Hope for the future brings power to the present moment. Of course, hope is not some delusional self-destructive denial of reality.
• Hope does not pretend everything is perfect.
• Hope does not make excuses.
• Hope however is accepting and acknowledging the reality of your current situation and works to find the best way forward.
• Hope always believes that things can get better because you can do something about it.
• Hope is resilient and Hope is realistic optimism.
As a result you will feel more content, confident and willing to believe it is possible.
It turns out that having a strong sense of hope is good for your mental and physical health, as well as helping you to survive and thrive in the world.
Hope and Mental Health
Research shows being hopeful can better enable you to embrace stress and address anxiety and adversity. Hope builds better coping skills for handling stressful situations and reduces the harmful effects of stress on the body. It shifts your thinking from what is wrong to what is strong, moving you away from the fight or flight stress response towards a recharge from stress. Hope can help protect you from accurately seeing the pain and challenges that the future may hold. This can be a good thing at times. Overall, hope builds resilience, enabling you to deal more effectively with setbacks through grit and persistence.
Hope and Emotional Health
Hope boosts your emotional bank account with positivity and brings on other positive emotions, like confidence and curiosity. It enables you to be more creative in your approach to problem solving, broadening your perspective. Hope builds friendships and stronger, more supportive relationships.
Hope and Physical Health
Hope is good for your physical health and sense of wellbeing. People who are hopeful tend to be physically healthier and report feeling better than equally healthy people who are pessimistic. In addition, they have a stronger immune system, less pain, cope better with illness, and show stronger recoveries following surgery.
Hopeful people are more likely to make healthier lifestyle choices (exercise, diet, sleep etc.) which explains (in part) the benefits of hope on physical wellbeing. Hope encourages goal setting and motivates positive action towards those goals. It boosts your sense of wellbeing, overall contentment and happiness.
A Hopeful Heart, A Healthier Heart
Research from the Journal of American Medical Association has found that optimism can lower your risk of heart disease by 35%. Furthermore, Harvard research found that the most pessimistic people had twice the incidence of heart disease as most optimistic males and females. There appears to be a strong association between optimism and longevity. A U.S Health Study has been tracking the health and health-related behaviors of a large group of American residents and has found a strong and statistically significant association between raised levels of optimism and reduced mortality.