How Hope Can Keep You Happier
By Antonietta Marinelli | November 05, 2021
This month at Mentor Education, we are focusing on hope as we take part, for the third year running in the Hope Barometer International Research Project. The project involves over sixteen countries worldwide and seeks to deliver a broad-based study of the hopes, desires, and future expectations of our population.
So, what is hope?
In simple terms, hope is an expectation and the desire for something to happen and separates itself the idea of optimism by operating as an active force that can drive change and impact the future (Vlieghe, 2019). The impact of hope and description extends to include an individual’s capacity to manage and face the uncertainty of an ever challenging and divided world (Nixon, 2019). This concept of hope is further scoped as a belief that ‘specific things, objectives and circumstances, which we desire because they are important to us and which we wish to attain, will develop the way which is right and good for us and for our social environment, regardless of the adversities and obstacles as well as possible negative expectancies and seemingly opposing objective facts, so that it remains worthwhile to persevere and keep involved’ (Krafft, Perrig-Chiello, & Walker, 2018).
What are the benefits of being hopeful?
Hope and optimism are powerful predictors of positive outcomes. A study from Harvard’s “Human Flourishing Program” recently examined the impact of hope on nearly 13,000 people and found that those with more hope throughout their lives had better physical health, better social support, and a longer life in addition to fewer chronic health problems, and a less depression and anxiety (Worthington Jr., 2020).
How do we improve our levels of hope?
- Mindset Practicing hopefulness and optimism can be extremely difficult, especially in challenging times, however when taking the time to consciously change your thought process, you can lean into a more optimistic approach. Neuroscientist, Tali Sharot explains that optimism changes the way we see the world and changes our objective of reality. Think of the positive things that could take place throughout the day, even if it be the simple pleasures of taking that first sip of coffee or opening the window to see the sun shining and train yourself to think more positively.
- Acts of Kindness Committing acts of kindness not only holds a positive outcome for another party but can also have a dramatic effect on your mood and outlook. Kindness releases serotonin in your body and holds an anti-depressant effect which calms stress and reduces pain. Acts of kindness, whether it be big or small, can help you feel more connection and a greater sense of contribution (Hall, 2015).
- Experiences We fall into the habit of getting lost in our head, racing with different thoughts, and discarding what’s right in front of us. our thoughts may naturally wander to the past and focus on events that didn’t work out or other situations that were painful. We critique our experiences which may led to a negative mindset, with the result of a negative outcome. However, something that we seem to forget is that sometimes our own experiences may have guided another individual down a positive path. Listen carefully and intentionally to your loved ones, whether that be friends or family and you may be able to see another side of things.
To be part of this years 2021 Hope Barometer study please complete the short (5-10 minute) anonymous survey via the link below and where possible share it with friends, family and work colleagues. Complete the survey here: EFS-Survey
• Hall, K. 2015. Finding Hope. Psychology Today. [Accessed 5 November 2021] Psychology Today
• Jacoby, S. 2020. How to Be Hopefully, Even When It’s Really, Really Hard. SELF. [Accessed 5 November 2021] How to Be Hopefully
• Sharot, T. 2012. The Optimism Bias by Tali Sharot: extract. The Guardian. [Accessed 5 November 2021] The Optimism Bias by Tali Sharot
• Worthington Jr., EL. 2020. How Hope Can Keep Your Happier and Healthier. Greater Good Magazine. [Accessed 4 November 2021] How Hope Can Keep Your Happier and Healthier