First Published in ExpertClick.com under title: “Three Ways to Keep Your Hope Alive (And Your Work Productivity High)
“If we were logical, the future would be bleak indeed. But we are more than logical. We are human beings, and we have faith, and we have hope and we can work.” ~~Jacques Cousteau
Have you ever experienced a period in your life where your concentration and productivity dipped well below the usual flow? Where most of your mental energy went into worrying about what is going to go wrong instead of right?
Then you get some good news and all of a sudden your vitality is restored and so too is your work output. Research has shown that hope is a powerful motivator. In fact one study (as noted by Patricia A. Dunavold in her analysis, “Happiness, Hope, and Optimism” for California State University, Northridge) has shown that hope was a better predictor of first trimester grades than student’s SAT scores.
The question is: How does one continue to keep his or her hope up?
Given both the external realities of our world, plus the very real struggles we all have to face in our personal lives, it can be quite easy for hope to dry up. Factor in the emotional and physiological components of depression and anxiety that many of us also experience, and hope starts to look as lifeless as the dead grass in an ongoing drought.
The good news, though, is that you can create your own nourishment to renew both hope and inspiration. Below are three easy—and positive—steps to keep your hope alive:
1. Practice Humor
According to an article in Science Daily, research at Texas A&M University shows that humor can positively influence a person’s state of hopefulness. As part of the study, participants who viewed a 15-minute comedy video experienced statistically significant increases in their hopefulness scores after watching it as compared to those who did not. Psychologist David H. Rosen concludes that humor is a positive emotion that helps people pursue more creative paths of thought and action, and therefore helps people feel as if they can more easily overcome obstacles—which, of course, is a large component of hope.
2. Create a Game Plan
Another aspect of hope, according to Rosen, is tied to a person’s ability in developing a “plan of attack.” So when you are facing a specific problem, you can increase your hope levels by creating a game plan. By writing down all the steps you can take, as well as preparing a “plan B” (and perhaps even a “plan C” as well!), you are consciously taking control of your life, and at the same time helping to increase your hope.
3. Call Upon Your Cognitive Skills
Dunavold states that many studies have demonstrated that the right cognitive strategies can help restore and maintain hope. Practicing such cognitive behaviors as positive self-talk, envisioning hopeful outcomes, reading uplifting books, and listening to upbeat music are all practices that help people to keep their hope up through adverse life events. In conclusion, hope is a large component to not only our happiness, but also our motivation. Focus on nourishing it—and it will nourish you back!
“You are not alone…please know that hope can fly in on the most unexpected of wings.” ~~quote from novel “The Grace of Crows”
Tracy Shawn, M.A. lives and writes on the Central Coast of California. Her award-winning novel, The Grace of Crows, is about how an anxiety-ridden woman finds happiness through the most unexpected of ways—and characters. Dubbed a “stunning debut novel” by top 50 Hall of Fame reviewer, Grady Harp, The Grace of Crows has won the Jack Eadon Award for the Best Book in Contemporary Drama, Second Place for General Fiction for the Readers Choice Awards, and Runner-Up for 2014 General Fiction with the Great Northwest Book Festival.
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