Positive Psychology Part II
“Sense of Hope”
By Petrina Yemane
One of the most important attributes to develop for self-efficacy, well-being and emotional/mental health is a sense of hopefulness. This concept of attaining hope is pivotal in the therapeutic processes. One who is in distress and despair arrive in therapy for their simple inability to conjure up this virtue. It is one of the building blocks to repair one’s inner being and provide a foundation in which to build upon.
This concept of hope should also be important to the therapist and should not be overlooked nor minimized. For the person receiving counseling it takes great trust to accept and internalize the input and therapy approached used to create Hope (optimism) which leads to other positive virtues for Encouragement, Euphemism (excitement), and Happiness (well-being).
Using the list of 10 positive emotions below, as a guideline, rate your contentment level.
1. Hopefulness 2. Loved 3. Euphemism 4. Forgiveness 5. Accomplishment 6. Peace
7. Contentment 8. Happiness 9. Giving 10. Encouragement
How do you feel about your job? 1 2 3 4 5 (1-hate, 2-dislike, 3-okay, 4-like, 5-love)
How do you feel about your family relationships?
How do you feel about your current income?
How do you feel about your social life?
How do you feel about your physical appearance?
How do you feel about your physical health?
How do you feel about the direction of your future?
If you rated any of these questions for assessing contentment for a “2” or below, you should have some concerns.
Positive Psychology says having a sense of Hope or Optimism can increase your self-ratings for these basic life questions from “3-5”.
“Both avoidance of suppression and the positive resolution of life’s stresses could have beneficial effects on health and longevity…..positive attitude in dealing with life events, an optimistic explanatory style in contrast to a pessimistic one, can lead to greater feelings of well-being and perhaps even longer life”. (Seligman, 2000); (Danner, 2001).
In the research findings for Brenes, Rapp, Rejeski and Miller, a decrease in hope and optimistic thinking brought about significant physical and mental health risks. “Negatively biased expectations may affect the behavioral choices individuals make. More pessimistic adults may seek treatment less often, may chose to be less adherent to treatment programs, or may be less physically active, resulting in poorer health, poorer physical conditioning and greater disability” (2002). They also found optimism from a sense of hope created better adjustment and coping skills.
Snider, Hardi and Cheavens, use the term Hope Therapy “which assumes that optimism involves a goal-based approach as well as considerable value being attached to a perceived outcome for Agency-like thought and Pathways-like thoughts” (2000). Through these directed thoughts, the perceived outcome is to build Self-Efficacy, build one’s Esteem, build Problem-Solving Skills and become goal focused; preventing relapse.
Finding your pathway to happiness and success starts with seeds of hope, which gives encouragement to being resilient (our next post). Your beliefs and ways of thinking can prevent you from achieving or it can be a springboard to progress. The therapeutic method can be of great value in achieving the latter. It is the person in counseling who through the guidance of the Counselor, is able to develop this virtue to decrease distress and ultimately heal.
Brenes, G. A., Rapp, S.R., Rejeski, W.J., & Miller, M. E., (2002). Do Optimism and Pessimism Predict Physical Functioning? Journal of Behavioral Science, 25: 219-231.
Danne, D. D., Snowdon, D. A., & Friesen, W. V., (2001). Positive Emotions in Early Life and Longevity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80: 804-813.
Snyder, C. R., Ilardis, S. S., Cheavens, J., Michael, S. T., Yamhure, L. & Sympson, S., (2000). The Role of Hope in Cognitive-Behavior Therapies. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 24: 747-726.