The word hope is part of our narrative as human beings. What is it, how do we find it, and how do we use it?

ART - Hope

Strangely enough, hope often comes into play only when our circumstances are difficult or at least uncertain. Hope is not just a feeling of longing for something. It involves taking action to change things. Hope can be activated and cultivated.

Hope is what happens when we assess what we can do with a situation. Is there something I can do to make a change? Hope doesn’t deny that a situation is happening, it asks the question: Is there something I can do to make a change?  Hope is assessing the future and influencing it.  

Hopefulness has several features that can be developed. No matter what has happened, we can resolve at any time to make tomorrow better.

Dan Tomasulo, Ph.D., in his book Learned Hopefulness: The Power of Positivity to Overcome Depression, says hopefulness is a decision. According to Dr. Tomasulo, there are seven decisions that promote hopefulness. They give us direction and agency, something we can do that acts to produce a particular result.

These decisions are:

  • Seeing possibilities –
    Having a growth mindset leads to possibilities.
    Be open, curious, and willing to see other perspectives than your own.
  • Noticing beauty, benefits, and blessings –
    Look for the good, the positive, and see challenges as opportunities. Sometimes negative events in our lives have been the catalyst for something better to happen.
  • Cultivating positive feelings –
    The core difference between optimists and pessimists is how they think good and bad events will impact their future. People with high hope have been shown to have better psychological adjustment, physical health and wellness, coping skills for illness and loss, interpersonal relationships.
  • Focusing on Strengths –
    Your strengths are your superpower. Identify your strengths and put them into action.
  • Creating Challenging Goals –
    Start with small goals. Setting goals keeps us on track and moves us forward.
  • Finding Purpose –
    What are the three most important things to you? Find a way to bring them into the world to be of service.
  • Cherishing Relationships –
    Invest in your relationships. Expand your connection to others and strangers. Saying, “good morning,” or complimenting someone on what they are wearing can open up connection and conversation.


Hope is happening. When it comes, offer it a chair.

Reflection: “They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world:  someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.” ~ Tom Bodett

Today’s Practice: Check in with yourself every day to make sure you are doing something toward intentional well-being.

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