Hope is an important and essential component of a good and happy life. Hope helps us to define and fine-tune our dreams and it helps us to keep moving in a forward direction toward that brighter light at the end of the tunnel. We just have to keep believing in our dreams and relying on hope to keep convincing us that the light is our desired destination and not a fast moving train headed in our direction.
I was looking back into some past editions recently and my eyes were drawn to the column of Seminole County’s former one-line inspirational motivator, J. B. Clarke. There was one item in his weekly column that inspired me and reminded me that no matter how bad things may be, there is always hope – Just when the caterpillar thought his world was over, he became a butterfly.
Hopeful people are happier, less depressed, less stressed, and more satisfied with their lives and social relationships. They also have more control of their environments, personal growth, purpose in life, and self-acceptance.
Hopeful people also have more positive coping strategies and are less likely to try to avoid a problem, deny there is a problem or blame themselves or someone else.
Hopeful and grateful people sleep better, and this seems to be because they think less negative and more positive thoughts.
In an interview with researcher Shane Lopez, Ph.D., published in the Newsletter of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) by Suzie Pileggi, Lopez described hope as “the ideas and energy you have for the future.” Lopez further noted that hope is “a pathway to all forms of well-being, a common measure of happiness.” Lopez noted research studies showing that “hope had a significant effect on thirteen of the fourteen well-being components.”
According to Dr. Lopez, hope forms when “goals thinking (I want to go from here to there) combine with pathways thinking (I know many ways to get from here to there), and agency thinking (I think I can get from here to there).”
“Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.”
Hope differs somewhat from optimism, which is a broader viewpoint on the positive aspects of life. Hope tends to focus on the specific goals or aspects of life. Both hope and optimism correlate closely with happiness.
“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”
Hope is a predictor of academic success, the ability to cope with difficult situations, and, surprisingly, increased pain tolerance. Those with high measures of hope often demonstrate the ability to tolerate twice as much pain for twice as long as those with low hope measures.
“If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr
Hope is the fuel that keeps your mental engines moving forward toward your dreams. Here’s hoping your hope tank is always full!
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