(Health Secrets) Hopeful people are able to get what they want out of life. Hope is the belief in a better future that action can make happen. Hope is proactive and has three distinct components: Goals, Willpower, and Waypower.
Begin by identifying the goal you want for yourself. Then access your mental or spiritual energy through willpower thinking. This thinking creates a clear and compelling mental picture of your goal so you can strive toward it. Waypower creates the means for reaching that goal. It is thinking of numerous ways to counteract frustration and fear, so they don’t get in the way of reaching your goal. Willpower is tapping into mind and spirit to muster the mental energy to pursue the goal.
In this process, emotions follows thought. Thinking hopefully creates a range of emotions, such as joy and excitement, that energize willpower thinking.
Core beliefs to mentally invest in are:
· The future will be better than the present.
· I have the power to make it so.
· There are many paths to my goals.
· None of the paths are free of obstacles.
Hope related thinking is important. By constantly planning strategies to achieve your goals and monitoring progress, you can stay on task and be actively engaged in hopeful learning. Research shows that a hopeful approach to learning goals is positively related to successes from academic achievement to sports to arts to science to business.
Often goal identification, willpower energy, and waypower thinking are interactive. To move forward, trust the process. List tentative goals and be open to revision. Hopeful people pick appropriate goals, know how to make them happen, and spot and seek out the pathways that will move them forward.
Set clear attainable goals:
· Picking goals can be tricky
· Pick goals that you are excited about
· Goals should align with your strengths
· Develop multiple strategies (waypower) to reach those goals
· Stay motivated (willpower) to implement your strategies
· Use cues and defaults (waypower) to help implement and reach goals
A cue is a signal, such as a word or action used to prompt or help you remember and focus on the goal. With a default plan there is no decision to make; it’s made for you. For example, setting up an automatic transfer of money from a checking into a savings account monthly to achieve a goal such as a child’s college fund.
Hope is shared, interactive and contagious within our social networks (best friends, role models and associates). We share hope by displaying hopeful attitudes, taking proactive actions, sharing our life stories, and by providing support to others. Hope empowers change.
The power of hope expresses in the many practical areas of daily life, the spiritual and religious, as well as emotional and mental processing. Hope can create success in your relationships at work, at school, within families, and in athletic team sports.
Research on hope thinking demonstrates improvement in:
· Attendance – students are more likely to go to school, and employees are more involved and enthusiastic at work.
· Sustained effort – on academic and work tasks
· Productivity – workers are more likely to be engaged, satisfied, and creative.
· Health – hopeful people tolerate more pain and demonstrate healthy lifestyle practices
· Well-being – satisfaction with life, positive emotions, meaning and purpose in life, and strong support networks.
· Longevity – people live longer and live better
Genuine hope is choosing to act as though good things (goals) are possible and our actions (willpower and waypower) will have meaningful results. Every imagined plan, goal, or objective is a sign of hope thinking. Hope may not always be supported by the facts. However, rather than giving in to negativity and frightening circumstances, hope thinking proactively creates alternative goals and strategies.
Hope thinking is a skill that needs to be developed and practiced until it becomes an automatic reaction.
Begin with small acts of hope:
· Train your attention to notice what it is you want (this is goal setting)
· Respond with appreciation, express positive feelings (demonstrate willpower)
· Notice evidence of movement toward the goal and comment on it and about it.
· Train your attention to find genuine positives and to be honestly appreciative (this is your waypower strategy)
When you feel stuck and frustrated as if you have no purpose or focus, just pick a place to start. For example, if you are procrastinating about job hunting, you could:
a.) go for a run or engage in any type of physical activity to energize will power
b.) make a list of activities that you enjoy, and next to each activity list a job with similar characteristics
c.) make a list of waypower strategies, for example your character strengths, professional organizations, networking opportunities, or job placement agencies. As you stimulate creative energy in one area, other areas will become energized.
Here’s another example. You have a child or employee who needs to take out the trash in a timely manner:
*Set the goal: “It is important to keep our place clean and healthy. Please take the trash out at the specified time.”
*Demonstrate willpower: “I really appreciate your help with this. It contributes to our success.”
*Repeat a supportive positive comment often as a waypower strategy, such as: “Over the past weeks I have seen your good work on getting the trash out on time. I am pleased by your work ethic. Let me know if you have any ideas to share that will make things run smoothly.”
Hope in the Workplace
Hope thinking managers develop active strategies for creating and maintaining hope in teams. They develop waypower strategies that motivate workers when no incentives are available. Research confirms the most effective rewards of work are intrinsic; it feels good to do a good job. Hope thinking increases stress tolerance, develops resilience, and strengthens productivity.
Workplace Strategies to sustaining Hope:
· Willpower thinking
· Discipline yourself to hopeful thinking
· Stay focused on what is real,
· Develop attentive listening skills to create relationships that foster hope.
· Identify and believe in that one good thing — it might happen to focus the team’s attention
· As you train your own focus and attention, are you training your employees?
· Share stories that emphasize the ability to survive difficulties
· Attention and focus set up opportunities for emerging waypower strategies
· Listen to workers until you find seeds of hope (you will be modeling the search for hope)
· Model motivation (hope thinking) to the team, discover what they need to be motivated
Lifestyle Changes to Foster Hope:
· Aim for eight hours of sleep.
· Expose yourself to sunlight every day for at least 15 minutes
· Exercise. A 10-minute walk improves your mood for two hours
· Keep stress in check.
· Practice relaxation techniques.
· Do something you enjoy every day – make a list of activities
· Spend time in nature
· List what you like about yourself
· Talk to friends or family face-to-face
· Listen to music
· Do something spontaneous
· Don’t skip meals.
· Minimize sugar and refined carbs.
· Focus on complex carbohydrates
· Boost your B vitamins.
· Try super-foods, such as bananas (magnesium to decrease anxiety, vitamin B6 to promote alertness, tryptophan to boost feel-good serotonin levels), brown rice (serotonin, thiamine to support sociability), and spinach (magnesium and folate to reduce agitation and improve sleep).
For more information:
Lopez, S. J. (2013). Making Hope Happen: Create the Future You Want for Yourself and Others. Atria Books.
Snyder, C. R. (2000). Handbook of Hope : Theory, Measures, and Applications. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
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