Stay hopeful in a difficult situation

Habitomic Journalist
Habitomic Journalist

Hope can mean something different to everyone. You can think about hope in different ways: You can feel it as an emotion, use it as one way to motivate yourself to action, or as part of a coping mechanism that gets you through some form of loss.

Feeling hopeful can be anything from lifting your mood, to giving you something to focus on, or something to look forward to in the future. It doesn’t have to mean that you feel like everything is going to be amazing right away, but it’s about building belief in yourself that things can get better.

When you find it difficult to be hopeful, remember that hope is something that you can practice and build upon bit by bit. No matter how small you start, allowing ourselves to linger on positive and hopeful moments each day can help us start to feel more resilient.

Being hopeful makes you an optimist, which the APA defines as someone who “anticipates positive outcomes, whether serendipitously or through perseverance and effort, and who [is] confident of attaining desired goals.”

And for those with mental illnesses, such as depression or anxiety, cultivating hope and resilience can be key to managing their symptoms, Richard Tedeschi, Ph.D., a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte specializing in trauma recovery and bereavement days.

What are the benefits of having hope:

The benefits of hope include:

  • Being more positive.
  • Better health and an improved immune system.
  • Better emotional control.
  • Less stress and anxiety. Anxiety comes when you negatively imagine your future. Feeling hopeful creates positive thoughts and images about the future. This naturally lowers stress and anxiety.
  • Higher levels of self-esteem and self-worth.
  • Better social life and relationships because you are more fun to be with.
  • Healing quicker from injuries because of higher levels of dopamine, endorphins, and other neurochemicals that help the healing process and also give you more energy.
  • Being more creative, productive, and better at your work.

 So, when you are hopeful,

  • You believe in the present and have fewer regrets about the past or worries about the future.
  • You are more creative, and better at solving problems.
  • You have a positive view of your problems and challenges, and your ability to deal with them.
  • You appreciate yourself and others more, and you are grateful for the things you already have.
  • You are willing to try new things and find out what works for you and what doesn’t.

Why bother trying to be hopeful when things are so overwhelmingly bad?

“Basically, so we don’t feel so miserable and afraid about the things that we face in life that are inevitably going to come around from time to time,” dr. Tedeschi says. “If we can face them with a sense that there’s something we can do about them, life becomes easier to live.” Essentially, hope can be the catalyst to get us to create other behaviors that do make things a little easier. And performing those behaviors can, in turn, fuel more hope.

How do be more hopeful in a difficult situation?

These are some tips to help you create space for gratitude and your version of hope.

1. Surround yourself with hopeful people.

When you surround yourself with hopeful, positive people, it will rub off on you and you’ll learn what they do to be more hopeful.

2. Remember times when things went well.

There were certainly times in your life when you achieved something amazing, something that you didn’t hope or believe you could. Notice those times.

What are they for you? Perhaps it was getting a certain job, maybe your first job. Perhaps it was a change of career or finding your soulmate and getting married.

There are lots of things you achieved in life. Go back and look at them. It will help you feel more hopeful about your current challenges and the future.

3. Keep taking action and be patient.

Be persistent and don’t give up. Have the patience to see things through to their logical conclusion.

4. Try to keep some semblance of a self-care routine.

Cultivating hope starts with being able to authentically identify how you’re feeling in a particular moment, identifying how you would rather be feeling, and building or drawing on the tools in your life to help you feel that way. That might start with individual activities or self-care practices but will and should involve participating in genuine, healthy relationships as well.

5. Lean into honest, authentic connections.

It’s really hard to become more hopeful if you don’t have the space to acknowledge that you’re having a hard time with that right now. That’s why the first step of building hope (and resilience) is to look at the situation head-on and acknowledge the true terribleness of it, ideally with other people who are skilled active listeners

Having relationships with people you feel safe enough to have open, vulnerable conversations about what you’re dealing with—and being able to work through those feelings together in a productive way—is the real key,

6. Be Kind.

Kindness not only feels good, but it is also good for you. Performing good deeds for others takes your mind off of your troubles and fosters relationships with those around you and in your community. You may even make a difference for someone else who is struggling. This could be as simple as sharing hopeful thoughts and quotes on Facebook or Instagram.

7. Take Care of Yourself.

Get sleep, eat right, and do indoor activities that restore balance. When you feel stressed or overwhelmed, take breaks and engage in self-care. You can’t foster hope if your body is spent and your mind is failing.

8. Go for a walk with a friend.

Something simple like going on a walk with a friend can help you through a difficult time. It’s a great opportunity to connect with nature and talk about how you’re feeling whether on the phone or in person.

9. Pause for a moment.

When you’re going through a difficult time, you may feel overwhelmed. Taking the time to pause and reflect may help you to manage your thoughts and embrace positive moments.

10. Try a breathing exercise.

Taking a minute to slow down and focus on your breathing can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. You can practice this technique anywhere. Start by breathing in for four seconds, holding your breath for four seconds, and slowly breathing out. Repeat as needed.

11. Take time to appreciate.

When we feel stressed or overwhelmed, it can be hard to slow down and recognize positive moments in our day. When something good happens, try to give yourself time to enjoy the moment. Try to find a quiet moment where you don’t have to rush. Take small, slow sips, reminding yourself to notice and appreciate every mouthful.

12. Challenge negative beliefs.

Sometimes we think negative things about ourselves without questioning these thoughts. Try to take a step back and ask yourself why do you think you believe these thoughts about yourself? Is there a different, more positive way I could look at this situation?

13. Practice gratitude.

Gratitude, like hope, is something that we sometimes need to practice and build into our everyday lives. There are lots of different ways you can reflect on the things you’re grateful for, whether big or small, to help you feel more positive.

You can keep a gratitude journal. It may be useful to write down the things you’re grateful for. This can help to allow you to be more mindful of how you’re truly feeling and help you improve your optimism. By writing things down, you can also return to them if you ever need a reminder.

14. Have Goals.

Think of something you’d like to work towards. Big or small, it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s meaningful and gives you a sense of purpose. Having a tangible goal will help you get up and face the day, even when all seems pointless

15. Ask for Help.

Asking for assistance can be scary, but it can also make a world of difference. You may be surprised at the solutions and ideas others can provide. Even if they don’t have the answers, they can give you the help and support you need to make it through a rough time.

To sum up, being hopeful in our life that we face a lot of struggles every day is so difficult but it matters because we can overcome these situations better. Try these tips to make yourself a hopeful person in your life.