2020 got you down? You’re not alone! We are all feeling a little hopeless right now. The pandemic seems never-ending. Tens of thousands of people are falling ill, and many are dying. The world stopped. We are banned from traveling to other countries. The economy is in shambles and millions of Americans are unemployed. It’s not safe to send our children to school. We are a divided nation. We are frustrated and angry and we have had enough of the way things are! We are exhausted and need strength to carry on. We need hope and we need it now!
Our strength of hope consists of two important elements – the will and the way. The will is our motivation. It is our belief that we are able to achieve a goal. Will propels us forward. The way is our ability to solve a problem or make a decision. It is how we accomplish something. Each one of us has our own way of living life. Jonas Salk, creator of the polio vaccine said, “Hope lies in dreams, imagination and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality.”
Hope is a strength of character. We learn how to hope. Our parents, siblings, churches and schools teach us. We are programmed to be hopeful or cynical or somewhere in between. We are taught what to believe. The good news is that we can learn how to be better at being hopeful, a strength that is most aligned with being happy. We can reap the many physical, mental and social benefits of being hopeful. And in this strange and challenging year of 2020, we can choose to spread hope instead of fear.
Consider these three simple tips from the science of positive psychology to help you get started.
- Use the awesome power of your imagination to visualize your best possible self – the ideal you. See yourself as being physically fit and healthy, confident and successful. Remember and remind yourself of your skills and talents, gifts and abilities. Know that you have everything within you to create the ideal life for you. Imagine your life one year from now. Consider your ideal relationships with family and friends. Contemplate your best self at work and in your community. If you can see it, you can be it.
- Set a goal. Consider being surprised and delighted at completing this goal. Boost your hope. Tell yourself why you can achieve the goal. Remember what you tell yourself determines what you are and are not able to do. Consider at least three ways to reach your goal. Plan your steps and take one step at a time. Each step builds a feeling of a hopeful outcome.
- Good things happen. Bad things happen. Everything is happening FOR you. Give yourself time to consider the good events and how they relate to the actions you take. Consider the lasting effects of your actions. Then consider the bad events and how they are temporary and limited in their effect on you. You may not be responsible for the events happening around you, but you are responsible for your reactions to them. You can choose to focus on the positive which will reinforce your feeling of being optimistic and hopeful.
“There is always a way and always hope in the next sunrise, and in the next second, and in the next minute.” ~ Ziggy Marley
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