36: Hope – what does it actually do?


It’s a funny thing isn’t it, hoping for something? Hope is the belief that circumstances will get better. It’s not a wish – it’s the actual belief, the knowledge, if you will, that things will improve, no matter how big or small. For example, it’s the belief that at after a robbery where you’ve lost your home, car and possessions, that you still have your health and family, and that you can start over. It is the steadfast determination of the cancer patient who fights, believing that eventually, a cure will come. It’s the woman who has lost her job, has a family to support and knows that new employment is just around the corner as long as she keeps looking. Everything will work out ok… in the end.

Sometimes hope looks so bleak in a given situation as to appear non-existent, yet it’s so vital for survival. Virtually everyone who survives a life-threatening ordeal, that on the surface seems impossible, will point to hope as the one thing that got them through the worst times. It is hope which champions the survivor, even when there doesn’t appear to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

So, how can we put a positive spin on this? Hope often comes along when we are fighting something dreadful, or going through a rough time. How can we channel hope when we are in a good place, or just generally in our everyday lives to help us become more resilient? How can ‘hope’ aid our overall psychological wellbeing?

We can become Psychological Survivors. People who channel this type of mindset are active, solution focused, optimistic and looking to the future. They ask things like, “How can I help myself?” They do allow themselves to feel upset, sure, but they continue to persevere and fight forward afterwards.

How do we bring out our inner Psychological Survivor? Firstly, we start with how we view our level of ‘hope’. To have hope is to empower yourself in order to face the toughest of times and emerge victorious, rather than suffering. To do this we need;

  1. Faith – The belief that there is something bigger and more important than you. It doesn’t have to be religious; it can be your family, a job, or your mission to change global warming! It is a reason to go on, and it involves many more things than just you.
  2. Gratitude – Focus on what you are thankful for, not on what you have lost or what you want. Remind yourself of this every day (Hark back to a previous blog post on “Noticing the little things” to help with this!)
  3. Love – Make it a point to connect often with all of the people whom you love. This can be in person, a phone call, text or a quick email will do. Just make the time to keep that connection alive. They are the most important thing you will ever have, and the real ones will support you and lift you up whenever you are in a time of need.

So, next time you need a pick-me-up and something to be hopeful for when things aren’t going super swimmingly, have a look at this little post and remind yourself how you can survive, thrive and keep that smile wide



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