These days we feel inundated with uncertainty. The American political scene is fraught with discord that is difficult to ignore. Then there's the pandemic working its way around the globe with its surges and spikes that are causing uncertainty in all aspects of daily life. From the very basic of personal health and security to the more insidious impacts on all levels of the world economy.
On top of this there are natural disasters increas
ing in strength and frequency that are an offshoot of man's impact on the world's environments from which it will take a global response to turn around.
Then add our usual life challenges and setbacks and things seem dire indeed. We need hope in our lives now more than ever. But how do we do that? If you're like me, you're not at all interested in repeating meaningless mantras and embracing brainless beliefs unfounded in today's reality. We know that just hoping ourselves back to an optimistic outlook in the face of all these challenges is not enough. We have to create our own path through the darkness, acknowledging the many realities and our genuine concerns.
But HOW does one do this? With authenticity?
Well, guess what. This is a researched phenomenon, and there are avenues of approach that can help us develop and strengthen our abilities to create hope!
First things first, what is hope?
In general, having hope is having an expectation that something good will happen in the future or that something bad won’t happen, according to the American Psychological Association (APA).
Why Does Having Hope Matter?
Having or creating hope helps build resilience, which “is the ability to either recover quickly from events that are challenging or traumatic or a crisis or to be relatively unaffected by these events, at least long term.
So, right now having hope in the midst of elevated political conflict and a global pandemic and all of its effects will allow us to respond in ways that allow us to find new means to thrive in this climate of great change and uncertainty.
A Recent Project About Hope
Artists were asked to depict their version of hope.....
And My Depiction of Hope Today
Ways To Create Hope
Cultivating hope starts with being able to:
authentically identify how you’re feeling in a particular moment
identify how you would rather be feeling
and build or draw on the tools in your life to help you feel that way.
You can try something like the ABCDE model often used in cognitive behavioral therapy, Comas-Diaz says.
The A stands for adversity, meaning you have to name the challenge or problem you’re up against.
The B calls you to look at what negative belief you have about the situation.
The C means you need to examine the consequences that belief is having on your behavior and emotions, particularly how you feel about yourself.
When you get to D, that’s the point where you start to dispute those beliefs and offer alternate explanations to yourself. Finally,
E stands for energize or new effect, which signals the introduction of a new line of thinking about the original event or challenge.
Great resources for ways to cultivate and create hope
Another great resource:
Make A Hope Map
One popular approach to helping people turn their wishes about using their strengths into hopes, especially in the workplace, was created by Dr. Shane Lopez. It’s called a Hope Map, and it’s easy to make your own:
Take a piece of paper and place it horizontally on your desk.
Fold the paper into three sections, and open it up once more.
On the far right third of the page, write “Goals” at the top.
Under that, write down a goal for using your strengths more in your creative endeavors.
On the far left third of the page, write “Pathways” at the top.
Under that, write down at least three different pathways you’ll need to take to reach your goal. You might identify how specific strengths or a cluster of strengths will make these pathways easier.
In the middle third of the page, write “Obstacles” at the top.
Under that, write down at least one obstacle for each of the pathways you’ve identified. One of the things researchers have uncovered about achieving our goals is we’re more likely to succeed when we plan for possible obstacles at the outset. This way they don’t send us into such a spiral.
Under each obstacle, write down several ways to overcome it. Be creative! Remember that adjusting a goal can help eliminate an obstacle.
Across the bottom of your page, write down what you can do to support your motivation and will power to complete the pathways and achieve your goal. How will you make the journey enjoyable? Who will encourage you? How will you measure your progress, and your success?
Once your map is complete, your hopes are clear and you’re ready to get on with it.
Who is Dr. Shane Lopez?
He spearheaded fascinating research showing that not only is hope good for your wellbeing, but it’s a measurable quality that can be increased with practice. His new book, Making Hope Happen, discusses the science behind hope and describes practical ways to improve your wellbeing by nurturing a positive, active approach to live.
8 Benefits of Having Hope
Hope is significantly correlated with superior academic and athletic performance, greater physical and psychological well-being, improved self-esteem, and enhanced interpersonal relationships (Rand & Cheavens, 2012).
Hope has the potential to enhance well-being over time. Erez & Isen (2002) found that individuals who are more hopeful and expect to be successful in achieving goals are more likely to experience a state of well-being.
Individuals with high hope are more likely to view stressful situations as challenging rather than threatening, thereby reducing the intensity and hindering the proliferation of stress (Lazarus & Launier, 1978).
Hope can be perceived as a protective factor against the development of chronic anxiety. Michael (2000) found that hope correlates significantly and negatively with anxiety, while also protecting against perceptions of vulnerability, uncontrollability, and unpredictability.
Hope is a motivational factor that helps initiate and sustain action toward long-term goals, including the flexible management of obstacles that get in the way of goal attainment. High-hope individuals can conceptualize their goals clearly; establishing goals based on their own previous performances. In this way, hopeful individuals have greater control over how they will pursue goals and are intrinsically motivated to find multiple pathways to successful goal attainment (Conti, 2000).
Snyder et al. (2002) found that high hope college students were more likely to graduate than their low hope counterparts. Their findings indicated that students with low hope graduated at an overall 40.27% rate as compared with 56.50% of high-hope students. Additionally, low hope students were also at greater risk of being dismissed (25%) relative to their high hope peers (7.1%).
Hope is positively related to overall life satisfaction (Roesch & Vaughn, 2006).
Hope, with its in-built orientation towards the future, motivates individuals to maintain their positive involvement in life regardless of any limitations imposed upon them (Rideout & Montemuro, 1986).
Let This Mom Inspire You About Creating Hope
Finding Hope In Hopelessness