How to Cultivate Hope Even When Times Get Tough
Do you feel like at the end of a long, hard time, you struggle to continue cultivating hope? I think that is how many of us feel, especially in this current season as we start 2021.
Hope is being optimistic in your expectations for what is to come; it is trusting in the process that things will get better. Hope looks different for each person. It can be seen through a positive attitude about your future. It can be seen as excitement for life. It can be seen as joy when joy may not be most people’s reaction.
Hope is what keeps us going on hard days and through tough times. Not only that, but it can help us to actually make hard times better. When we have an optimistic view, our perspective on hard situations often becomes brighter. Whether you are facing the loss of a job, the diagnosis of a sick family member or just another hard day, finding hope in the midst of it can have a huge impact. It helps us to switch our perspective and see whatever life throws at us in a positive way since we truly believe that things will get better.
4 Ways to Cultivate Hope
Being adaptable can have a huge impact on our ability to be hopeful. Being adaptable is about being able to change and flow with whatever comes your way. When we are adaptable, we can continue holding onto hope no matter what life throws at you. That’s not to say that there won’t be times when you are really thrown off kilter; but when that happens you will be able to return to your center again and continue believing in the hope of your future.
2. Focus on the things that fill you up with positivity
The things that we put into our mind and body are what end up coming out of us. So if we put negativity in, we will get negativity back out. But it gets even more personalized than that. For one person, filling their time with hiking up mountains fills them up and helps generate positivity. Whereas for another, hiking up mountains puts them in the worst mood. Focusing on the things that fill us up and make us happy can be life changing. But it is also two sided; when you increase the things that fill you up, you must also decrease the things that suck the life and positivity out of you. Go out and search for things that help you be the best version of yourself and build up hope and optimism in your life.
3. Gather people around you who amplify hope
Not only do we need to focus on things that will fill us up, but also on the people. When we are surrounded by like minded, hopeful people it makes it much easier to be hopeful. This idea goes hand in hand with focusing on things that fill you up; it just focuses on the people this time. The more you surround yourself with people who are optimistic and hopeful, the easier it will become for you to start doing that as well. And the opposite is true too. If you are often around people who are negative and stuck in their own pity party, chances are you will do that as well.
There will always be people who you just can’t get away from that aren’t helping you be the best version of yourself. And that is ok, some things are out of our control! But, there are still ways to combat that. For every interaction with someone who brings you down, try to have a few extra interactions with someone who helps you be more hopeful. It is not a foolproof solution, but it is bound to help a little! And who knows, the stronger you get in holding onto your hope despite what others say, the more hope you can spread to those who need it most!
4. Focus on what you can do
As we have pointed out before, some things are out of our control. Although this can cause a lot of stress and unease, it is so important to focus on what we can do and put to the side what we can’t. I think we can all attest to the fact that when we feel overwhelmed with things we cannot control, we feel more negativity creeping into our lives. So to combat that, let’s focus on what we can do! For example, if someone you love gets a bad diagnosis, rather than dwelling on that diagnosis, focus on what small, tangible things you can do. Such as, cooking them a meal or spending extra quality time with them. Chances are these small things will not only help you be more hopeful but the other person too.
How No Barriers Cultivates Hope
The programs No Barriers offers exemplify cultivating hope when you have none left. From programs for veterans to youth, you will be challenged to break through your barriers. Erik Weihenmayer, the founder of No Barriers, has a story of hope and optimism that he used to build the No Barriers community. Erik went blind at the age of 13, but he did not let that stop him. To name only a couple of his accomplishments, he has climbed Everest and kayaked the 277 miles of the grand canyon. From these experiences, which you can learn more about here, he developed a mindset of hope as he overcame the barriers in front of him. He turned that idea of breaking barriers into the No Barriers organization we know today. If you are looking for a community to build you up, check out No Barriers programs and get connected!
Finding hope can help you keep going on the toughest of days. And we all need that some days. Put these simple ideas into practice and see how your perspective is changed. With the help of some great community and intentionality, all of your days can be filled with hope and optimism!
January 12, 2021