Word-Of-the-Week #849: Hope

November 12, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Hopethe feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out well.

Have you been able to feel some hope this year? Do you believe that even in this terrible pandemic good things have come out of it?

This week I am sharing excerpts from “Emotional Well-Being and Coping During COVID-19

“These are unprecedented times. We need to work extra hard to manage our emotions well. Expect to have a lot of mixed feelings. Naturally we feel anxiety, and maybe waves of panic, particularly when seeing new headlines. An article by stress scientist and Vice Chair of Adult Psychology Elissa Epel, PhD, outlines the psychology behind the COVID-19 panic response and how we can try to make the best of this situation. Her tips can be found below. 

Our anxiety is helping us cope, bond together from a physical distance, and slow the spread of the virus. So our anxiety – while uncomfortable – is a good thing right now, especially if we manage it well. At the same time, we must effortfully prevent panic contagion and create periods when we can be screen-free and calm, engaging our attention in normal daily activities. Seize opportunities to share lightness and humor. Laughter right now is a relief for all of us!

 It may be helpful for you to make a list of what you can and cannot control right now. In this guide, we suggest radical acceptance of the situations we cannot control and focus on what we can do. 

  • Stay physically safe from the virus 

In this case, the biggest safety behaviors (physical distancing and hand washing) which decrease transmission of the COVID-19 virus, are also an integral part of anxiety management. Stay home when you can. When outside the home, wash your hands thoroughly and frequently. 

  • Limit media to reduce anxiety

By now you have heard this recommendation many times and there is research behind it: Watching or scrolling through the media makes us even more anxious. An excess of news and visual images about a traumatic event can create symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and poor health years later, according to research by UC Irvine’s Roxy Silver, PhD, and others. 

Try to limit COVID-19 media exposure to no more than twice a day (e.g., checking for updates in the morning and before dinner) and try to avoid reading about COVID-19 before bedtime. Take a vow to not forward (and thus propagate) alarming headlines to friends and family. 

The media often creates an exaggerated impression of global panic. The reality emerging from research data in Seattle, an epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., is that most people are dealing with this very well and rising up to help others. 

  • Get and provide warm, comforting, social support by video, phone, or text 

This is critical! Taking time to share your feelings and to listen and support others will go a long way. Talking with others who have our best interests at heart makes us feel safe. Use phone, video, text, or email. Fortunately, these new highways of social contact are unlimited resources. More than just providing social support about the current crisis, it is a good idea to use these connections to talk about the things you normally would – host your book club online, for example – which can create feelings of connectedness. Loving and caring for our pets can be phenomenal stress reduction for us too! 

  • Find ways of expressing kindness, patience, and compassion 

Be extra kind to yourself. This is a hard time for everyone. Humans across the world are sharing this experience with you. We are all in this together and we may all emerge with a renewed appreciation for our interconnectedness. Helping others in need is both critical to get through this well, and also creates more purpose to our days and well-being. 

  • Create new routines and keep practicing health behaviors 

Routine and ritual are restorative to us. Our brain wants predictable activity so we can relax our vigilant nervous system. Go to bed early and go outside each day to be active. (More information about sleep and activity is available below.) Remember that our activities, thoughts, and mood are closely linked. If you want to change your mood, change your activities and/or your thoughts. 

  • Eat well 

Good nutrition helps our mood. Stress makes us seek comfort foods, and in turn high carbs and sugars impact our mood. Many population-based studies show that a Mediterranean diet has been linked to better mental health and stress resilience, whereas a junk food western diet is linked to depression and anxiety. Try to fill your home with fresh produce, frozen vegetables, and whole foods when possible.”

This week’s focus is on feeling hope. Are you giving and receiving warm, comforting social support? Are you being extra kind to yourself and practicing healthy habits? Anyone find it interesting that I picked this word this week? I don’t know about you but I’m already feeling so much more hope!

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WOW Word-Of-the-Week #280: Hope

December 5, 2009 by · Comments Off on WOW Word-Of-the-Week #280: Hope 

Hope – the feeling that what is wanted can be had.

Is there something that you hope will happen in your life? Do you have the feeling that it is truly possible? Is there something you can do to move closer toward that possibility?

With the Holiday Season upon us it felt appropriate to rerun this WOW from last year. One thing I shy away from is speaking or writing about religion and politics. However, one of the hottest pastors and authors today is Joel Osteen. His latest book is titled, “Become a Better You.”

When asked what his secret is, Osteen says, “I don’t know if this is the only reason, but I think what I give them is hope. There’s a lot of negative trying to pull people down.”

Boy, is that truth! Just watch the news. Osteen’s goal is for people to walk away “feeling hope, feeling inspired to be better people, to be better parents.”

Sandi Dolbee, of the San Diego Union Tribune writes, “His critics see him more as a motivational speaker than Christian preacher. He encourages people to stop worrying and start expecting that good things will come.”

Osteen says, “You have to conceive it on the inside before you can receive it on the outside.”

Well, I say, “Amen to Joel!” This week focus on those things that you want. What negative thoughts can you let go of? What could you do to be a better person and/or parent?  Can you allow yourself to expect that good things lie ahead?

Reader Responses

We have to keep hope alive. We do not watch the network newscasts or the local news. Many of the stories that are broadcast have to do with murder and mayhem. Also, it seems that life’s losers wind up in the headlines. Which is too bad, because there is so much more good in this world than bad. However, the old adage that “If it bleeds, it leads” is very apropos. What we try to do is make sure that we give our daughters positive examples in our everyday lives, and help them to have faith and hope that the best is yet to come. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who, for one reason or another, are just negative. It is too bad. We are only here for a short time and we have to look forward to each day because we don’t know what will happen in our lives. I have always believed that each day is like an entire lifetime because of all of the possibilities out there. Another adage that I follow is, “If you can see it, you can achieve it.” As you noted, it has to come from within. I try to keep that positive attitude every day at work with my co-workers. In many instances, I just try to make them smile. If I can do that, whatever I have inside has made them feel good. We have to ability, if we choose to use it, to touch other people’s lives for the better. We can do it, but we need to take the time. My wife and two daughters give me great hope for the future. Every day my dreams come true. Thanks, Susan. I am getting ready to send out my holiday cards, which is one of my favorite parts of Christmas. It gives me a chance to touch those people with whom I have had limited contact during the year. Also, Santa Claus is going to call my eight-year-old daughter at dinner time. I am also sending the letter Erin Grace wrote to St. Nick at lunch time. Take care. “Warrior” Joe Moran.

Great, as usual.  I watch Joel Osteen sometimes, Marilyn turned him on to me.  He’s very good.  Hope  you are having a great time on your trip to Panama. love, Elaine

Word Of the Week #49: Hope

April 22, 2009 by · Comments Off on Word Of the Week #49: Hope 

Hope: desire accompanied with expectation and a belief that it is obtainable.

Hope arouses, as nothing else can arouse, a passion for the possible. -William Sloane Coffin, Jr.

Is this not a great quote? My great friend Gaye sent this to me and I believe that we need to keep ourselves open to the possibilities in our life.

Do you hope that your personal and/or professional life will improve? If so, you need to define exactly what that improvement is. Then you need to make sure you have the desire and the expectation to achieve it. And lastly, you have to know that it is obtainable!

Make sure that you only share your hopes with people that will support you rather than sabotage your thoughts! I have found that friends and family members can be negative about our pursuits and deflate our hopes. It’s not that they don’t want you to achieve, I believe they verbalize their own self doubt. It’s a form of projecting. They project their fears onto you.

This week focus on your hopes and desires. What will it take for you to obtain them? Picture how you will feel when you do obtain them and hold the passion for the possible!

Reader Responses

“Hope and fear seem to be opposite sides of the same coin. In many cases I hear people talking about their hopes, but with little confidence in their voices.  I am a positive person and have always believed that the best is yet to come. However, when I hear people say, “Gee, I hope I can get it done,” it does not sound like they believe they can. It is actually depressing. What I have learned to do is tell some of those people to take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves that whatever it is they HOPE to accomplish can come to fruition.  Unfortunately, many people put up arbitrary ceilings that only allow them to achieve just so much. Whatever our hopes and desires, I have always been a big believer that we must be able to see that hope, dream, desire in our mind’s eye first before we can hope to do it. As I remind my three-year-old daughter of the four magic words: “I CAN DO IT!” The word can’t is struck from the vocabulary. I say a magazine advertisement recently, I think it was for NIKE that stated: “Impossible is nothing.” Our minds can be a great asset in achieving our hopes, dreams and desires. It truly is mind over matter.” — Joe Moran