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Hope...and Mental Health (How to Find It)

Read Time: 2 minutes, 19 seconds
Hope...and Mental Health (How to Find It)
Read Time: 2 minutes, 19 seconds

What we need now is hope. It’s in ingredient of mental health that isn’t talked about much.
And I think it’s because it seems so esoteric.
It feels out of grasp. Hope is something that people write songs and pen poems about. It’s not tangible.
But it is during times when the darkness seems a bit too close that hope is needed most.
Let’s make it a bit more tangible.
Hope and Mental Health
Hope is part of mental health, and mental health is part of hope.
And sure, these words are fine, but what do they really mean?
Consider the word “love.”
What is love? Can you neatly describe it? I know I can’t. But I know it if it’s not there.
The same goes for hope. Hope is an entity which knows no bounds, but you can feel it when it’s not there. It’s looking at a puzzle that’s almost complete except for one thing. It’s missing a piece right there in the center. It feels almost perfect, but the missing piece is glaringly obvious. The empty spot stares you right in the face.
So it is with hope. And so if it feels like hope is gone–and if you know it’s a key part of mental health–what do you do about that?
Finding Hope
Go for a walk. Even if it’s only in your mind.
Picture what the world looks like when it’s full of hope. If you’re like me and you’re not able to visualize images, write it down. Or speak the words and sound it out. There are many ways to create images.
Now, meander around a bit.
Whether you are physically walking or verbally walking, take your time with it. Go searching where your heart tells you to go. Can’t hear your heart? Get quieter. Become still. Your heart will always be there. It’s just waiting for you to settle down enough to listen to it.
Use your senses to figure out what hope feels like to you.
I can’t tell you what hope is like. Like I said from the start, you just know it when you have it. If you still can’t find it, if you still can’t describe it, try describing hope’s opposite. You’ll surprise yourself with how much you know when you describe the opposite of a desired situation.
Seriously. Try it.
Want to make the perfect speech? Want to build something? Want to talk with a friend about something important? Describe all the ways the situations could go wrong. Just by describing the pitfalls, you’ll see that you know more than you think. Now you know what not to do. And now you know what hope is not.
Just because something is not there right away doesn’t mean it never will be. Become familiar with the space, the space that hope will fill.
If you know the contours of what’s missing, you’re more than halfway there.

I don’t know about you, but this has been quite the week for me. We’re living in a world that is constantly changing. Even more reason to dig deep for the hope that’s just beneath the surface.

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Jordan Brown - Mental Health Writer, Poet, and Advocate

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