April 11th 2018
“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what the sunflowers do.” Helen Keller
Hope. A little four letter word.
But such a powerful meaning this little four letter word can have in our lives.
Ever recognised how often this word is used in our daily live?
“I hope you are ok”, “I hope you have a nice day” “I hope you are well”
This four letter little word has such significance in our worlds and for our general well being.
Hope is an inbuilt aspiration for things to be better, a desire for things to go well. Without it we can be lost and dismayed, even out of control.
“Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.” Laini Taylor, daughter of Smoke and Bone
We certainly cannot escape difficult times in our lives. Fact. We will face challenges on our path throughout life….school pressure, exam pressures, disappointments related to these, family or relationship problems, problems with friends, financial difficulties, sickness or grief to name a few. These and other challenges can creep into our lives, or hit us like a blast out of nowhere. But what we can do is to equip ourselves with armour that will guide us through these times and hold us up to ease the burden. We can learn skills to encourage our sense of HOPE and believe we can overcome these times, with strength and determination.
“Hope is being able to see that there is a light despite all the darkness” Desmond Tutu
We are powerful human beings who should have faith in our abilities to overcome these hurdles and challenges in life. But we can also learn skills to encourage us to overcome them also, the same way we can learn skills in Art or cooking, or maths. Hope is a teachable skill. Hope should be taught to everyone from a young age. But we are always learning on our continium through life, and learning the life skill of having Hope.
Some tips on how to create a Hopeful Mind:
- Reach out to others. Sharing what seems like an impossible situation can give us a real sense of relief, as well as providing us with a way forward with things in our minds
- Express Gratitude. Reminding ourselves and even making a list of what you are thankful for, even when you are struggling. This could be being thankful for friends, family, food, hobbies or even the nature around you! There’s always something to be grateful for. Take strength from these!
- Take care of yourself. Get sleep, rest well and restore balance! When you are stressed it is vital to self-care. Being hopeful comes easier when our stress levels are managed.
- Have a stress reduction strategy, breathing exercises, mindfulness and mediation and favourite forms of recreation all serve to reduce stress.
- Have goals! During difficult times we can really benefit from some goals, even if they are small goals. This helps to give us a sense of purpose and distraction is helpful also.
- Ask for help! Asking for help can make all the difference. When others help us, it can help us find solutions as our minds can be muddled when we are stressed!! Having support can make a world of difference!
And finally, breathe, believe and hold onto HOPE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
written by Colleen Kearney, Clinical Support Worker, Jigsaw Donegal