LSJ Opinion

Hope is the mainstay of mental health

It is interesting to observe people who expect a day to go well. They seem to “go with the flow,” without feeling that a setback means that things are going bad for them.

Some would call it optimism, but it seems stronger than an attitude. It’s more like a conviction that an outcome will have meaning for them. For those with spiritual belief, there is faith in an acceptance of events, an understanding that situations are not random and that they do not have to over-think them and feel stressed.

Hope includes an expectation for the future in many areas of life. Many people feel that they get what they expect although it may not come in the way that they thought. In the law of attraction, a person draws things to them with thoughts of hope or doubt. For example, if a person believes that bad things will happen, they usually will, and the reverse is also likely.

When someone has lost hope, there seems to be a focus on many things that now seem to be problematic.

This hopelessness means that worst case is always imagined. The body may also react with an illness of some kind over time.

Often medications are prescribed to lessen the anxiety level so that a person can more freely think and then be able to make solution-focused choices. Getting hope back for people is a challenge for clinicians in many fields, and also for family members and close friends of the person who feels hopeless.

The feeling of hope is a thought process; it’s mind over matter, so to speak. So, no matter what the present situation is like, hopeful thinking brings more resources to mind which, in turn, begins to shift the perspective to what it will be like as things get better; not if but when.

Survivors of cancer have related that hope for recovery provided them a constant thought process through which they lived every day.

Doubt arises when the need to control someone or something outside of ourselves fails, and discouragement becomes a state of mind. Hope, on the other hand, is stronger than doubt because it is a more an assertive choice based in the notion of possibilities. Hope is renewable as a natural inner resource: it’s a gift to ourselves.