Hope can be one of the hardest things to discover in difficult times, but it is vital to hold onto when the going gets tough. Being hopeful is about developing a state of mind that believes we can have a brighter future tomorrow even when things are not looking great today.
Desmond Tutu is one of the world’s most prominent spiritual leaders and after facing immense challenges in his life he was able to describe hope as “being able to see that there is a light despite all the darkness.” Finding hope when it seems like there’s none to be found can be hard, but it is possible.
Here are five ways you and those around you can stay hopeful in challenging times.
1) Pause and reflect
When you feel yourself getting caught up with the rollercoaster of life it is easy to feel like things are spinning out of control. Every negative scenario fills your mind and you end up losing all sense of perspective. In these moments, just pause for a minute, take a breath and reflect on what your next steps will be. Taking time to press pause is sometimes the best action you can take to find that spirit of hope again.
2) Remember what you are thankful for
No matter how hard things get there is always something to be grateful for. It is possible to catch a glimmer of hope from unexpected places. What can you see around you that you are thankful for? Who are you most appreciative to have in your life? Practicing gratitude makes you better equipped to handle what comes your way with a hopeful spirit.
3) Limit your Bad News intake
Every day is full of both good and bad reports, but it is the bad news that seems to travel faster. Be careful not to excessively watch, listen to or engage with media that makes you feel hopeless and fearful. Create a challenge today to deliberately look for hope in the news and see what difference it makes.
4) Focus on what you can look forward to
We can still acknowledge the difficulty of our situation in the world around us while still living with hope. One way to do this is to actively think of what you can look forward to beyond your present situation. What does a positive future look like for you when you find your breakthrough? Where could you travel to as an exciting destination? What kind of book could you write? What about getting that dream job or even starting a business? Thinking about a future vision always inspires hope and reminds you there is another chapter still to come.
“It seems to me, we have a lot of story left to tell.” – Walt Disney
5) Talk to hopeful people
Most of us know at least one person who can persistently see the bright side of life. And it is also true to say we know some people who leave us feeling drained too! Making a video or phone call to someone you care about might just be the thing you need to bring a dose of much needed encouragement. Even when we can’t meet others face to face, we can still choose who we spend our time with. When you engage in any community, on or offline, you need to ask yourself questions like “Does this person or group make me feel more or less hopeful?”