Exercise Your "Hope Muscle"

June 30, 2022

Sophie Bebeau

“We always kept in our hearts the most noble, beautiful feeling that sets human beings apart: hope.” - Manel Loureiro

When we think about wellness, we often think about our physical health, but if you look at the full spectrum of the Dimensions of Wellness, you'll find that wellness is so much more than just exercising and eating healthy. Paying attention to a managing our emotional well-being is a huge part of overall health and can help us lead a fuller life. Today, I want to talk about an emotion that sometimes gets pushed aside in this fast paced world: hope. We get bad news all the time and there often isn't time to process the bombardment of negativity we can experience in this digital age. That's why it's important to take time to hope.

Think of hope like a muscle. You come to the gym and work on building stronger muscles, building stamina, and working towards long-term goals. Week by week you make more progress and find yourself getting stronger and stronger with each day of exercise. Hope, like most muscles you exercise, can hurt at first, especially if you’re not used to flexing it.

When tough times hit, hoping for a better tomorrow can sometimes feel fruitless and even foolish. When bad things happen around us, it’s natural to want to give in to the hopelessness that we might feel. It may not be easy, but it's possible to strengthen our "hope muscle" right now and it's one of the greatest acts of kindness we can do for ourselves and others around us. Working on nourishing our sense of hope helps us get through the toughest times and lends strength to the people in our lives.

What Hope Is & Isn’t

Let’s be real, it’s HARD to hope when things suck. But you don’t have to wax poetic or go full Lord of the Rings monologue to be hopeful. Hope isn’t about thinking positive thoughts or self-deluding. Hope is the work of believing the dawn comes after each dark night. Hope is doing what needs to be done each day to care for yourself, care for your community, and society because you know better days are coming. Hope is a lasting human legacy, practiced by billions of people through all the worst moments in history.

Hope isn’t a mood. It’s an action. It’s a choice we make every day to believe in the possibility of a better future.

The Science of Hope

For those of you who need a little more than just pretty words about the triumph of the human spirit, there’s science behind hope too. Research shows that people who choose hopefulness in the face of adversity manage stress better, feel a greater sense of happiness, and believe they are better equipped to influence the direction of their own lives and impact on the world. Those who exercise the “hope muscle” also are more likely to live a physically healthier life as well, making healthier food choices and exercising more regularly.

This week, take a moment to choose hope, for yourself and for others.

What do you feel hopeful about this week? If you're struggling to manage this important emotional dimension of your life, consider talking to one of our certified Wellness Coaches and getting guidance on a holistic approach to leading a well life.

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