How to find hope. I’m not sure about you, but my hope levels have been a little low lately. I’m catching glimpses of it every so often. But I can never keep my grip on it for very long. Proverbs say, “He who has health has hope, and he who has hope has everything”. When you don’t have hope, you have no energy or motivation for therapy. Or for any effort to change your situation. What’s the use in reaching out to meet people? You know you’ll be rejected. Why bother exercising or cleaning your home or volunteering? It won’t really make a difference. You know you will always be lonely, depressed, anxious, unemployed, or stuck in the same situation that is making you miserable. You don’t want to risk the pain of further disappointment by even trying.
Unfortunately, this cycle sets up a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you have no hope, no belief in therapy or that any action you take will make any difference, then that may well be the outcome. Change is very difficult. It has multiple ups and downs. And it requires motivation and commitment. But you are strong. You are resilient. And you can find hope. You can choose it. There are a number of ways you can find hope. You just need to be open to it.
Find Hope in Action
When you’re in a state of hopelessness, it can be hard to do many things. Be kind to yourself and do as much as you know you can do. Make your bed. Make a meal. Talk to a friend. Just by doing one thing outside your routine, you can break the sense of powerlessness you have. And by partaking in action, you may come to find they do make a difference over time. Keep doing the ones that help you cope. And then add some more that make you truly happy. Overcoming the inertia of helplessness can help you build hope.
Find Hope in Love
Try to be your authentic self. Let those that are drawn to you and love you help you when you need them. Yes, we all have our own stressors and problems. But we are in them together. Asking for help is one of the hardest things to do. But you have to. Part of friendship is being there to help those you love. Your friends want to help you. We promise they do.
Part of that love is also in loving yourself. As much kindness as you show others, you need to show it to yourself as well. How would you treat someone else who was in your situation? Practice thinking of yourself with compassion.
Find Hope in Kindness and Gratitude
Helping others is rewarding in more ways than one. Performing acts of kindness can have a dramatic effect on your mood and outlook on life. Helping others also gets you out of your own head. And it forces you to think about anything other than the thoughts in your head. Plus, continually performing small acts of kindness can help you feel more connected to others.
Another way to inspire hope is by committing to a gratitude practice. Throughout your day, notice the times life provides you with an opportunity. Recall the things you are most thankful for – because doing it once a year over a turkey isn’t enough! By noticing the blessings in your life, hope will begin to appear and stick around.
Find Hope in Intuition and Mindfulness
We all have a little voice. No, I’m not talking about the mean one. Or the one that keeps you up with worry all night. I’m talking about the little voice that comes from your heart. The little voice that actually knows you. Trust in it. It will guide you down the path you need to be on. You just have to block out the other voices.
Strengthen that voice by practicing mindfulness on a more regular basis. Yes, your thoughts may naturally wander to the past and focus on events that didn’t work out. Or other situations that were painful. When you focus your attention on the here and now, you are able to find more peace and less stress.
Find Hope in People and the Unexpected
Be on the lookout for role models in your life. And they don’t have to be people you know. Look to authors, poets, and artists. Look to athletes. As much as I dislike social media, there are a number of accounts full of positivity and that overcome adversity. Read their stories. Connect with them. Surround yourself with supportive messages and people you can build hope with. Just keep an open heart. Hope sometimes finds us in the most peculiar places. It may just surprise you.
Let CPA Help Too!
We know you need a toolbox full of skills in order to cope with the challenges life throws at us. At CPA, we will always encourage patients to explore coping mechanisms that work best for them. However, we also know that a number of those skills come from counseling and different methods of therapy. Cristina Panaccione and Associates has three locations in the South Hills. We are currently accepting a limited number of new patients, so check out our videos to learn more about how we can help teach you the skills to find hope!
Let hope heal you. Let hope change you. And let hope let you change the world.
Darlene Friend – MSW, LCSW, EMDR
Darlene graduated from California University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Social Work. As well as an Aging Specialist Certificate in Gerontology. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Pennsylvania. And a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in West Virginia. She provides individual therapy, family therapy, and couples counseling, as well as group services. She is experienced in a wide variety of mental health conditions ranging from chronic and persistent mental illness to adjustment disorders and grief. Darlene specializes in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), therapy utilized for big and little traumas that affect the whole person. She received training in many areas of behavioral health such as trauma and sexual assault. She incorporates multiple modalities and evidenced-based practices in therapy. This includes transactional analysis, cognitive behavioral therapy, and motivational interviewing.