December 1, 2021

Understanding the Benefits of Hope

by Katelyn Redfoot

When you experience hope in a real-life context, how does it make you feel? Whether it has acted as a motivational force to strive for better things or shone a light in your darker days, chances are the benefits of hope have positively impacted your life.

So why is it that when we hear the word ‘hope,’ we talk about it like it’s some wishy-washy concept? Hope is not the same as avoiding negativity nor welcoming unrealistic positivity. Yet, we break down the word ‘hope’ as some idealistic value. But hope is the very thing that builds us back up when we need it.

The benefits of hope seep into our lives in ways we may not realize or care to admit. But no matter what you think you know about hope, here are a few reasons you should get your hopes up.

Hope can make you less anxious

When you experience anxiety, it can sometimes contribute to catastrophic thinking. In other words, you believe that the worst will happen. Or, you believe you are in a worse situation than you are.

One of the benefits of hope is that with more of it, you can feel less threatened. Having hope is having trust that things will turn out for the best. This belief can help ground you back in reality to reassess your catastrophic thoughts.

Catastrophizing is also linked to depression and the belief that things won’t get better – in other words, hopelessness. Pessimistic thinking is your depression speaking – it’s how depression manifests. Hope can help spark a more optimistic outlook to keep your negative thoughts from cycling and snowballing into something worse.

Hope can propel you forward

One of the most commonly understood benefits of hope is its power to move us forward during tough times. If hope means having confidence that things will get better, can’t hope also mean having confidence in ourselves?

Hope is the underlying confidence we possess when we believe in our abilities and what we deserve. This powerful feeling can propel us forward in life because our skills and talents will only take us as far as we think we can go.

Hope can improve your health

We touched on the influence of hope on our emotional health, but what about our physical health? If you feel hopeless about your future or livelihood, you don’t have much of a reason to take care of yourself in the present. Not only that but uncertainty and hopelessness can come together and increase the prevalence and harmful impact of stress in our lives.

If there is an area in your life that you want to improve or clean up, consider how more hope would motivate you. It doesn’t matter whether the area you want to clean up is directly related to your health. One of the greatest benefits of hope is when we see the possibilities for our future. It pushes us to make healthy choices now to get there.


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