Posts by Angela OShaughnessy

The Power of Hope, by Dr. Rick Holmes. Ph.D.

Life has been hard. 2020 was a long year. The start of 2021 and a new year was supposed to bring optimism but the COVID pandemic continues with new variants. We miss connecting with family and friends. There is unrest in our country. It has been easy to fall into numbness or despair. How can you continue functioning when you are depleted and are feeling overwhelmed? It is the power of HOPE.

Hope is the belief that circumstances will get better. If you have hope, you can recover from anything and everything. Psychological survivors are individuals who are active, optimistic, and look to the future. They grieve, which is healthy, but they continue to persevere and fight.

Many of us find hope in our faith. Hope is what stabilizes frantic thoughts, and emotions — it is an awareness that there is no problem big enough to keep God from rescuing you. Hope is a positive expectation that something good is going to happen to you because of God’s great goodness. Hope releases joy, and the joy of the Lord becomes our source of strength.

What precisely is hope? Most psychologists who study the feeling favor the definition developed by the late Charles R. Snyder, PhD, a psychologist at the University of Kansas and a pioneer of hope research. His model of hope has three components: goals, agency and pathways. Put simply, agency is our ability to shape our lives — the belief that we can make things happen, and the motivation to reach a desired outcome. The pathways are how we get there — the routes and plans that allow us to achieve the goal, whether that is adopting a child, finding a better job, or surviving a pandemic.

Research indicates that hope can help us manage stress and anxiety and cope with adversity. It contributes to our well-being and happiness and motivates positive action. Hopeful people believe they can influence their goals, that their efforts can have a positive impact. They are also more likely to make healthy choices to eat better, exercise, or do the other things that will help them move toward what they are hoping for.

Hope is associated with many positive outcomes, including greater happiness, better academic achievement and even lowered risk of death. It is a necessary ingredient for getting through tough times, of course, but also for meeting everyday goals.

If you are searching for hope and getting stuck in the struggles of life, give Pike Creek Psychological Center a call to let us help you in your journey.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13)

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