3 Ways to Restore Hope During Uncertainty

Life isn’t always the way we want it to be. I don’t like to recommend it, but all we have to do is to glance at the headlines to see that we live in very uncertain times. The job we thought was safe might not be there tomorrow. There’s always some natural disaster somewhere. And people seem to be more cruel than kind today more than at any other time in history. 

I am not sure this last statement is completely true. Because if you really look back at history there have been some horrific events and people throughout history as we know it. 

It’s easy to get caught up in a negative spiral of self-doubt and anxiety. How do you stay hopeful and positive when around you all you see are negative messages and fear? 

Be here now

By focusing on the present, you will find it easier to take a step back and act as an observer. By practicing mindfulness, you’ll see you can enjoy the simple things in life, no matter how bad things may seem. All worries and fears of the unknown can melt away if you focus on the present.  Look for things in your life for which you're grateful.

Gratitude has certainly been the antidote for all of life’s challenges in my life. Being grateful for the little things and the small-scale good in your life can help you be fully present instead of worrying about a future you can’t control.

I watched my 46-year-old sister die from cancer in February 2021. It was not fun to watch her take her last breath. But I was grateful in those last moments to be there with her daughters and my dad as we all lost someone who meant a lot to us. 

However, even in these moments of loss, we can find things to be grateful for if we are open to the spirit speaking through us. 

Look for ways to exhibit compassion and empathy

Spreading hope needs to start somewhere. Begin with the one person you can control, yourself. By looking for opportunities to pay it forward through random acts of kindness, you then become the impetus for others to do the same. Your compassionate heart and ability to walk in another’s shoes will be the guide to those around you. And even if it’s not? You’ll have at least changed one heart - your own. 

If I am completely honest, compassion is one of my weakest skills. I am often so focused on the task of getting through a challenge or maybe even why someone is struggling that I forget to show compassion for someone else's story or challenges they may have dealt with in life. 

By being aware of this, I ask others to help me remember the person in front of me and not the task to be done. My wife has this strength and she is a trusted ally in helping me lead with more compassion and less judgment toward others. 

Do something

The person without hope becomes stagnant, preferring to hide from the world. If you find that’s the case with yourself, then it’s time to force yourself into action, even if you don’t feel like it. Get out of the house. Call a friend and suggest an outing or go by yourself. Find a green space somewhere because these places have been found to create calm and contentment in those who spend even a few minutes there. The goal is to find a positive action and embrace it, whatever that might be. Pick up litter, hug a child, do something that makes you feel good inside, and there you will find hope blossoming. One of the greatest things we can do is to help someone else. Helping others is good medicine for the soul.

Can I suggest a few more things? Go on a social media fast. Social media has increased anxiety, depression, anger, and judgment toward others more than any of our other conditioning or environmental factors. Also, turn off the news. It is the same hate-filled, bad news filled space every day. You will know just by the world around you what you need to know. 

I personally have not watched the news in my house since 2019. And wow, what love I have for more people because of practicing this in my own life. 

It’s so easy to get caught up in the negativity of the world around you. Only by actively seeking hope will you find it. By practicing these three steps regularly, you’ll find yourself able to look forward to each day, no matter what’s going on around you. 

Why is this important? If you are in a leadership role you must fill your own head with positive information. Too many leaders of others are filling their heads with the same negativity as everyone else. Negative energy is continually being fueled and if you are taking part in it as a leader you will not be equipped to resolve challenges or cool the mindsets of others. 

I hope you will take this information and apply it today.

Check out my speech I delivered last year for the 2021 Gratitude Symposium.

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