7 Ways to be Hopeful

July 4, 2022
7 Ways to be Hopeful

In the midst of all this seemingly endless bad news, with wars, gloomy economic forecasts, and the climate emergency, not to mention the still present global pandemic, how do we save ourselves from falling into a pit of despair? Now more than ever, hope is essential for us to survive and to thrive- giving us the strength, courage, and energy to take action towards positive change for ourselves, our communities and the planet. Here are 7 ways how:

  1. Notice kindness: it’s a cornerstone of hope that gives us faith in each other. We all got a chance to witness first-hand the outpouring of compassion and empathy as neighbours and complete strangers reached out to help each other during lock downs all over the world. In the heartfelt and generous responses to the war in Ukraine we saw the immense goodness we are all capable of, and there hope lies. So, let’s remember, cherish and continue being part of that kindness moving forward. You can help yourself do this in three simple daily actions: notice one kindness you receive yourself, acknowledge an act of kindness you witness in the world, and try out an act of kindness yourself.
  2. There’s always more good than bad: our adult brains are designed to ensure our survival by storing memories of bad things that may have caused us harm. Hope lies in allowing ourselves to notice and linger on the many good, funny, interesting things that happen in the course of a day too- creating a library of hope to revisit on a rainy day. Know that even when some people behave badly (there will always be some) and things go wrong (they sometimes will) for each one of these bad things there will always be ten good ones to provide a counterbalance (even during a pandemic!). End every day by asking yourself – what good things happened today?  
  3. Friends of the earth: hope lies in the knowledge that we care deeply for our planet.  Look around you: from beach litter pickers to groups planting trees, all around the world there are people volunteering their time and energy to protecting and cherishing our world. Know that small is mighty- and that doing our best is enough.
  4. You are not alone: not in your suffering, or in your joys, recently lock down showed us that we have so much in common: we need food, water, shelter, we want love, company, connection. Hope lies in recognising that despite superficial differences, we are held together by the shared experiences of being human, and this knowledge can unite us. If you can, reach out to a stranger just with a simple smile or a hello. If you need help, ask. You will be surprised by how eager people are to help and how glad to be asked. Don’t suffer in silence, or alone.
  5. We stood up for each other: the Black Lives Matter movement showed an outpouring of grief, anger, and love: as laws changed and statues tumbled, we gained hope that together we have the power to transform the world, side by side. In response to the war in Ukraine, over the world, people offered homes, beds, shelter, money, and friendship. There are countless examples of us standing up for each other throughout human history, and examples to give us hope happening right here, right now.
  6. Beauty is everywhere: it’s the default setting of the world. As our world slowed and quieted, we noticed flowers growing in pavement cracks, bluer skies, birds singing undimmed by the hum of traffic, cleaner air.  In this we saw what might be possible, and the solace to be gained from reconnecting with the wonders of the natural world. Beauty is available to us all at every moment, for free, even though at times it can be harder to spot, beauty is always there.
  7. Hope in the future: uncertainty contains within it the possibility that better things are on their way: yes, it’s hard to adjust to not knowing what is coming, but not knowing means that something truly amazing could be on its way. Change can mean for the better.  Allow yourself to consider your hopes for the future - then act on those hopes by taking one small step in that direction.

 

- Bernadette Russell, author of How to Be Hopeful

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