The Science Of Hope



I was inspired by an article in WomanKind about Hope Theory and I wanted to investigate it a bit further.

‘Hope Theory’ as it’s coined comes from an American Psychologist Charles Snyder. He believed that hope ‘is an essential emotion we should be cultivating in our day-to-day lives.’

He called people high hope individuals or low hope individuals. Those of us who are high hope individuals view barriers as challenges to overcome and look for alternative routes to their goals.

A bit like some of the changes we’ve seen just in the last week in business. Local pubs delivering home-cooked meals, galleries opening their virtual doors, theatres offering an escape from Netflix with daily streamed performances, yoga teachers offering their services online, F1 drivers taking part in eSports.

Or if you’re like my partner – he wants a third way between high hope and low hope – the doomed pragmatist!

I don’t like to think we’re doomed yet!

Snyder’s study looked into how we can cultivate hope. Something we could all do with a leg-up with at the moment.

According to him, there are 3 things we need:

1. To have focused thoughts

2. To develop strategies to achieve your goals

3. To be motivated and make the effort to achieve your goals

The science says the more you believe in your ability to do these 3 things, the more hopeful you will become.

And not only is hope something we all need and should aspire to have, especially in these trying times, but studies have shown that when we’re hopeful we’re more likely to achieve our goals.

Psychologists Kevin Rand and Jennifer Cheavens said ‘Higher Hope corresponds with superior academic and athletic performance, greater physical and psychological well-being, and enhanced interpersonal relationships’.

So hope literally makes us better at life. And when you think about it, it makes sense.

When we do allow ourselves to spiral into a pit of despair very little productivity takes place.

And that’s not to say, that we can’t have moments of despair. I had a good old cry yesterday and angrily banged around some pots and pans and threw a book at the floor.

It’s just that if we allow it to take hold of us in the long term it’s really hard to reach those goals and stay motivated.

These are trying times, but we are adaptable. We’re entrepreneurs. We still have products to offer that people want and need, we might just need to position them and offer them in a slightly different way.

How are you feeling at the moment? Are you high hope, low hope or fitting in the newly named category of doomed pragmatist?

This article was first published on debbiedooodah's site - she's on a mission to help others have more freedom in their lives, by helping them to discover and build businesses they love.

Jun 8, 2020

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