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Having hope – either as a personality trait or about specific things in the moment – has benefits for our mental and physical health:

  • An optimistic outlook reduces your risk of heart attack because the opposite outlook – being stressed, especially for long periods of time – is so hard on your body. 
  • Hope and optimism can have positive effects on blood pressure.
  • Hope, optimism and a positive outlook in general protect against chronic illnesses.
  • Hope can reduce physical pain.

Plus, hope just feels better than dread! Here are some proven ways to feel more hopeful and optimistic:

  • Keep a gratitude journal. Recognizing all the positives in your life helps you begin to expect that more are coming.
  • Super-charge your gratitude journal by noting what role you played in making those good things happen. I’ve created a “What Went Well and Why” template you can download for free here.
  • Create hope by giving some to others through acts of kindness and generosity.
  • Imagine an outcome you’d like to see and take one tiny step to make it happen. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
  • Think back on all the things you’ve succeeded at before. Remind yourself of the qualities within you that contributed to those wins. Confidence and hope are built by positive experiences.
  • Take stock of all the resources you can draw on to make things happen, like the people in your life, the internet, books, non-profit organizations, a therapist or coach and your church, if you attend one.

 

Hope is the thing with feathers
that perches in the soul
and sings the tune without the words
and never stops at all.

~ Emily Dickinson ~