What is hope and why is it important to practice?
In this blog, I want to talk about hope, one of Seligman and Peterson’s 24 character strengths everyone has, making up the best of our personality and having a positive impact on our life. On the website of the Via Institute, you can do a free survey which will rank your 24 character strengths. Our top five strengths will lead us to be successful and help us overcome transitions in life.
Let me start by saying this. When it comes to saving our planet, I find it difficult to be hopeful that solutions will be secured in time. Moreover, working for a NGO that protects children and families crossing borders, I fear climate change will result in even more mass migrations and thus multiply displaced children and families.
So, let’s try to focus on ourselves and see how hope can help each of us to be our best self and to have a positive impact not only on our own happiness but also on our environment.
What is hope?
According to the Via Institute, hope has to do with positive expectations about the future. It involves optimistic thinking and focusing on good things to come. Hope is more than a feel-good emotion. It is an action-oriented strength involving action, motivation and confidence that goals can be reached, and also that many different ways exist to get to that desired future. The Via Institute underlines three principles
Hope focuses on the future; The things we hope for are often future events.
Hope brings happiness; Hope grows out of faith and gives meaning and purpose to all that we do. Hope allows to find meaning in our day to day activities.
Hope sustains daily living; Everyone experiences discouragement and difficulty. Hope sustains us through despair. Fall hard, rise again.
How to practice hope?
I believe we need hope to help us go through transitions in life. So how can we practice the two main ingredients of hope, i.e. optimism and positive thinking? Here are a few tools I use as a coach;
Visualise your best future and write it down. How can you visualise your future? For example, you can imagine a speech your friends would give about you at a big party in your honour, looking back at your life. What would they say about your achievements? What would they say about your strengths and talents ? What kind of jokes would they make about you? Write this down and review in difficult moments when you are losing hope.
Think about how you can have a positive impact on your local environment and people around you. How can you achieve this impact? Which activities can you implement?
Keep a journal with your monthly or yearly objectives and write down the actions you have to undertake to achieve your objectives, keep track of your progress.
Identify your negative thoughts and try to reverse them. Check if they are real, are they a result of fear and what happened in similar situations in the past. What would you say to a friend who is struggling with negative thoughts? Check out my post I have written on this.
Cultivate gratitude and keep a gratitude journal. Write down the positive things and small achievements that happened in your life yesterday, today, this month. Say thanks! It is important to write them down so you can revisit whenever you have the need and see how you have evolved.
How will you practice hope? Share in the comments if you like.
Thank you for reading my blog, I hope you find it useful.😉