Fostering Hope - Love and Hope Bracelet
What do you do when it seems like everything is going wrong?
What can you do when it feels like you’ve got too much burden to bear and can’t go on?
How can you possibly cope when you’re experiencing profound grief?
There are many benefits to fostering hope, whether you’re going through a difficult time right now, or not.
And it IS possible to foster hope, even if you’re in the midst of profound grief. In fact, that’s when you need hope the most. Sometimes it feels like that’s all that’s left. And it is powerful, and healing.
Here are some benefits of fostering hope, according to Anthony Scioli, Ph.D., who studies hope extensively.
- Stronger, more meaningful relationships.
- Fosters trust.
- Helps to lessen grief, anxiety, and despair
- Improves coping skills and resilience
- Improved problem solving
- Decreased employment burnout
- Improved communication
Dr. Scioli’s program has four main ways to draw upon hope, which is referred to as the M.A.S.S. Approach to Hope:
- Mastery – feeling of being strong and capable and people who support
- Attachment – continued trust and communicate to another person
- Survival - a) believe you aren’t trapped, b) ability to maintain positive thoughts in the face of adversity
- Spirituality – something larger than yourself
Here are some simple ways to foster hope:
Remember that difficult times do not last forever.
When you’re in the midst of a difficult time, it can feel like it will last forever. It is helpful and important to remember that tough times do not last forever. You can refer to your own difficult times that no longer exist as evidence. If you’d like more about this, you can refer to Chapter 21 Know That the Toughest Days will Pass in my book, FEELING Good. It may also be helpful to read books about how people have held on to hope in the darkest times. Just to name a few - Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand, and Into the Magic Shop by James Doty, MD.
Visualize a positive future
Visualize a positive future – the kind of future you would like to live. Imagine it in full detail, including how you will feel. If you need any help with visualization, read Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain or read and do the Action Steps in Ch. 24 Use Your Imagination in the book, FEELING Good: 35 Proven Ways to Happiness, Even During Tough Times.
Be Careful of Words You Use
Be mindful of your use of “extreme” words, such as “always,” “can’t,” and “never.” This kind of thinking and speaking does not help you move toward the future you would like to live. For example, statements such as, “Bad things always happen to me,” “Things are never going to get better,” and “I’m always going to feel this sad.” If you need any help with this, read the chapter “Be Impeccable with Your Word” in the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.
Cultivate Positive Relationships and Support Network
We are affected emotionally by the people we spend time with. Psychologists call this “Emotional Contagion.” This is not to say that you should not spend time with people who are suffering who may need your help. Rather, this is about being mindful of spending time with people who are special to you, and who make you feel good, whether they are feeling down or not. If you need some help with this, read the chapters and follow the Action Steps in Ch. 2 Connect with People and Ch. 10, Surround Yourself with People who Make you Feel Good, in the book FEELING Good.
Think about all you have overcome.
It is helpful to remind yourself of all of the difficulties you have overcome in your life. You are the same person, and you have the same characteristics that got you through difficult times in the past. If you need help with this, read and do the Action Steps in Ch. 32 Focus on How Far You’ve Come in the book FEELING Good.
Bring Hope to Others
When we give to others, this helps to foster hope and other positive feelings within ourselves. If you are going through a difficult time, giving to others in a simple way can be one way to help foster hope and feel better. If you’d like to learn more, read Ch. 12 Give to Others and follow the Action Steps in the book FEELING Good.
If you know anyone going through a difficult time, feel free share the ideas from this email. You may also wish to send The Hope and Love Bracelet in support of someone who is struggling.
The Soul, Science, and Culture of Hope by Rick Miller
Hope Rising: How the Science of Hope Can Change Your Live by Chan Hellman
The Power of Hope by Anthony Scioli
Hope in the Age of Anxiety by Anthony Scioli
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand
Into the Magic Shop by James Doty, MD
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
FEELING Good: 35 Proven Ways to Happiness, Even During Tough Times, by Peggy Doherty DeLong, Psy.D