We get to choose how we react in this moment, and the next.
- Goals can sometimes take time to manifest, even when they are fueled with positivity. When we look too far down the road, we can lose confidence we will ever reach the finish line. Taking a few moments to review and reflect provides us the opportunity to celebrate how far we have come. Reflection allows us to witness our progress, even if it is small, and to realize things have indeed progressed.
- Finally, it is important to remain open-minded. When we focus on a specific outcome our hopes can be dashed when they do not come true…..or did they? We can sometimes be so focused on our goals and how we expect things to turn out, we miss opportunities when they present themselves.
Hope gives us the courage to believe our life could be different.
It allows us to stay calm when life gets challenging and to believe in the impossible, even when everything seems to be working against us.
Hope is directly affected by those we associate with. If they support our dreams hope has found an ally. However, if criticized by others, our dreams and hope can pack their bags quickly. Just as our support system is important in fueling hope, so is everything we do ourselves.
It is import for us to adapt a positive mindset, along with an understanding change always comes from within. We are supported in the stillness, where we are able to connect with our own inner strength.
Being kind to ourselves is essential to embracing strong feelings of hope. So is believing our dream is possible, we deserve it, and it will come to us in due time. Hope allows us to believe in positive outcomes, moves us through the difficult circumstances, and supports us in implementing change.
Tammy Adams, is the Grief Recovery Method Specialist at Brant Mental Health Solutions. She is able to offer online consultations and services during the Provincial lockdown. For more information call 519.302.2300.