Cultivating Hope is Good for Our Mental Wellbeing.
This year its been hard to feel hopeful. It’s been a year full of challenges and uncertainty, not to mention loss and loneliness. However the science tell us that having hope or feeling hopeful is good for our mental wellbeing and the good news is that even if we’re not naturally hopeful its something we can learn.
The Benefits of Hope
Having hope can help us be more resilient and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. It can also help us to feel empowered and have a stronger sense of purpose and meaning. Hope can play an important role in lessening the impact of our negative thoughts and negative life events and may support us in making healthier choices. A 2020 study also concluded that hope is a common element and strong predictor of recovery from mental health issues such as anxiety and OCD.
In short, hope improves our mental wellbeing by increasing our resilience. This means we are able to move on more quickly from negative events, challenges and experiences.
Ways to Cultivate Hope for 2021
In times of change and uncertainty we may need to take conscious daily action, to be able to have hopeful thoughts and feelings. Here are three things to try:
- Practice Gratitude – Try keeping a journal or making a note of three good things each day. They don’t have to be huge things but by noticing the good things and being thankful we can create feelings of hope for the future.
- Limit your exposure to the media (including social media) – Both have a negative effect on feelings of hope as they tend to focus on the negative things that are happening and we can fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to others.
- Focus on your strengths and values – Think about how you can use them to move forward with clarity and overcome any challenges you may face.
2021 may be just around the corner but with practice you can begin to feel more hopeful about what it has in store and reap the benefits it has to offer to your mental wellbeing.