“ Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”
– Helen Keller
What is HOPE? Why Do We Need It?
Hope is a positive or optimistic state of mind, body and spirit that is in constant expectation of favorable outcomes for various circumstances and challenging situations. When filled with hope one tends to expect with confidence or cherish a desire with anticipation.
Hope is the thing that keeps people going. It keeps people holding on and fighting, it keeps us trying. It’s the thing that keeps us from despair, giving in and being overcome by darkness. We need it because it shapes our perspective, choices, efforts and therefore many possible outcomes.
What Does Hope Do To Our Brain?
We perceive situations in a similar manner to the way we think about that situation. In turn, the way one thinks about a situation affects the way one deals with that situation. Did you know that the way we think and feel about a situation can change and alter neurological pathways in the brain!
Science has found that when we feel hopeful, this feeling actively changes our brain chemistry as well as the neurological structure of our brain. The brain releases neurochemicals called endorphins and enkephalins when experiencing hopefulness. These chemicals mimic the effects of morphine and as a result when we feel hopeful we are also happy. These neurochemicals are also effective in blocking pain, supporting healing and equipping the brain to overcome all kinds of obstacles – simply because of the hopefulness we carry inside us.
These are dark and difficult days. A feeling of hopefulness can make all the difference! It is in our power to nurture, build and create new neurological pathways that access hope, joy, peace and security. The more you think about something the more habitual those kind of thoughts become and the more a neural pathway is strengthened. We can choose if we want to strengthen positive or negative neurological pathways.
I choose to feed my brain stories and thoughts that paint a clear picture of hope. What thoughts and pictures can you paint for your brain so that you continue to carry hope?
What Brings Hope?
To me the sun brings hope – the sun through my curtains, creeping over the buildings and houses so its rays can find their way into my backyard or onto my soft rug. The thought that spring is coming brings hope that the dark cold days are almost over. The sleeping trees coming to life with tiny buds bring such happy hope and fill my heart with joy. Believing that that there is a higher power, believing that he is good and therefore brings good out of the most difficult circumstances brings great hope and solace.
Maybe you can hope that what has been a seemingly lost year – socially, financially and in many other ways can actually become the year of many unexpected blessings. Keep an eye out for what they might be. The smallest thing can bring hope to your heart. Nothing is insignificant. If it brings you hope, seek it out. What are the things that bring you hope?
What Does Hope Feel Like? How Does It Change Behaviour?
Hope feels like the sun on my face and the wind in my hair. It’s the smell of lavender wafting about the house, or the freshness of the pine tree in my backyard. Hope feels light in my body, it makes me carefree and energizes me, it motivates me to move and keep trying. Hope protects me from the dark heavy blanket of despair. Think about how you can turn a light on in your darkness… and do that!
The power of hope is that it changes our essence as people. It changes the quality of what we are made of. It makes us stronger, more resilient, and ready to take on whatever comes our way. It alters our body, brain and spirit. It pushes the darkness away. Now isn’t that a great reason to nurture hope in our lives.
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