Things have been a bummer lately. The economy is devastated, the weather is strange, and oh, we have a pandemic on our hands. How does one persist in hope when things seem so hopeless? Here are my suggestions based on the acronym H.O.P.E.
H: Hone your mental fortitude. This is a way of thinking that lead us to respond in patterned ways to the everyday demands of life. Research shows that how or what we think directly affects our moods
and how we feel. Events or circumstances do not determine your mood. How you think about them does. Keep your thoughts in check. Remember, you are responsible for your own emotions and actions. Your harmful actions or dysfunctional behavior are the product of your irrational thinking. Take responsibility for your distress.
O: Optimize your moments. Life is a daisy chain of moments all weaving together the tapestry we call life. Each moment is ladened with potential. It is the only part of time in which we can be fully aware. Celebrate the glass of wine with your spouse. Laugh heartily at stupid jokes. Weep at the injustices of life. In other words, deeply seize the day by the moments.
P: Populate your relationships. None of us is as smart as all of us. Getting through bummer times cannot be done alone. You need others to share the load and contribute insights. Given the nature of social media we can find others who care over long distances. Of course, it is critical to have a handful of friends who are close by to lend a hand to and shoulder to cry on. Plus, as you contribute to the relationship you get a greater sense of self worth.
E: Energize your soul. You cannot neglect your spiritual nature. St. Augustine said of our relationship with God, “our hearts are restless until we find our rest in you”. Settle down and breath in the reality of a greater, more expansive world. Rest in the relationship of a God who cares and can be trusted. You might not always understand what he is up to, but you can be faithful to him as he is to you through thick or thin.