Foster Hope in Our World

Practical Exercises Everyone Can do Today To Create a Lasting Change

There are stressful events with factors we can and cannot control. The world is happening all around us, and with a click of a button, scroll or push notification we are made aware of natural disasters, our worldwide pandemic, wars, should I add more?

Resilience addresses our ‘stress response; which we can control.

Studies show watching the news in the morning negatively effects the rest of our day. We are responding to the environment around us. Consuming Negative News Can Make You Less Effective at Work by Shawn Achor and Michelle Guilen,” Individuals who watched just three minutes of negative news in the morning had a whopping 27% greater likelihood of reporting their day as unhappy six to eight hours later compared to the positive condition.” Harvard Business Review 9/14/15

Resilience says, I will pivot with change and it all begins with our thoughts. When we hear of something terrible, look at the realistic facts, & consider the upside. This realistic optimism will help us navigate.

“there is evidence that positive affective states, and other measures of well-being, are associated prospectively with longer survival and reduced risk of diseases.”

Studies show when our brain is at a positive state we are:

● 30% more productive.

● 37% increase in sales.

● 19% increase in accuracy on tasks.

Today, we are stressed out about being stress out, causing us to only focus on our basic needs: food, water, warmth, rest, security and safety. We need to care for these basic needs to be able to focus on relationships and innovation.

Our brain responds to hope, changing in response to what we do. This is neuroplasticity.

How do we foster hope?

The Sarah Model of Change introduces stages of change we walk through, emphasizing the normalcy of emotions as humankind. What is to note is the power of hope to bring healing as a daily choice. There are 5 stages we undergo, and this can cycle through time. Here are the stages we undergo:

  • Shock

  • Anger

  • Resistance

  • Acceptance, and

  • Healing/Hope

Our brain thrives on hope! This is an exercise recommended by psychologists to bring the brain to a positive state:

1. Create an actionable step (when check email)

2. Pay attention to that one task for a certain amount of time.

This nudges your brain to be positive & productive, reducing stress.

https://www.apa.org/monitor/oct05/mirror

Hope has power for our brain.

“When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive. This discovery has been repeatedly supported by research in psychology and neuroscience, management studies, and the bottom lines of organizations around the world.” Shawn Achor ” The Happiness Advantage

Shawn Achor asked participants to journal 3 things daily for 23 days in studies showed this rewired brain with fMRI technology.

What happens to the brain with such exercises?

Neurogenesis (the growth of new neurons) and synaptogeneis (new connections between between neurons). You can enhance the growth of those two things through meditation, reflective self-inquiry, mindfulness and asking meaningful questions and visualization.

Through visualization, you can turn an abstract hope into a picture that not only inspires you, but also guides you. According to a study called “The Future of Memory: Remembering, Imagining and the Brain,” the human brain can’t always distinguish between a memory and a vision of the future.

What are your experiences with this? Abstract hope can inspire and guide. As on the plane where the caretaker is asked to place the oxygen mask on themselves first before they care for the child, we need to begin with fostering hope in our own lives. Then we will be ready and able to begin answering the question, ‘how can we help the world feel hopeful?