The Surprising Impact of Hope on Your Health
Evidence-based strategies for cultivating hope and enhancing your overall wellbeing.
Today's post is a little late because we're trying something new. One is changing the newsletter's name from a generic name like "HT Weekly" to "Game Changer". The other is leveraging my Masters' in Biotech and work experience to simplify the latest research!
"You Must Never Give Into Despair"
Research has consistently shown hope is associated with better physical and mental health outcomes.
- Improved Mental Health: Hope has been linked to better mental health outcomes, such as reduced anxiety and depression symptoms (1). It has also been shown to be a significant predictor of reduced depressive symptoms over time (2).
- Enhanced Physical Health: Hope has been shown to improve physical health outcomes, such as reduced pain, increased pain tolerance, and faster recovery from surgery (3). It was even associated with better immune system functioning (4).
- Increased Resilience: Hope can help individuals cope with stress and adversity, leading to increased resilience. A study found it was associated with greater resilience among individuals with chronic illnesses (5).
- Improved Quality of Life: Hope has been linked to a better overall quality of life. A study found it was associated with better quality of life among cancer patients (6).
"In Dark Times, Hope Is Something You Give Yourself"
You've learned the importance of hope; here is how to cultivate it:
- Set Achievable Goals: Setting realistic and achievable goals can help you feel a sense of control and increase hope for the future. Break down larger goals into smaller steps to progress towards your ultimate goal (7).
- Practice Optimism: Optimism involves focusing on a situation's positive aspects, even in the face of adversity. It is helpful to reframe negative thoughts into positive ones and practice gratitude for the good things in life (8).
- Seek Support: Asking for help from friends, family, or a therapist can make you feel less isolated. It doesn't matter whether it's emotional support, practical assistance, or advice, it will help you increase your sense of hope (9).
- Engage in Meaningful Activities: Doing hobbies, volunteering, or spending time with loved ones can give you a sense of purpose and fulfillment leading to a sense of hope (10).
- Develop a Growth Mindset: A growth mindset involves believing that your abilities and qualities can be developed through hard work and dedication. Having with a growth mindset tend to be more hopeful about their future and their ability to overcome challenges (11).
Fun Fact: Toph Was Almost a Male Character
During the Avatar the Last Airbender, Toph became a skilled earthbender and eventually discovered metal-bending, earning recognition as its founder. Despite being blind, she persevered and refused to let it hinder her abilities as an earthbender. Funny enough, Toph was supposed to be a male character with perfect vision!
However, the writers did touch on this original design in a hilarious way in the episode "Ember Island Players". Hint: Toph was displayed a super buff, masculine character who used echo location to get around.
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