As the year draws to a close I find myself looking back in an effort to determine what lessons there were to learn from such a challenging year. I know we are all eager to bid 2020 adieu but first let’s take a bit of time for reflection. One lesson I’ve learned is the importance of hope and why it’s essential for a beautiful life.
Without hope, life is sad, dreary and meaningless. The past several months have challenged even the most naturally optimistic people (me, included) but I also know how important it is to remain hopeful.
This quote seems especially apropos right now:
Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering ‘it will be happier’… ~ Alfred Tennyson
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Hope: Why It’s Essential For a Beautiful Life
What is hope:
“Hope is an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large.” (1 – links to numbered resources at end of post)
Here are 5 reasons hope is important in creating a beautiful life:
1. Hope is a predictor of mental health.
Not only does it make life more enjoyable, experts say, but hope also provides resilience against things like post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation. Hope offers chemical benefits too, in the form of endorphins and lowered stress levels, things, experts say, make people more productive. (2)
2. Hope brings inner peace.
Hope is the opposite of despair. Whereas despair creates a breeding ground for self-loathing, inaction, and depression, hope allows joy, enthusiasm, and a quiet contentment to grow. Even whilst a challenging situation remains, hope can transform our inner landscape into one that is less affected by the outside environment. (3)
3. Hope is a natural stress-reliever and thus improves immune function.
A report from the Mayo Clinic in the US found a correlation between hopeful thinking and stress management. Researchers found that hopeful individuals are better able to cope with stressful situations, reducing the many and varied harmful effects of stress on the body. (4)
4. Hope improves creativity.
Rebecca Görres at University College Utrecht found that when people were made to think hopefully, their creativity improved! In her study, participants who were instructed to think hopefully were better at making remote associations, generated a higher quantity of ideas, and added more details to their ideas, compared to those who weren’t instructed to think hopefully. This link between hope and creativity makes sense because hope involves coming up with a number of different strategies for obtaining a goal. (5)
5. Hope allows us to be more productive.
(Hope) allows us to be more productive and focussed. Studies have found hopeful people to work more effectively and efficiently than others. This makes hope especially relevant for those who might be feeling demotivated while working from home. (6)
Hope itself is like a star — not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity. ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon
May you feel hopeful as you look toward the year ahead.
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
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