Weekly Newsletter

March 13, 2024

 "The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." 

― Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Embracing Hope and Faith


Spoiler alert: WE ALL DO!

FAITH and HOPE: Seems we are all quite familiar with these two simple words, along with the dynamic they engender. They actually color the realities of our day... Well, at any rate, we know examples when we see them; "don't get your hopes up" or, "I've lost all faith in you;" apt expressions of disappointment and despair. True, that's a rather backhanded way of looking at these concepts; when hopes and faith are dashed.  Yet, "hope "springs eternal." We work, consciously and unconsciously, to envision desired outcomes while avoiding the less desirable ones. "I hope I get that raise" or, "I have faith that I can get that doctor's appointment."  The envisioning of our desired outcomes, while warding off negative aspects of faith and hope influence most every day. What IS faith, what IS hope? Are they interchangeable? Can we learn to mindfully incorporate them into a more conscious and creative life going forward? 

It is, therefore, most important that we take a closer look:

According to Merriam-Webster:  "Faith:  Something that is believed, especially with strong conviction and complete trust.  A firm belief in something for which there is no proof. Something relying on certainty and trust." 

Psychology Today:  "A belief in something bigger, beyond self with no empirical evidence."  Faith is grounded in the reality of the past, yet based in the present.  According to the American Psychological Association: "We have faith that the sun will rise again tomorrow, at 7:24 a.m.  Faith is the conduit that supports the intention and focus of hope; without which, hope alone is the product of wishful thinking.  Yet faith, within the concept of predictability,  has no guarantee, no certainty."  As for the sun rising,  just refer to the probable cause of the extinction of the dinosaurs. 

According to the American Psychological Association, Hope:  "The expectations that one will have positive experiences or that a potentially threatening or negative situation will not materialize or will ultimately result in a favorable state of affairs.  Hope derives from deep need, sadness, unfulfillment, or physical or emotional pain, and represents profound yearning for betterment." 

Hope need not represent dire circumstances, exclusively, yet it is a desire focused on future outcomes not grounded in the present.  However, in later life, as challenges multiply, hope remains a steadfast companion. Even when confronted with chronic, or life-threatening illnesses, hope can be directed toward finding joy, achieving milestones, or seeking moments of serenity.  Hope is a motivational force, serving as a source of resolve and resiliency to persevere through challenging times, existing alongside the most difficult situations and emotions. 

Three key components of hope in regards to positive outcomes include:

  1. GOALS: Having a goal is the cornerstone of hope. Goals can be big or small. You can have a goal to go to college, or begin taking up yoga.
  2. AGENCY (willpower): Agency is the ability to stay motivated to meet your goal. It involves believing that good things will come from your actions.
  3. PATHWAYS: These are the specific routes you develop to meet your goals. If your first pathway doesn't work, you problem solve to find a new pathway. High-hope individuals understand that roadblocks are inevitable and that several tries may be needed to reach your goal

Hope is much more than wishful thinking, as it requires optimism and willpower with faith in the possibility of positive outcomes. Hope is grounded in the heart. Faith is trust, manifested.

IS HOPE AN EMOTION? While hope certainly involves our emotions, hope itself is not an emotion. Hope is a way of thinking or a state of being. In this respect, hope can be taught. Hope is also distinct from a wish. Hope involves taking action toward a goal, while wish, itself, is out of your control. "I wish it would rain" is just that; for you have no control over it. There are two types of goal outcomes in hope theory: positive (the presence of something) and negative (the absence of something).


  • REACHING a goal for the first time. You want to buy a new house
  • SUSTAINING a present goal. You want to continue paying your mortgage so you can keep your house
  • INCREASING something that's already begun. You improve your property in order to increase its value


  • DETERING something so that it never happens. You take vitamins every day to avoid getting sick
  • DELAYING something so that it does not negatively affect your credit. You ask for a payment extension 
  • AVOIDING a colleague so that you do not have to engage in conflict 

Tips for Becoming More Hopeful

  • THINK OF YOUR GOALS AS EXCITING CHALLENGES: Be consistent in imagining how you'll feel when you get there
  • BE FLEXIBLE AND CREATIVE: Brainstorm your pathways by developing Plan A, B, C, etc.
  • INCREASE YOUR MOTIVATION: Examine your strengths, what works for you, past successes
  • EXPECT ROADBLOCKS: Remember most things of value don't come easily
  • PERSIST, EVEN WHEN STRESSED: This will help you to develop your coping skills
  • TAKE IT ONE STEP AT A TIME: Think in small steps you can take each day
  • KEEP YOUR GOALS HIGH, BUT REALISTIC:  False hope is actually a result of no hope
  • TURN TO HUMOR: Laughter can increase our levels of hope
  • GAIN STRENGTH FROM OTHERS: Surround yourself with others who have overcome tremendous obstacles



1.   More positive emotions

2.   Stronger sense of purpose and meaning

3.   Lower levels of depression 

4.   Better physical health

5.   Fewer number of chronic illnesses

6.   Reduced risk of all-cause mortality

7.   Lower risk of cancer

8.   Stronger relationships

9.   Less loneliness

10.  Greater sense of wellbeing


HOPE is the belief that your future will be better than today and that you're able to make it happen. Enter FAITH, the belief; the trust that it can, and will happen. It involves optimism, motivation, and strategy.

The best part about hope is that it is a learned skill. With practice, you can develop a hopeful attitude which will improve your mental and physical health and even reduce your risk of premature death.

If you start to lose hope, remember that you are not alone. You can reach out to loved ones or your support groups to develop strategies to regain your hope, while supporting others when they falter.

Quote: "What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you." ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

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