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Hopeful about hope. Wednesday June 12, 2013

For many people, a low mood is experienced as an absence of hope. Depression and anxiety make us feel literally hope-less. But what is hope?

Hope is the opposite of despair. It's more than just desire, it's also the belief that a good outcome is possible.

Hope is the feeling that what you want can be had. It's looking forward to something desirable with reasonable confidence that it will happen. In other words, part of hope is the expectation of obtainment. That's why having unrealistic expectations is a fool's errand.

To build hope, it's crucial to have milestones so you can measure your progress and sustain your anticipation of success. You can't wish or will yourself into a state of hope because hope is a consequence rather than an end in itself.

There are two keys to building your stock of hope:

First, you need to set goals with substantial benefits. You have to believe that achieving your goal will bring bona fide benefits - you need to incentivize yourself. There's a direct correlation between the value of an incentive and the effort we are willing to put into it.

Second, you need to believe that you are capable of achieving it. What's your plan of campaign? What's your timetable? What outside help do you need? The clearer you are about your plan, the bigger your hope will grow.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our Blogspot:

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Victoire Wed, Jun 12th 2013 @ 8:55am

This is very timely for me, Andrew. I have been feeling increasingly hopeless lately but if I look closer its actually a purposeless feeling, as if i'm merely drifting (or wading) through the days... no clear purpose other than day to day survival (how depressing that sounds!). I think I may do what you say, which is to try and find hope in a vacuum, it doesn't work, its like trying to catch a cobweb, it vanishes as soon as you touch it. THis only increases the sense of hopelessness. I have lost motivation but to get that back, maybe I need to focus more on goals. Specific goals rather than the general "how to get through today" type goal. It needs to be more selective, reflecting my interests and values. So thank you, this has given me a push, and I shall try today to put some of it into action. I think I tend to tackle life with such big sweeping goals such as "I must get myself together" or "I must sort my life out" which are too vague and far too large. Perhaps by narrowing the range, and looking with closer detail, I can find smaller goals, which over time will build to the bigger ones. A start would be to decide what I can do today towards this. Maybe a list of my interests, what do I really enjoy doing. When do I feel that sense of connection? That sense of authenticity? it certainly doesn't come from spending too much time browsing the internet (so addictive) so now I'm going to Switch Off and have a shower and get the day underway!

Faye Wed, Jun 12th 2013 @ 10:04am

This is extremely timely for me too! Thankyou so much! I'm just about to start my third children's book - I've been fighting for two ears to get the contract, but now it's here I feel overwhelmed by the amount of work, petrified by the pressure and convinced it will never be good enough. (Am prone to these emotional patterns). You have inspired me to sit down and PLAN - to work through the doubt and fear in a constructive, positive way - to create hope. Thank you!

Faye Wed, Jun 12th 2013 @ 10:05am

Ears?! Ha! That'd be years.

Anonymous Wed, Jun 12th 2013 @ 11:39am

So important to have little goals - which contribute towards the big one - for me -its do some reading for my course - have a swim, make some notes for an essay - the last not easy - but not as difficult as I thought - as usual! Little chunks is my motto!

Rosemary Berry Wed, Jun 12th 2013 @ 12:54pm

Short and succinct. However, I have always refused to have One Plan. If your one and only plan crashes - as my plans do - at least you have Plan B, C etc. I have survived with this strategy, but without any significant achievements. What does anyone else think? One Plan or One Plan plus fall-back plans?

Anonymous Wed, Jun 12th 2013 @ 12:58pm

Very timely! Since it is a consequence, I'll go to physical therapy for my fx knee cap this morning. Was considering not going since it is so sore (I fell over weekend and reinjured it)and I slept with ice pack on it last night. PT can treat the pain better, and if I can exercise, I feel really better with exercise. I am feeling better already. Thank you.

Hamid Wed, Jun 12th 2013 @ 2:02pm

There is no harm in have more than one plan. But the important thing is to focus on THE one plan. If it fails, you can switch the plan.

Anonymous Sun, Jun 16th 2013 @ 8:20pm

I dont really have hope. There are no goals I want to achieve because i have failed at so many things so I dont have hope about those things bc they dont exist for me.

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