Hope fuels a sense of purpose and energy. You know without a doubt, I can do this! With the human brain’s tendency to focus more on the negative, it can be challenging to find hope in tough times. If you have doubts or despair, the good news is you can build and develop an optimistic thinking style. Throughout this blog, I will reference research and material from a recent continuing education training I attended from Dr. Jaime Kurtz.
Why Choose Hope?
According to research, when you are realistically hopeful, you are more relaxed. (Kurtz, 2022).
- Your brain wants to explore possibilities through play and creativity.
- You find it easier to problem solve and grow.
- You experience better health and a stronger immune system.
- Hopeful people are more sociable, well liked, are better leaders and even make more money.
- Hopeful people cope better with setbacks and have better marriages.
Why Being Hopeful isn’t Always Easy
Remember how I said, the brain has a tendency to focus more on the negative than the positive? It takes at least three positives to overcome one negative. For some of us, who are more sensitive, it may take even more. This emphasizes the importance of protecting your energies from lower vibrations, moods and thoughts, including yourself and others.
Our routines and habits often get in our way. When under stress, we tend to fall into habitual patterns of thinking and doing. There is a upside and downside to this. Habits can shield the brain from harm or too much input. The unfortunate part is we often turn to mindless behaviors, such as scrolling endlessly through social media, obsessively watching the news, thinking pessimistically, ruminating or worrying and even eating comfort foods. All of these activities keeps you stuck and at times feeling hopeless.
Let’s just admit it…life can be really, really hard. For this reason, we can lose hope easily. The realistic aspects of living life can bring your mood down. People have financial stress, health issues, relationship problems, etc. When you are a helper, in the role of healing others, you can absorb other’s negativities and lower energies.
How Can I Be More Hopeful?
A part of being hopeful is changing how you think. According to Dr. Jaime Kurtz, an optimistic thinking style has four elements.
- Temporary- Knowing whatever you are experiencing will pass.
- Local- Thoughts are focused only on your current situation and no other.
- Not Personal- You know this is not entirely my fault.
- Controllable- There IS something I can do about this.
Stress management or filling your cup is essential. This can be unique to each one of you. Find activities that nourish and replenish you. Some ideas are exercise, being in nature, listening to music, or practicing a hobby. If you haven’t seen my book, I Fill My Cup: A Journal For Compassionate Helpers, you may want to check it out. As Kurtz states, “Hopeful people engage in more preventative behaviors.”
Pennebaker (1997) discusses the power of story telling to increase hope. The instruction is to construct a clear narrative of what you want and how you might get it. You can write or tell your story to a trusted friend, coach or counselor.
Reframing your thoughts- Think of a previous hopeless or negative situation that has happened. Next name three things that help you see the bright side of life because you did not get what you wanted.
Spend more time with hopeful and positive people. As many of you absorb the lower energies from others, you can also absorb or take in the positive energies. Choose wisely.
Being hopeful may not be easy, but it is possible. YOU CAN DO IT!
Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net
REFERENCE: Pennebaker, J. W. (1997). Writing about emotional experiences as a therapeutic process.
Psychological Science, 8, 162-166.