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How can hope be nurtured when things seem bleak?

In a lot of ways, happiness means hope for the future.

Feeling that there is no hope is one of the hardest emotions to manage. After all, why would anyone even try when they believe there is no hope and therefore no chance for improvement?

Finding hope when it seems like there is none can be difficult, but it is possible.

It is important to remember that no matter how desperate things seem, there is always the opportunity to make things better. While that may not have been the case at the time, things can change.

We all struggle sometimes, and we all have moments where there doesn't seem to be a solution. Yet, everyone who does not give up appears to come out of their struggles well.

When you're feeling down, try these strategies to help bring back hope:

Think of all the miraculous things you've accomplished in your life. You probably learned how to walk, talk and perhaps even drive. You may have completed your secondary or college diploma.

Think for a moment about learning how to speak. It doesn't sound very miraculous; almost everyone learns how to do it. But consider how difficult it really is.

Babies start out making unintelligible sounds. In a few years, they may say certain things, but not very well. In a few years they will be able to say quite a few things - although they still find it difficult to pronounce. This is all after years of daily effort.

So regardless of what you're facing, remember your earlier miracles and know you're entirely capable of working through it. To humans, the apparent impossibility is, in fact, a possibility.

Absorb optimism. Surely you have met people who are always on the right side of things. They're the ones who could stand in the middle of the worst thunderstorm the world has ever seen and say, "I think it's starting to clear up."

Seek out these people and spend time with them. Their optimism will soon start to rub off on you. Talk to them about your challenges; they can have a point of view that can truly push you in the right direction.

Think about things that could inspire you. Use every tool at your disposal.

Faith may serve as an inspiration.

Simple joys, like watching the sunset

Or the stars lighting up the night sky, might bring you the spark you're looking for.

Try reading books that chronicle the triumphs of others.

Volunteering to help the homeless or palliative care patients can show you that things aren't as tough as you first thought.

Sometimes when you see first-hand how difficult things can be, you develop a different view of your own situation.

Also, spend some time with miraculous things. For many, the generosity of nature is impressive, from flowers and cascades to butterflies and cobwebs. When we look at what is possible, we realize that we are capable of remarkable things as well.

Be courageous. Often, cultivating hope requires courage to take that first step forward. Give yourself the chance to find your way through your challenges.

If you want to find hope in your life, you always can! Although your search for hope might take some work, never give up. Just keep working through it and you'll discover that you have plenty of reasons to be hopeful.

Another very good option is to seek the help of a trained professional. Regardless of your challenges, there are always ways through them.



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