Patricia Lynn Belkowitz, M.Msc., C.Ht., EFT


Are you feeling hopeless? Life got you down? Maybe you’ve given up hope that you will find your soulmate. Perhaps you feel that the world is “going to hell in a handbasket” and there is no point in trying. You could be dealing with a problem which doesn’t appear to have a solution. The dictionary defines hope as a “feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen; feeling of trust”.

Thanks to the science of positive psychology or positive thinking, we can build up our sense of hope. When we are hopeful, we enjoy physical, mental and emotional benefits of a positive outlook. In study after study, the strength of hope is the character trait which is most aligned with happiness.

Ryan Niemiec in his article, 3 Ways to Nurture Your Sense of Hope states, “Research shows that our strength of hope is made up of two important elements—think of these as the will and the way. The will is our motivation and our belief we can reach a goal. The way is our ability to come up with options to get that goal (e.g., recovering from a problem, accomplishing a task or life goal or making a challenging decision).”

Unfortunately hope is not a common character strength. Generally speaking, we human beings are pessimistic, paranoid and focused on the negative. We are fearful. No wonder we suffer from stress! The good news is that we can consciously choose to focus on the positive. We can learn to look forward to positive outcomes. We can change our beliefs about the way things are. And we can choose to do that one thought at a time. We can begin to trust ourselves and our ability to create our life.

The VIA Institute on Character has developed a list of 24 character strengths. They offer a free Character Strength Survey which I encourage you to take. The Institute defines six types of character traits with subcategories of 24. The categories are:  Wisdom and Knowledge: cognitive strengths that entail the acquisition and use of knowledge;  Courage: emotional strengths that involve the exercise of will to accomplish goals in the face of opposition, external or internal;  Humanity: interpersonal strengths that involve tending and befriending others;  Justice: civic strengths that underlie healthy community life; Temperance: strengths that protect against excess; and Transcendence: strengths that forge connections to the larger universe and provide meaning. The character strength of Hope (optimism and belief in the best in the future) falls under the category of Transcendence.

Check out the survey at You may find out some interesting things about yourself! And you may also learn something that will help you to find hope.

I encourage you to visualize your ideal self, knowing that you have everything within you to create the life you want. You have every talent, skill and ability to be your very best self. So imagine living your ideal life. This may reflect your relationships, your career or just your everyday life. Imagination is a powerful tool of creation. It creates hope.

Set a goal. Focus on a vacation, a new job, a healthy body or whatever you desire. Create a journal with a list of ways you can reach that goal and the steps you need to take to get there. Remind yourself of all the reasons why you can accomplish whatever you set your mind to do.

If you’ve lost hope, remember that everything is temporary. Bad events and situations will pass. You will learn. You will grow. Things will change. Instead, focus on what you want. Make the choices to make the changes. The positive steps you take in the now moment will have a lasting effect on the future moments of your life. You have the will and you know the way.

#choice #positive thinking #hope #belief