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October 20, 2023 “Have HOPE”


The Pink Ribbon: A Symbol of Hope

The iconic pink ribbon, synonymous with breast cancer awareness, is a beacon of hope in October. It serves as a reminder of the journey that millions of individuals embark upon, survivors, fighters, and their families. More than just a symbol, it’s a call to action, urging women to prioritize their breast health through regular self-examinations and mammograms.

While many people are very hopeful there are just as many more who are hopeless. This week I heard so much hopelessness in people’s voices or when reading comments on my social media pages. I was talking to one client about her meal plan and sodium intake, suggesting she should lower it because of her high blood pressure. I explained to her that my goal is to help her get off those medications and by lowering her sodium intake that is a step in the right direction. She quickly said, my doctor said my blood pressure is hereditary. You know what look I gave her, one of exasperation. Her statement is a sign of hopelessness. Anytime someone feeds you excuses, instead of making changes, this is a sign of hopelessness. Each of my 3 siblings are on blood pressure medication along with my mother, so yes high blood pressure runs in my family and is hereditary.  However, I am very conscious of my eating and of course I exercise quite frequently. I am not saying I can’t get high blood pressure however I am doing everything in my power to avoid it and if I was on meds, I would do everything in my power to change my behavior to come off them. Hereditary is one thing however the biggest reason people have high blood pressure is because of their lifestyle.

I posted a video of me from Wednesday’s workout.  I know I go hard, and I truly understand that not everyone on social media knows that I show modifications for each exercise. A stranger commented in response to that post, “Girl bye, Ain’t nobody doing all that”. Besides her being a hater, she also exhibits signs of hopelessness. Anytime I see an exercise on social media or whatever source, and it looks difficult, my first response is not to think this is impossible for me, but I have hope that if I practice the exercise enough I will be able to achieve it.

It’s common to lack hope, though. Someone with depression, by the nature of their illness, may lack hope that they’ll ever feel better. The parent of an adult child with an addiction might not have hope that the child will ever change, because they’ve seen them go through so many struggles without changing.

Hopelessness can feel like a dark hole that is impossible to escape. Fortunately, you don’t have to stay stuck there, even though it can feel like you will be stuck there forever.

We all have the power to develop hope, even in the most difficult situations. When you feel a little more hopeful, you also grow mentally stronger, which can help you take positive action to improve your situation.

Hope Defined

Hope involves a belief that you can create a positive outcome. It’s not wishful thinking, like wishing you’d win the lottery. Instead, hope means you believe that you’re capable of achieving a goal with a little hard work, like creating a payment plan to get yourself out of debt.

Hope is also different from optimism. Essentially, optimism is about thinking good things might happen while hope often involves thinking about the action you’ll take to make those good things happen.

Optimism involves thinking about positive outcomes, regardless of the role you play. So, you might be optimistic that it won’t rain this weekend. But when you have hope, you believe you’ll throw a good party even if it does rain.

Hopeful Feelings Can Lead to Behavior Change

When you’re feeling hopeless, not only will you feel awful, but you might not do anything to make things better. After all, you’ll believe there isn’t anything you can do to make the situation better.

When you cultivate a shred of hope, you might take action that either addresses the situation or addresses how you feel about the situation. Even if you can’t fix the problem, you can always take steps to fix your emotional state.

You don’t necessarily need to tackle a giant obstacle or try to move mountains when you have hope. Instead, you can take one small step that could improve your life.

Why Hope is So Important

Hope often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you believe that you have the power to make things better, you’re more likely to try.

As I type this newsletter, I am sitting in a chemo center with my best friend. She’s been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer that has metastasized; the doctors are saying it is incurable but treatable. Our hope is that the breast cancer tumors shrink, and she becomes cancer free. So, she takes care of herself and does things that bring her joy, sending her mind signals of hope and not despair. Having hope allows her the will to fight another day. Our belief is God has the final say.

Hope is an important factor for living your best life. The more hope you have:

· The less likely you are to experience depression and anxiety.

· The more likely you are to be satisfied with life.

· The more likely you are to report improved overall well-being.

· The more productive you’ll be.  

Combine Hope With Gratitude

One of the best ways to cultivate hope is by combining hope and gratitude. While the two are related, there are some big differences.

Gratitude is about being thankful for something that happened in the past or someone who has been involved in your life. Being hopeful is about looking toward the future.

If you still lack hope, you might shift your focus about what you’re hoping will happen. Instead of trying to become hopeful that things will work out OK, you might focus on developing hope that you’ll be OK despite whatever happens. Having a realistic vision about an outcome will give you hope because these visions are achievable. Do things that you enjoy, you will develop a greater sense of purpose as you experience joy and pleasure.

Try starting a gratitude journal where you spend time writing down what you are grateful for. Be grateful for the goals you have achieved which can then help you develop a more hopeful outlook. Do this exercise whenever you need a little boost in hope. Just reading through your past entries might help you cultivate hope when you need it the most. No Mess

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