“Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops… at all.”
~ Emily Dickinson

We all want to be happy, healthy, and successful.  We all go about achieving those goals in different ways.  Along the way, some fall and give up while others fall but get up.  Why?  Because they have hope.

Hope is not just about being positive and happy.  Positivity and happiness occur when we are content.  Hope arises precisely when we are desperate or hurt or see no way out.

Staying hopeful is a lot of work.  It takes a conscious effort, determination and a commitment.  But the good news is that hope can be cultivated.  It is called “hope therapy”.

“Hope therapy seeks to build on strengths people have, or teach them how to develop those strengths. We focus not on what is wrong, but on ways to help people live up to their potential,” says Jennifer Cheavens, assistant professor of psychology at Ohio State University, one of the developers of the Hope Therapy.

The outcome of the study conducted by Cheavens about the benefits of hope therapy is relevant to caregiving and suggests the following:

  • In general, caregivers are more likely to have significant depressive symptoms if those they take care of present with symptoms of depression.
  • Caregivers who scored higher on measures of hope showed fewer depressive symptoms, even if the people they care for were depressed. Higher-hope caregivers also showed higher satisfaction with life and felt less of a sense of burden.

“Hope seems to be protective for caregivers,” said Cheavens.

  • Hopefulness can be learned

In life, we are always dealing with difficulties both personal and professional. Large and small. Public and intimate.  Hope is what equips us with the courage to move forward.  Hope opens us to the possibility that a solution can be found and things will turn out for the best.

So here is to hoping that not all hope is lost, and may its tune without words never stop.

~ Elina Polyakov, MSW, LSW