The power of hope and love

Inspiring hope

In most cases of depression, often exists a comorbid presence of hopelessness.

It is difficult to pinpoint an exact cause for this as everyone’s state of mind differs so much, and there are many different theories to why people suffer mental health problems, specifically depression and anxiety.

I am no psychologist, nor claim to be, however, in my limited experience of life I have found several perpetrators of depression, relation to a biochemical model, a stress vulnerability model, a genetic model, environmental factors, reactive circumstances to name a few theories.

However, despite this availability of scientific evidence/psychological theories relating to the cause of depression, it is a well known fact, that hopelessness is the key factor in why people choose to end their lives deliberately.

I feel instilling hope is a fundamental part of enabling those with depression to overcome their paralysed state of mind.

My own definition of hope, is that despite adversity and the inability to see beyond the despair which at times can overwhelm and darken the senses, disinhibiting the ability to see a bright future, that in fact , things will get better, adopting a positive attitude in times of strife.

Everybody has an individual perspective on what gives them hope in life. I have spent time with people, asking them what gives them hope; common responses related to family, friends, a job, but most significantly,  reflects being connected to other people.

I believe the power of human connection cannot be underestimated. Human connection manifests care, warmth, love, humour, respect and a deep sense of belonging.

I believe we are born to live in communion with one another and a sense of harmony.

My own belief is that spirituality is at the core of this principle, having an awareness that we are all part of a greater purpose and connected through a power that lies within us all.

An example of this, are two perspectives; one is a ground perspective, the other is a higher perspective.

If I look out of a train window as I pass some beautiful countryside, then to a degree, my view is restricted, I have an inhibited view of what is ahead of me.

However, on an aeroplane, if I observe the same view, as the aeroplane flies over the same countryside, the same scenery exists, but on a completely higher perspective. There are things I can see from an aeroplane window that are simply physically impossible to see from a train window!

I try to view life in the same way and I feel hope can often be acquired from a change in perspective.

If disappointment, hurts, or frustration arise because perhaps something hasn’t worked out, I try to see a higher perspective, that perhaps something better awaits around the corner, or that however difficult some things are that occur in life, that simply have no explanation, we can allow our lives to be moulded by them positively, if we choose to adopt this attitude.

Although this theory may seem easier said than done, having hope is paramount in our lives, often reinforced through how we relate to others. Being able to receive love and care from others, as well as give love to those around us.

I believe love is at the core of every human being. And in order to live wholesome lives we need to have a self belief that we are worthy to receive love and acceptance from others as well as giving our care, love and time to others. This is the foundation of human connection. This is what I believe no human being can live without. This is what I believe the world should be about. That if we all loved and cared about each other as much as those we hold most dearest to us, the world would be a better place.

On a final note, I use the analogy of a blocked dam. The river bed represents our physical bodies. The river represents our spirits. The flow of the water represents love flowing through our very core (this can be towards all those in our lives we cherish and value), but the blockage represents anything within us that is keeping us imprisoned in negative feeling/fear/worry and this could represent anything in our lives that causes us to fall or lose that feeling of inner peace/love.

These areas are unique to a lot of people, but may or may not include elements such as addiction, unemployment, bereavement, relationship breakdown, health anxiety to name but a few.

Identifying these areas in our lives enables us the power to accept the feelings these circumstances invoke within our lives, in order to address them positively, and work on effective management strategies, to allow a better quality of life.

Change does not happen overnight, but adapting to situations in our lives that allow us to seek to utilise unfortunate and often unforeseen circumstances in our lives, with a different perspective  to re-establish a firmer identity within our selves, more balanced sense of self worth, enhanced resilience and therefore more meaningful existence .


Choosing to stay positive

I have often heard people say, that our feelings our guided by our thoughts.

Each day we make different choices in our lives, but liimageke a pebble that skims a lake surface, there will always be a ripple effect.

The same can be said of our actions.

I have a variety of CDs that I listen to as I drive to work. The Cds provoke different emotion.

Evidently, powerful music provokes powerful emotion and often allows expression. It is well known that what we listen to affects our feelings. Classical music induces relaxation, Dance music may provoke adrenalin and a serotonin boost, and so on.

The point is, that despite our circumstances, we make a choice to remain positive despite adversity.

Choose the positive , happy CD that inspires hope and happiness, self confidence.

Nobody else is responsible for our own happiness. We need to make that choice for ourselves. Each day. Every day. Writing a gratitude list.

Recently I started beginning my day with a quiet prayer of trust in the day.

And ending the day with gratitude. Learning to be grateful for things that are so easily taken for granted but so precious.

Health, Family, Friends, being alive I am so grateful for today.

It is so easy to question the meaning of existence, when we survive in a highly pressured, 9 to 5 culture.

But if we take a step back, in a quiet moment , set aside each day, to reflect, there are always things to be grateful for, things we could have done better and things we will learn from.

Life is a journey. Full of stepping stones. But we each choose our destination.

Often, it is easy to become so absorbed in what we think matters, to what actually matters the most.

So many people have to endure the pain of acquiring wisdom through the virtue of hindsight, looking back on life’s emotional rollercoaster,.

But we don’t need to endure that if we make wiser choices.

Choosing to forgive, instead of harbouring a grudge, will set us free.

Choosing to love, even when we don’t always feel like loving somebody.

Choosing to change our perspective to a higher perspective.

Choosing to open our minds to people around us, accepting others as they are, without our own bias or prejudice.

Choosing to see beauty in each day. Choosing to see the good in people, instead of the bad. Nobody is perfect.

Persevering in life, through hardships and pain, even when there appears to be no other way out,

Sunshine always follows rain,

A harsh winter is always followed by the fresh inviting evolution of a bright spring, daffodils and newborn lambs bleating in the fields.

Sunrise always follows sunset

And I truly believe out of bad, always comes goodness.

One of the most profound experiences of my life was working nightshift on an oncology ward, because I spent lots of time with people facing terminal illness.

After I had dished out a variety of anti sickness medication and pain relief to alleviate symptoms of this ferocious illness, I would often engage in the most meaningful of conversations I have or will ever have in my life. I treasured this time. I will never forget those quiet times at night, the feelings of fear expressed by those suffering and the hopelessness at leaving behind a life they adored and a family they cherished deeply.

It invoked a sense of powerlessness within me. Because there was nothing I could do or say that would ever pacify this situation. All I could do was listen. And enable it to change me and my perspective.

Often in life we face situations and we are desperate for resolution, or for something or someone to change, we all we actually need is change within ourselves.

I have found much solace in the value of acceptance. There will be things I can control. There will be things I cannot control. But the greatest ability I have within is to accept when I have no control and make a change in myself to allow growth in the situation.

Comfort does not promote growth.

A flower does not flourish under a constant shower of rain or a blast of prolonged sunshine, instead it withers and dies.

Our spirits lie within us, in a similar fashion, in order to grow, we need to embrace change and growth and adapt to the conditions around us even painful and challenging situations because they enhance the greatest growth within us.

Working in the oncology ward changed me, it gave me insight into my abilities as a person, what I found fulfilling, what I did not find fulfilling and where I wanted to make the most difference. It also instigated a transition in my concrete mindset that ensured I would always embrace life to the best of my ability, people, places , things.

Never wasting a precious day or moment. Attempting to try and live on good terms with those around me at all times, attempting to strip away any negative feeling within me, through the power of forgiveness or choosing to ask forgiveness to those I had hurt.

I would rather swallow pride than live in regret. It is a very hard lesson to learn. And nobody really need to wait until it is too late to make that mistake. A fight and negativity can last a few days/weeks/even years but regret stays with you for a lifetime and an eternity. It is a choice.

So too is our choice to live in a positive mindset , being grateful for those things around us and valuing everything around us.

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