Optimistic people believe that no matter how bad things may be at the moment, things will work out somehow and they will get through it. Pessimistic people can feel like the world is out to get them and they do not have any hope that their lives will improve. Most of us find ourselves fluctuating somewhere between these two states. When life is going relatively smoothly, our ability to be hopeful increases as we have obvious proof that life can be good. However, when we are facing multiple challenges and we feel like our ability to cope with them is insufficient, it is only natural that it eats away at our ability to be hopeful. The good news is that the fact that our level of hopefulness can change over time based on how we are feeling proves that we have some power in increasing our own sense of hopefulness.
Since I have found myself at both ends of the spectrum at various points of my life, I have had the opportunity to recognize that the more hopeful I am, the better I am able to cope and ultimately improve my situation and how I feel about it. I am able to problem solve better, to look and ask for the right supports, to trust in my own abilities and to take the steps needed to get to where I want to go. So I have come to the conclusion that finding ways to cultivate more hope in my life, directly impacts my ability to cope with life’s challenges which ultimately allows me to thrive. And isn’t that what we all want?
I believe that we all have the ability to increase our sense of hopefulness if we choose to. Just like working out our bodies to stay healthy and be stronger, we can work out our minds for our mental health. It does require a sincere desire to make some mental shifts and a commitment to staying open to new possibilities, but it is not as difficult as we may sometimes believe.
If you would like to explore this topic further and how you can add more hope to your life, I am co-hosting a workshop near Ottawa, Ontario on March 24th, 1-3:30, with Jackie Leduc at her Yoga Studio in Cumberland. The cost is $35 and is limited to 8 participants.
For more info or reserve your spot, email me at RobinLWhitford@gmail.com