None of us is immune to the stresses and demands of the challenging world we find ourselves living in, yet if we have hope it’s easier to find a way to navigate the most turbulent of seas and to find a way forward. If we allow hopelessness and fear to dominate our internal narrative instead of hope, we have nothing left to hold onto or a light at the end of the tunnel to aim for; we become easily overwhelmed, struggle to see a way out of our troubles and tragically many give up.

We need to try to offer a balanced narrative. The world isn’t as bad as the press and social media would lead us to believe. We just fail to share stories of people doing incredible things for their fellow men and women, examples of love, compassion and empathy. By being exposed to more of these stories we can offer people hope that things can get better and offer an alternative perspective to that which seems to be emanating from most media.

Having hope may not change what happens in each set of circumstances, however, it can give us the ability to navigate and cope better. If we can see even the faintest glimmer of hope in our darkest moments, it gives us something to aim for and head towards.

According to the “hope theory”, hope can give people the will, determination and sense of empowerment that allows them to reach their goals. A large body of research on hope demonstrates its power to support wellbeing, even more so than optimism or self-efficacy (our belief in our own abilities). Hope serves as a buffer against negative and stressful life events.

Hope, as outlined above, is about desiring an outcome that will make our life better in some way, and planning towards it, but with no assurance that the desired outcome will happen.