How can you cultivate hope when things look bleak? In many ways, being happy is about having hope for the future. Feeling like there is no hope is one of the most challenging emotions to manage. After all, why would someone even try when he believes there is no hope, and correspondingly, no possibility for things to improve?
Finding hope when it seems like there’s none to be found can be tricky, but it is possible. It’s important to remember that no matter how hopeless things appear, there’s always the opportunity for things to get better. Even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time, things can change.
All of us have challenges at times, and we all have moments where there doesn’t appear to be a way out. Yet everyone who doesn’t give up seems to come out of his or her struggles okay. When you’re feeling down, try these strategies to help bring back hope:
- Consider all the miraculous things you’ve done in your life. You’ve probably learned how to walk, talk, and maybe even how to drive. Perhaps you’ve graduated from high school or college. Let’s think for a minute about learning how to talk. It doesn’t seem very miraculous; nearly everyone learns to do it. But consider how difficult it really is. Babies start out making unintelligible sounds. In a couple of years they can say a few things, though not very well. In a few more years, they can say a fair amount – though still struggle with pronunciation. This is all after years of daily effort. So regardless of what you’re facing, remember your earlier miracles and know you’re entirely capable of working through it. For humans, the seemingly impossible is, in fact, possible.
- Absorb optimism. Surely you’ve come across people who persistently see the bright side of things. They’re the ones that could stand in the middle of the worst thunderstorm the world has ever seen and say, “I think it’s starting to clear up.” Seek out these people and spend time with them. Their optimism will soon start to rub off on you. Talk to them about your challenges; they may have a perspective that can really give you a push in the right direction. Think of activities that might inspire you. Use every tool at your disposal. Faith could be a source of inspiration. Simple joys, like watching children play on the playground, might bring you the spark you seek. Try reading books that chronicle the triumphs of others.
- Spend time with those less fortunate. Volunteering to help the homeless or hospice patients can show you that things aren’t quite as challenging as you originally thought. Sometimes when you observe firsthand how difficult things can be, you develop a different perspective about your own situation. Also, spend some time with miraculous things. For many, nature’s bounty is awe-inspiring, from flowers and waterfalls to butterflies and spider webs. When you see what’s possible, you realize that you’re capable of remarkable things too.
- Be courageous. Often, cultivating hope requires courage to take that first step forward. Give yourself the chance to find your way through your challenges. If you want to find hope in your life, you always can! Although your search for hope might take some work, never give up. Just keep working through it and you’ll discover that you have plenty of reasons to be hopeful.
Another very good option is to seek the help of a trained professional. Regardless of your challenges, there are always ways through them. Times are hard right now, but even as down as your situation seems, there is always at least one thing good in your life. Find it, embrace it, and spread it.