The Trick Is to Never Lose HopeNone By Sandip Roy
In plainspeak, hope is a desire for a thing to happen. It is an anticipation, an aspiration, an expectation. It's not "wishful thinking"; what makes it different is that within hope lies a core of belief—that is the essence of hope.
But however strong its core of belief, the outer shell of hope is fuzzy and made of uncertainty. What we hope for may not eventually happen, and the joys that we pegged upon those hopes may possibly come to naught.
So, if hoping means we have to desire positively while embracing uncertainty, is it not a purposeless endeavor? Should we hope at all?
The Science of Hope
The answer, in one word, is Yes. We should hope.
The science says so. Research has found that high-hope people have lower levels of depression and anxiety, and higher levels of happiness and wellbeing. Not only that, people with better abilities to hope cope better when dealing with burns and spinal-cord injuries, severe arthritis, myalgic encephalomyelitis (chronic fatigue syndrome), and even cancer. They also perform better in sports and academics.
Dr Shane J. Lopez, a leading researcher on hope and author of Making Hope Happen, defines hope as “the belief that the future will be better than the present, along with the belief that you have the power to make it so.”
He says that to hope successfully—and thereby knock off some degrees of uncertainty—we must begin with these four core beliefs:
As Zen master, global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh said, “Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.”
How to Make Hope Work for You
Many of us have been told since childhood the cliché that "where there is a will, there is a way." This means if you’re determined enough, you can find ways to achieve what you want, even if it's difficult. Experiments by psychologists have taken this further and proved that there is indeed a pound of truth in it.
In their 1991 paper, researchers Snyder, Irving and Anderson defined hope as “a positive motivational state that is based on an interactively derived sense of successful agency and pathways.”
Dr. Charles "Rick" Snyder, the late professor of psychology at the University of Kansas who dedicated his life to researching hope, laid out a model that requires three things to come together to create hopeful thinking: