Kindling the spirit of hope has profound effects on our wellbeing—reframing overwhelming thoughts of catastrophe with a motivated mindset for the challenges which lie ahead. Considered in this context, hope can empower actions that create new outcomes—helping us see unexpected possibilities and solutions to our problems.
The protracted state of the global pandemic has the potential to deplete our natural inclination towards hope, but we don’t have to wait for it to show up—we can seek and create it for ourselves, says wellbeing expert Jaquie Scammell.
Discovering hope in unexpexted places
On my morning walk, I passed a small café serving coffee and bacon and egg rolls alongside heartfelt tunes playing on a DJ deck. It was a picture of hope. I got chatting to Bob, the owner who, when faced with lockdown, saw an opportunity to keep his staff employed and his doors open.
He explained that the business was doing okay before COVID-19, however when he knew the lockdowns were here to stay, he wanted to give local customers confidence and trust he would be open for them no matter what, which would mean they would come back each week. This is creating hope. He believed that risk is opportunity and if he is passionate about creating great food and giving great service, the employees will feel safe and trust him. He created hope by taking away uncertainty and fear for his employees and the local customers.
This unexpected experience left me with a feeling of hope. Never have I enjoyed a bacon and egg roll more than I did that day!
Hope is important, and it is a personal experience that comes in many shapes and sizes. It can spark imagination and inspiration among others. In fact, that Sunday morning walk where I witnessed Bob’s breakfast BBQ and upbeat music inspired me to run home and write this article.
Hope carries a certain vibration
You know hope is within you when something puts a smile on your face, draws you in a little closer and makes you feel safe, content with no evidence of what is coming next.
Hope is a feeling to expect something with confidence, which of course leads to trust and the benefits of hope are endless.
Hope has the potential to enhance well- being over time, enhance interpersonal relationships, help reduce the intensity of a situation and can protect you against anxiety developing.
Yet hope can be fleeting if we don’t act on it when it arises.
How to cultivate hope as a mindset
In every corner of the world right now, we all are frightened of something. We humans continually seek certainty because certainty feels safe, which leads to hope.
So how do we cultivate that same feeling of hope when there is no certainty or limited evidence of feeling safe? We hope for things to change for the better. My niece is hoping for school to open next week, my mother is hoping to make some friends when she comes out of lockdown, my partner is hoping his business will bounce back eventually after 80% of his workforce being let go. No matter the lens you view your world through, hope is the spark that will leave people with possibility and belief that eventually leads to change.
As psychologist and renowned hope researcher Charles Snyder, who wrote the book The Psychology of Hope stated so eloquently:
This brave new world asks people to step up, be brave, and create hope. If not for your own mindset, then for others around you. There are many people using their own hope to create hope for others by transforming their hopes through action to benefit our world.
Here’s a guide for cultivating a Hope mindset to support you each day.
Have expectations for the best outcomes in any situation, for your best life to be realised. Have expectations that good days are ahead. Hope, unlike optimism, is focussing on agency. Hopeful people believe their actions can bring about desired goals or outcomes.
Stay open with receptivity and remain wide open and full of possibility. Yes, there are many constraints in life, but there are always creative options and alternatives not yet discovered and so paying attention to insights and experiences that are right in front of your nose may be the very clues to show you what is possible.
When you see hope in your family, workplace or community, praise those who give hope and let them know what they have sparked inside of you. If a stranger or someone closer to you has positively altered your feeling of hope in some shape or form, tell them.
When you feel hope, it will be an instant, and it’s important to act on it when you experience hope. Allow the feeling to wash over you in your being and use that to take action to create something that affects the change you seek. Building hope can start with a small step, and with each step, you will feel more confident and more in control.
Live for today, don’t bet on ‘what’s coming’ but rather bet on hope. It’s a far more fulfilling way to live.
Get first access to a special volume of BEJournal celebrating WILD HOPE!