By Ismail M Taher…
Many of us have gone and still go through a lot of obstacles, difficulties and pain throughout our journeys in life; people vary when it comes to the degree of pain and suffering they experience, and they also vary drastically when it comes to the methods or mechanisms they apply in order to get through those rough times and remain strong.
There are an infinite number of ways or coping mechanisms that people utilize in order to overcome their pain and progress forward through life, and those coping mechanisms may include constructive methods like sports, healthy eating, working out, traveling, or hanging out with positive people, or, destructive coping mechanisms, such as smoking, binge eating, self-harming, drugs, and other sorts of addictive behaviors.
Personally, I’ve had my fair share of both constructive and destructive coping mechanisms, and had some limited or short-lived successes with some of them, but ultimately, the one and only thing that proved the most potent in getting me through even the hardest of times, was hope.
I know, it may sound a little simple, too obvious or nothing is new to your ears, but the truth is, once you realize the importance of hope, you’ll never think of it the way you did in the past.
In an article published by Dale Archer MD (Follow him on twitter here) on Psychology today, Doctor Archer does an amazing job at accurately describing the significance of hope for mental health struggles:
“If I could find a way to package and dispense hope, I would have a pill more powerful than any antidepressant on the market. Hope is often the only thing between man and the abyss. As long as a patient, individual or victim has hope, they can recover from anything and everything,
However if they lose hope, unless you can help them get it back, all is lost. One thing I can tell you is that hope is an emotion that springs from the heart, not the brain. Hope lays dormant until its amazing strength is beckoned, supplying a sheer belief that you will overcome, you will persevere and you will endure anything and everything that comes your way.”
As you just read, the previous paragraph brilliantly sums up why maintaining hope for a better tomorrow is crucial to your mental health and well-being; below, I’ll explain in detail why hope is so critical and what you can do about it:
#1: Hope promises you a better future.
When you’re going through psychological and emotional pain or other types of common struggles people face on a daily basis, hope is one of the most important (if not the most important) factor in getting you through any hardships. Personally, I’ve discovered that whenever I’m passing through a rough day, month, or even a whole year, the only thought that pushes me through is the thought of a better, happier, more fulfilling future. So, for me hope was an essential element in helping me overcome numerous difficulties or hardships.
#2: Hope comforts you during pain.
From what I experienced, the only thing that was successful in lessening whatever pain I’d be going through is hope. It’s one of the comforting thoughts when you’re completely submerged inside your own head, but there’s a tiny voice screaming at you from a distance, and shouting: “Hey, it’s OK! You have been through worse and so far you’ve survived 100% of hardships!”
#3: Hope combats negativity.
When you’re going through pain or hardships, it sometimes becomes so easy to get caught up in all that overwhelming negativity and find it next to impossible to remain even the slightest bit positive. Hope, in that case, serves a life ring, a savior that shows up at the right time and sprinkles just a little bit of positivity and brightness onto your depressed and dark thoughts. Hope, comes at the right times and always reminds us that whatever we’d be feeling at that particular moment is not permanent, and change is possible.
#4: Hope is the core of optimism and success.
To say that behind every positive, optimistic or generally successful person is a solid foundation of hope is not an understatement. Most, if not all, notable figures that positively impact the world every minute have had their fair shares of suffering and struggles, and the only thing that made them continue their fighting through all the obstacles is just plain old hope coupled with optimism.
To further prove my point, I'll include a link to an impressive speech by Oprah Winfrey, in which she stresses on the importance of hope.
#5: Hope inspires constructive action.
The benefits of having a hopeful and optimistic mindset don’t just end at making you feel better or overcome any adversities, but it actually inspires and motivates you into taking constructive and concrete steps to resolve and/or overcome the negative situation. In other words, hope is not just a blissful feeling or an unrealistic concept, it’s a feeling that has real world implications and can push you forward when you badly need it.
In an article on Psychology Today by Scott Barry Kaufman (You can follow him there), Kaufman talks about how hope can be quantified, I’ll quote some of the article’s words here:
“Hope is not a brand new concept in psychology. In 1991, the eminent positive psychologist Charles R. Snyder and his colleagues came up with Hope Theory. According to their theory, hope consists of agency and pathways. The person who has hope has the will and determination that goals will be achieved, and a set of different strategies at their disposal to reach their goals. Put simply: hope involves the will to get there, and different ways to get there.
Hope is not just a feel-good emotion but a dynamic cognitive motivational system. Under this conceptualization of hope, emotions follow cognitions, not the other way round. Hope-related cognitions are important. Hope leads to learning goals, which are conducive to growth and improvement. People with learning goals are actively engaged in their learning, constantly planning strategies to meet their goals, and monitoring their progress to stay on track. A bulk of research shows that learning goals are positively related to success across a wide swatch of human life—from academic achievement to sports to arts to science to business.”
So, as you have just read, hope is not only a positive emotion that gives you comfort and help you overcome any hardships, but hope is actually an essential player when It comes to providing you with the drive and motivation to take real action instead of passively waiting for the difficulties to resolve themselves.
#6: Hope is conducive to the law of attraction.
The benefits and rewards of being hopeful and optimistic do not just end here, because hope is one of the key factors behind the famous “Law of attraction”. Simply put, the law of attraction states that whatever mindset, beliefs, desires, wants, fears or hopes you project out to the world; you’ll attract that exact same thing.
So, if you have a generally pessimistic and cynical outlook at life and human beings, there is a great chance that you’ll only be running into negative people all day. On the other side, if you’re mindset is about abundance, success, love and happiness, you’ll probably end up manifesting those desires and beliefs in real life.
So where does hope actually fit into the law of attraction?
In an article by the attraction coach and marketer Andrea Conway, titled “Law of attraction: Hope is a choice”, Andrea touches a bit on the significance of hope when it comes to attracting positivity and happiness, in her article she says:
“Sometimes here on the Earth plane you will feel hopeless. A victim of circumstances beyond your control.
We ask “why did this happen to me?” – But it’s a pointless question.
Life gives each of us opportunities to feel all emotions and to have limitless experiences. To think that getting really good at managing your vibration will magically keep you safe from everything unwanted is a wishful fantasy.
If you could be pure positive energy every single minute, you wouldn’t be living on this Earth plane. But you’re here, and experiencing contrast is part of the deal.
Contrast isn’t here to stop you. It’s here to help you soar.
Whenever you observe contrast – whether from health, relationship or financial issues, or from fear for your own future or the future of your family or your country – and it’s left you feeling hopeless, it is time to choose hope.
What triggered the contrast is now in your past. How you move forward from this point is your choice.
You are free to choose hope or faith – even when you have no idea how things can change.
We all can feel hopeless, but we are never helpless, because we are creations of Spirit. There’s no more powerful catalyst for change and reclaiming of your own power than contrast.
Use contrast to reclaim your hope or your faith, and choose to keep moving forward”
Reading her brilliantly crafted words, Andrea does a remarkable job in explaining the power of choice, which in simple terms means that every human being is capable of choosing between succumbing to his dire circumstances and remain a slave for his past, or decide not to remain passive, and take real constructive action armed with hope for a brighter future, to manifest his true desires and fulfillment in life.
#7: Hope is the pillar for a stable mental health.
We have talked about how important having hope can be in helping you overcome your struggles and create a better future, but hope is not only beneficial when it comes to a bright future, but it’s impact on mental health can be felt right now, and at every single moment we’re alive.
In an anonymous personal story published on the website of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the role of hope when it comes to mental health becomes highly evident, and I’ll quote some of his/her words here:
“Having hope is huge! I didn’t understand what hope was or why there was a reason to have it. However, in hindsight, I know that there are always hope and possibilities.
I continue to stay in tune with my depression and notice when/why I may be feeling more down. As a mental health professional, I had difficulty believing I could be on the helping team if I too struggled. We all struggle. It’s important to speak from our scars and not our wounds, but I think we should still talk about our experiences. That’s why I’m writing today. “
It’s quite obvious in the impressive description above, that maintaining positive hope about the future is a key element when it comes to mental and psychological health.
If you’re currently going through a tough time and/or struggling within any areas of life, don’t ever feel bad, because you’re not alone! Your pain and suffering are completely valid, and understood with empathy and compassion.
What I really want you, the dear reader, to do is to embrace hope and practice it daily whether in the form of subconscious thoughts or daily verbal affirmation. Whatever the method is, you always need to have hope.
I know, things may look extremely dark, and it might appear that there is no and won’t be any light at the end of the tunnel. But I assure you! And take it from someone who’ve experienced that darkness before, there IS and WILL be a light at the end of the tunnel, you just need to believe, and embrace the positive hope about the future, and I will assure you, a combination of the right mindset with real action towards the solution of a problem will get you much further than you could have ever expected…
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