Alexander Pope said, “Hope springs eternal”. It is actually a trait of our human psyche, so this week, I want to talk about hope and how to cultivate it.
Hope can be both positive and negative. On the positive side, hope gives people a positive outlook on the future. On the negative side, it allows some to put the call to action on other people rather than themselves.
Think “I hope someone figures out this global warming thing” while they themselves continue to drive a gas-guzzling vehicle and not recycle.
But let’s stick to the positive outlook side of things.
In today’s world, it’s easy to lose hope and focus on all the bad stuff going on. Finding fault with everyone, everything, and even yourself. The suggestions below are a way to fight that negativity bias we all came into the world with (thank you, evolution…).
Hope: Consciously Cultivating It
According to one study, conducting a five-minute-long thought exercise each day can significantly increase optimism after only one day. Imagine the benefits if you do this regularly!
During that thought exercise, try one of these:
- Positively visualize your future self – What is she doing on a day like today? What’s different about her? Why is she smiling so much?
- Reflect on one positive moment each day – Even in the worst days, there is a glimmer somewhere that can be reflected upon. On a dreary day, you don’t have to water your pots. On a hot and humid day, sit inside in the AC while admiring the sunshine outside.
- Think about a personal strength of yours – This can be tough since we LOVE to figure out our flaws! But you bring something to the table, each and every day. What is that today?
- Celebrate a goal achieved, even if it’s an easy one – Stack the deck if you have to. Yes, I drink a mug of tea every morning. But YAY! I just finished my mug of tea and it was fantastic!
- Reframe a stressful situation – I like to do this on the drive home when I’ve had a rough day at work. Think things like “Yes, my boss got on my case, but he doesn’t do that usually. He must have a lot going on right now, to act so out of character.”
- Find beauty in the little things – This is my favorite one, and my journal reflects that. Last night my husband and I went for a walk. It was a breezy 50 degrees, but it was dusk and the sky was cloudless and full of pinks, purples, and oranges. Gorgeous. So I ignored my cold legs and concentrated on that sky.
Let’s make our lives easier by thinking and focusing on a happy, hopeful thought for just 5 minutes each day. Although I’m not an advocate of multi-tasking, this one can be done in conjunction with other tasks, like driving or showering. Or even waiting for the mug of tea to brew!
Leaving you with this from the lighter side: You can live to be 100 if you give up all the things that make you want to live to 100!