Seven Ways to Renew Hope in Your Life
By: Tania Staley
“Hope is not a dream but a way of making dreams become reality”—L. J. Suenens
We all have times in our lives when we begin to lose hope. Stress, financial burdens, poor health, loss, and monotony are just a few of the things that can put a strain on our ability to hope for a better tomorrow. It is easy to get caught up in failures at work or sleepless nights and forget that we have real joy in our lives. When we find ourselves weighed down by these burdens, it is important to take action to renew our joy and hope. Our mental well-being must be taken care of just like our physical well-being. Here are a few ways to renew hope in your life.
Consider the Positive Aspects of Your Life
It’s easy to get caught up in the aspects of our lives that are negative and forget about how many are actually positive. How often do your conversations with loved ones focus on complaints you have about work? Directing your energy toward the negative aspects of your life can make them worse. Instead, try to focus on at least one good thing that happens each day. Perhaps you got a good night’s sleep for the first time in a while, had lunch at your favorite restaurant, or talked to a dear friend on the phone. When you concentrate on the good things in your life and put more importance on them, the bad things will have less control over your mood and overall well-being.
Accept the Things You Can’t Change and Move Forward
Bad things happen to good people. Unfortunately, this is a fact of life. However, we can choose how we handle our misfortunes. It is important to realize we must let go of the things we can’t change and move on. If difficult circumstances can be improved, then make every attempt to come up with a plan to fix them. Don’t simply dwell on the fact that they have occurred.
Focus on Your Gifts
How many of us look in the mirror and bemoan what we see reflected back at us? How many of us wish we were more talented? Instead of focusing on what is impossible for you change about yourself, focus on what is feasible for you to change or improve. Are you a good friend, a talented singer, or a hard worker? All of us have gifts that improve the lives of those around us. If you are having trouble thinking of the qualities you have that help others, ask your close friends and family what they think those qualities are. Tell them you’re having a rough time and need some help appreciating your own value.
Pursue New Interests
Monotony can destroy hope. It’s easy to get caught up in the routine moments of our lives. Sometimes the days just run together. When this happens, it’s time to pursue something new and exciting like taking an art class or picking up a book you’ve been meaning to read. You could even consider asking for a new assignment at work. Whatever it is, make a change that turns your day into something unique.
Speak with a Trusted Loved One
When you’re feeling down, turn to someone who loves you. Maybe it is your pastor or rabbi. Perhaps it’s a lifelong friend, or your spouse. Whoever this person is, make sure it is someone you can be completely honest with, who will be honest in return and not pass judgment. Tell them you are going through a rough patch. Ask them if they could check in with you and offer encouragement until you are able to get through it.
No matter how hectic your life gets, take some time for yourself. Indulgences like soaking in the tub, getting a pedicure or a new haircut, treating yourself to dessert, or going to see a game with your friends are good for your soul. They will help you feel special and more alive.
Remove Negative Aspects from Your Life
Getting rid of the negative forces in our lives may be the hardest thing any of us can do. Sometimes, however, it is necessary just to remove them. This could mean leaving a dead-end job, getting rid of a bad habit, or even saying good-bye to a harmful friend. Sometimes it becomes necessary to weigh the pros and cons of having certain people and influences in our lives. If the cons outweigh the pros, it may be time to sever those ties.
It is important to understand that our mental well-being is just as important as our physical well-being. We must nurture it, feed it, and protect it. Remember, you do not have to do it alone. If you’ve been struggling with a lack of hope to the point of harming yourself, or you rarely have a day where you feel happy, please seek help. If you wish to speak with someone, the National Hopeline Network can help you. Just call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or go to www.hopeline.com. For other forms of assistance, please visit http://suicideprevention.wikia.com/wiki/USA.
There is always hope for a better tomorrow. The joys in life are too precious to give up on.