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How To Be Hopeful in Hard Times

All of us had to go through some sort of pain during this pandemic. It may be a loss of a loved one. It may be an issue with the job. For some, it could be loneliness or depression. It might be a financial issue for some. And for many, it’s a well-ground mixture of all these.

Whatever the pain may be, they all have one thing in common. There’s a lack of hope that things will eventually get better. All we need to come out of these pains are nothing but “HOPE”

But how does someone feel hopeful again after all that had happened? How could someone who lost his job and has a family to feed be hopeful again? How could someone who lost an important person to a pandemic be hopeful that they could live without them?

As a 10-year-old standing in the school assembly, I used to sing “DARE and HOPE, DARE and HOPE, that’s the motto of our school,” very loudly among thousands of other students. I didn’t realize how strong this statement was back then. But now I realized that Hope doesn’t just come naturally. You should Dare to feel hopeful. You should dare to think of a better future. Or in other words, you should choose to be hopeful instead of being hopeless.

The thing with hope is that it’s already within you. But with all that has happened, you just can’t feel it or you don’t want to feel it. This is my sincere effort to make you feel it and wake it up from its sleepy state. Once it wakes up, you’re already ready to get going.

So here are the 5 ways you can bring back hope into your life.

1. Ask “WHY?”

he who has a why to live for can bear almost any how

Friedrich Nietzsche

During a stressful situation, we are very self-absorbed in what had just happened. During immense pain, all our attention is on what gave us the pain. Shifting our attention from what has happened to what’s better on the way is where the hope lies. So how do you shift your attention? Just ask “WHY?”

Why I should come out of this pain and move on with my life?

The answer to this question will often give you some hope. This is the purpose of your life. This is what you live for.

For many people, the answer strikes immediately after asking themselves this question. Like, “I’ve to live for my child”, or “This world needs to know what I’m really capable of”, or “I have a family to feed”, etc.

You now know what you’re after. If you succumb to life’s tragic situations, you won’t be able to get there.

But for some, It may be difficult to find an answer sometimes to this question when they’re too much absorbed in the past negative events. They think that it’s the end of the road. But believe me, it isn’t. We all know the story of JK Rowling. After a failed marriage, being a single parent, she successfully wrote scripts for the world’s best seller. If she’d thought that she had no purpose, would have this been possible? Every one of us has something that we’re good at. All we need to do is keep doing it for the betterment of our lives or as a service to humanity. That one purpose will serve your need to survive in this world.

2. Express yourself

Another way to regain hope is to express how you feel to someone you love and trust. When you do so, two things may happen. They may console you saying that they’re there for you and that you should go on with your life.

Or they may help you look at a problem from a different perspective. Our mind always exaggerates a problem and makes us feel that it’s so very difficult to overcome it. When we’re the ones who are facing a problem, our perspective will be too hindered. It’s like reading a book too close. You understand nothing. When you express to someone else, they’ll tell you that it’s not a big deal and may even make fun of you. They may even go one step further and make you laugh.

If you don’t think of such a person in your life (to express how you feel), the best way to get out of severe pain is to write them down. When you express your sadness, the kind of emotional pain you’re in through writing, you release them. It’s like a safety valve in a pressure cooker. It releases all the excess pressure and gives you hope to survive.

I’ve revived the benefits of writing my concerns, in my own life. Whenever I’m in a stressful situation, I used to pen down my thoughts. You know what, I feel light and good after doing so. I feel like nothing bad has really happened and it’s my own mind that has really exaggerated the problem.

3. Be Grateful

We people are always good at taking things for granted. We never know the value of something until we lost it. Instead of stressing over something that you’ve lost already, be grateful and cherish the value of the people and things you have in life now. Be grateful for all the good things that are still happening. If you’ve lost your job, be grateful for the experience and skills you got from it. which may help find your next job. If you’ve lost your loved one, be grateful for the remaining loved ones and show your care and affection for them more.

Be grateful for even the smallest of things in life. It gives you tons of hope to move on and survive.

It’s impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment – Noami Williams

When you feel grateful, you start to become hopeful. Your mind starts thinking clearly. A new path unfolds right in front of you. It may be like a miracle. But it’s a result of your gratitude.

The best way to practice gratitude is to have a gratitude journal.

4. Care for yourself

Whenever we feel hopeless, we stop taking care of ourselves. We don’t sleep on time, we don’t eat properly, we don’t socialize, and simply put we don’t take enough care of our own mind, body, and soul. A simple way to start feeling hopeful again is to start your self-care routine. Let your mind follow your body. That is, by taking care of yourself you signal the brain to think positively. The mind now starts looking for inspirations to living and makes you feel hopeful.

If you’re in a state of hopelessness, try the following self-care routine for just a week and see the difference. Though habit experts recommend 21 days for a habit to stick, I suggest that you keep the target to just seven days in the beginning.

And here’s the self-care routine

  • Listen to some music that you like as soon as you wake up (Remember the BiggBoss home?)
  • Keep your body moving by doing Calisthenics workouts or Yoga
  • Meditate. If you’re new to meditation, there are tons of apps on Playstore and Apple Store to help you get started.
  • Eat at the right time. Reduce your intake of junks and increase the intake of fresh greenies.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Stop watching news and listen to or read only positive materials.
  • Keep a journal and express your thoughts and feelings every day. Also list out the things that you’re grateful for in it.

There are many more things that you can do to take care of yourself. Now you have the idea, right? Do this for a week and you’ll definitely start seeing some hope in your life.

5. Change your narrative

Most of the time, the reason for feeling hopeless is not because of reality. But because of the way we interpret the situation to ourselves and, the stories we tell ourselves about the situation. In fact, the real reason I run into a lot of troubles in life is not because of what has happened, but the stories I tell myself about what has happened. When this narration is so negative, how could you expect to be hopeful?

Let’s say someone is diagnosed with an incurable ailment. The discomfort that they experience makes them narrate false stories like, “I’m gonna leave this world soon”, or “There’s no purpose in life”, etc. By saying these false stories repeatedly to themselves, what they’re doing is that they reinforcing their hopelessness. In times of despair, it’s natural for any human being to fall into this trap.

Note: This first post on my blog which attracted many visitors and made people see life differently, is worth noting here.

Instead of saying statements like these, they may say, “The suffering I’m in will end soon and I’ll be back with full of energy.” It doesn’t just stop in just narrating these words. Feel those words. Feel as if you’re really making progress out of the ailment.

In the time of despair, these positive statements keep the hopes alive and help you get through the difficult times.

Final thoughts

No matter how hopeless life may seem now, remember that you’re nearing the end of all the sufferings. Before that, appreciate and pat yourself on your back for making it this far. If you can come this far, can’t you make it through the end of those sufferings? Definitely, you can, no matter what the odds are! Don’t give up on your goals, your loved ones, but most importantly your life. Because your life is in your hands.

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