Four ways we can inspire hope in others

“Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air…but only for one second without hope.” ― Hal Lindsey

We may not often think about it, but hope is critical for human survival. Every person needs a reason to live, and hope can be the thread that keeps us hanging on. During challenging times, people can easily sink into despair and lose sight of the silver lining. How can we inspire hope in others when the days are dark? Is it even possible, especially when we struggle ourselves?

Taking on a hopeful outlook isn’t exclusive to positive-thinkers. There are ways to bring that spark into our lives, and spread the light to others.

1. Dwell on possibilities

When we open up our minds to what’s possible, our brains take on a different perspective. We un-limit ourselves, and with that, our perspective changes. Allowing our brains to explore what’s possible brings a positive, outward-looking mindset. Imagination feeds our soul, and we can invite others to imagine with us. Few things are more inspiring than thinking about the good things that could be.

 

2. Step into their struggle

Empathy is a deeply connecting emotion. When we empathize with others, they often feel less burdened, even if the situation doesn’t change. And that slight relief may be enough to inspire hope. Knowing that someone cares enough to consider our problems can empower us to face our challenges. It helps us feel that we can overcome our struggles, together. Companionship strengthens us in ways that are difficult to quantify or match.

 

3. Show kindness and appreciation

It’s not an overstatement to say that one small act of kindness can change someone’s day. Feeling appreciated or receiving kindness can turn a gloomy mood into a brighter one. We all have days when we need something to tell us “life isn’t so bad after all”. So treat that co-worker to coffee, or tell a friend why she’s special. You may just be the ray of sunshine they needed on an overcast day.

 

4. Set simple, attainable goals

Oftentimes, we get overwhelmed by what needs to be done and feel powerless to achieve them. It can get depressing to think about everything that’s wrong. Instead of staring at the huge mountain that needs to be scaled, focus on the next three steps in front of you. A simple reminder of “let’s just get through the day” can be all the comfort and reassurance someone needs to power through. Let tomorrow worry about itself, because each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34)

 

In a world that doesn’t run out of problems, it can be challenging to think positive. But we don’t need to force ourselves to always be upbeat. Minor shifts in mindset can help us go through life feeling less burdened, and more empowered. There will always be trouble, but we can slowly cultivate healthy habits that keep things in perspective for ourselves and those around us. We can be the reason people find hope in a dark and dreary world.

 

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