After a year like 2020, I am sure most individuals are hopeful for a better and less grief-stricken 2021. Hope. It is something we all need and more than likely something we were/are all clinging onto as we moved into a new year. Hope is so incredibly important for our overall mental well-being.
According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of hope is, “to cherish a desire with anticipation, to want something to happen or be true”. Even though this is the dictionary definition, I think we all have our own definition of hope. We all have our own idea of what hope means in our lives and the positive impact that it can have for us. I encourage you all to take time to reflect on what you are hopeful for. Hope is something we can learn and with a little reflection, we can all understand what hope we have in our lives. Some questions you can think about when it comes to hope on a personal level are:
– What does hope mean to you?
– How does hope impact your life and mental health?
– What are you hopeful for?
– In what ways can you practice being hopeful?
These are great questions to consider, especially as we have moved into a new year.
There was a study published in the Journal of Personality and it discovered that one’s level of hope predicts one’s future anxiety and depression level. But, one’s anxiety and depression do not predict future levels of hope. This research finding is very encouraging. With hope, we are able to shift our emotional state by some degree. This particular finding is, in fact, hopeful.
Now I know hope is not something that is always easy to have. Many adverse life experiences can lead to feelings of hopelessness. With everything that happened last year, there were many people dealing with feelings of hopelessness. It is important to note that however an individual is feeling is VALID. Our emotions help guide us through life, and we can never deny someone’s emotions or tell them what they are feeling is wrong. But an important part of a positive mental well-being is to be aware of our emotions and feelings. If we are feeling hopeless, make note of those feelings and examine them. Then try and turn around those feelings of hopelessness by taking note of what gives us hope for the future or what we have to look forward to. By simply thinking of the future in a positive way, we can greatly impact our mental health in a helpful way. If you are struggling with feelings of hopelessness and are not able to shift those feelings to more helpful emotions, please know that help is available. Help and hope are both possible. Seek help from a Mental Health Professional, attend a support group, or you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 to speak with a Trained Crisis Counselor. Lastly, never forget just how important and valuable YOU are. If hope is difficult to cling onto, please cling onto that. You matter and the world needs you.
Katie Zimmerman, Project Coordinator for The Kim Foundation
Katie Zimmerman joined The Kim Foundation in June 2019. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies and Sociology from Central College in Pella, Iowa. During her time in college, she volunteered at many non-profit organizations and took multiple sociology classes which focused on mental health. Katie’s role at The Kim Foundation includes running the social media accounts, assisting in the Youth Advisory Council, and providing mental health awareness and education to the community through A Voice for Hope and Healing presentations.