A to Z of Happiness: H - Hope #atozchallenge @AprilA2Z

Life is full of challenges, disappointments, and failures. At times, we feel so stuck in our life situations that we feel like giving up... on our dreams, on our health, on the people in our lives, even on ourselves. But Nature didn't create us to quit. Nature made us RESILIENT (covered under 'R'.) We're not meant to give up. Not without a struggle, no. And that is why we possess something called "hope".

Hope is the belief that things will fall into place, even if it doesn't seem so right now. Hope shows us a better "future", even when the "today" looks bleak. When logic screams in your head - "This will never work!"... hope whispers gently - "Anything is possible!" Hope is what keeps us going, when the going gets bad. Hope is that state of mind that allows us to believe that things will change for good.


10 Documented Effects and Benefits of Hope

  1. reduces anxiety and depression
  2. brings about positivity and optimism
  3. induces a greater sense of meaning in life
  4. increases productivity and makes you persistent
  5. enhances self-esteem and builds self confidence
  6. leads to physical, emotional, and financial well-being
  7. promotes healthy living and increases longevity
  8. makes you more tolerant, inspired and grateful
  9. improves your relationships and social life
  10. helps in easier and quicker recovery from illness

So if hope is so beneficial and is supposed to be a "natural" mental state for us, how come so many of us end up without it?

Psychologist Charles Richard Snyder states -

"hope is a process of goal-directed thoughts that reflects both - the belief that one can find pathways to the goal, and has motivation based on one’s perceived capabilities or thinking."

Snyder postulated that hope requires the following three thought components:

  1. Goals: Clearly defined, meaningful objectives, that give you a sense of PURPOSE in life.

  2. Agency: The sense of empowerment, that you have what it takes, to facilitate CHANGE in your life conditions.

  3. Pathways: The knowledge that you are capable of figuring out MULTIPLE channels/routes to achieve your goals.

And how exactly do these three things add up to form hope?

Snyder's Hope Postulates (Requirements for Hope):

  • Hope Postulate 1 - GOALS:

    Human beings are dreamers. We dream, and then we work to make those dreams come true. And when we achieve them, we weave some more dreams. It is what we live for. It is what makes us jump out of our beds every morning. And look forward to the day in hand.

    But sometimes, our dreams get broken, leaving us without anything to aspire for. And sometimes, they can be so brutally trampled upon by other people that we might even become too scared to dream again!

    Not knowing where you want to go or what you want to do in your life can easily suck you into feelings of despair. You lose your sense of purpose in life. You don't know what you're here for. You don't feel like you're adding any value to the world in any way. You are merely... existing.

    You try to picture yourself five years into the future, and you see yourself exactly where you are right now, doing the exact same things. You're stuck here, in this very spot, for the rest of your life. You cannot move, well... because you DON'T KNOW where to go! That's when you start questioning your very existence. "Why am I even still alive?"

    That is why, dreams are important. In order to have hope, we need to have realistic goals in life. Always. No matter how badly we failed in the past, or how much it hurt in the past.

    And what do we need for setting goals? We need knowledge about the following three things:

    1. Our VALUES (covered under 'V'):
      What are your priorities in life? What drives you from within?

    2. Our INSPIRATION (covered under 'I'):
      What ignites your creative spark? What makes you even think of stepping out of your comfort zone?

    3. Our PASSION (covered under 'P'):
      What are the activities that you enjoy doing so much that you even forget to be depressed while you are doing them?

  • Hope Postulate 2 - AGENCY:

    Human beings need to feel empowered. We need to be able to believe that we have some amount of control over our lives, that we CAN affect change when required. Feelings of "helplessness" can very easily turn into "hopelessness".

    This is probably where most of us get stuck. We grow up in such critical environments that many of us aren't even aware of our own capabilities. Oh we all know what we're bad at... we keep hearing it so often, both from others as well as our own inner critic... but what we're GOOD at is something that we're never quite confident of!

    In order to have hope, we need to be able to recognize our own strengths and skills. Ask yourself:

    What are you good at?
    What can you do?
    What do you know?
    How can your specific skill-set help you realize your goals?

    If we have conviction in our abilities, and believe that we can reach our goals, we will never despair.

    And for that, we need to learn to DISREGARD the negativity in our lives. (Covered under 'D'.) We need to allow only those people in our lives who are appreciative of us, who help us see how wonderful and amazing we are.

    We need to network with people who BELIEVE in us, so that OUR self-belief becomes strong. (Covered under 'B'.) And we need to keep doing more of what we know we're good at.

  • Hope Postulate 3 - PATHWAYS:

    We've all heard of the saying, "Do not keep all your eggs in one basket", haven't we? Well... Snyder's "Pathways" are our multiple "baskets" of hope. Even if we drop one basket, we still have other ways to get to our destination. And all it requires is a little bit of proactive thinking.

    You need to prepare for multiple options/ways of reaching your goals. (Plan A, Plan B, Plan C... the more the merrier!) Some of those options may be less desirable than the others, but the fact that they ARE there, in case you need them, provides a higher probability of reaching your goals. The knowledge, that you have multiple cushions to fall back upon, automatically makes you more optimistic of achieving your goals.

    So invest in the diverse... be it your financial portfolio, or your relationships, or your skills.

    1. EXPLORE new possibilities and ideas. (Covered under 'E'.) Take up new challenges and hobbies. Interact with new people.

    2. Gain KNOWLEDGE (covered under 'K') of new skills, technologies and trends. Work on your own imperfections and limitations.

    3. Most importantly, work on your physical health and WELL-BEING. (Covered under 'W'.) Because health, truly, is the real wealth.

    Always keep striving towards creating new channels and pathways towards your goals. (See? That, in itself, can be a goal to wake up for!)

People without hope are not just unhappy, they are depressed. They are stuck in a tunnel with NO LIGHT at the end. They are the ones who flush their medicines down the toilet and put a knife to their wrist, or a rope around their neck. They hide in their "cave" and refuse to come out.

I am no psychologist. And I'd never heard of Snyder or his three postulates until yesterday (when I started doing research for this post). But I DO know what living without hope means. And I know that Snyder's theory is correct. I had to work upon all three of these to come out of that mental state. And I wish now that somebody had told me about them back then. Maybe my phase of "despair" wouldn't have lasted for so long.

Today, I'm only going to ask you ONE question at the end of this post.

Do you know of anyone who might be exhibiting signs of such acute despair or depression?

If yes, then PLEASE share this article with him/her. Just knowing that they're not losing their mind, and that there actually IS a step-by-step method they can follow, to restore positivity and meaning in their life, will give them the hope they so badly need. Thank you.

This is my eighth post for A to Z of Happiness.

I have completed this challenge once before, and published it as a kindle ebook. You can get it on amazon: A to Z of Blogging: Take Your Blog To the Next Level.

(Continued below sponsored content)

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Want to Add Something?

Deliciously Alive said...

Hope is what we should never let go off, no matter what we had to let go off or was taken away from us. Hope is also a habit that needs to be cultivated.
Thanks for sharing, Chicky.

Rajlakshmi said...

Depression kills slowly, and people don't even realize it until they are deep in it's dark clutches. Hope is what will keep them afloat ... Loved this well articulated post.

Shilpa Garg said...

They say, the road that is built in hope is more pleasant to the traveler than the road built in despair, even though they both lead to the same destination. So yes, hope is a good thing and we must have always. Like Snyder's Hope Postulates...makes a lot of sense!

Narayana Rao said...

I wrote on health today.
Health of Organization
Good read about hope written by you. I shall try to read Snyder's papers. Thanks to you.

archana said...

Very nicely elaborated. I am forwarding this to one person who needs this now. Thank You!

Stopped by from the AtoZchallenge. Do visit my blog at

Vinodini Iyer said...

Hope is what keeps us going. No matter how much stress we take up, there is an ounce of hope lurking somewhere in our heart.

Sanch Writes said...

Hope does have several mental health and physical benefits. I used hope as my positive emotion for the month of January :) Totally agree that this is one of the important steps towards happiness.

Harrisham Rhyme - Over

Meal to the Heart said...

Informative post, Indeed hope can do wonders even in diverse conditions
Beautifully penned, Thanks for sharing
Dr. Bushra
Do visit mine
H for Heedful about The Third Trimester Of Pregnancy

Suzy said...

Hope gives us the will and Faith gives us the strength to keep going.

Suzy at Someday Somewhere - Help Comes ...

Sreesha Divakaran said...

Yes, hope is necessary to keep us afloat, sometimes, in the darkness and despair, we lose sight of it. Also, pessimism kills hope sometimes. Guess it's about our willpower to hang on to it, eh?

the little princess said...

That's a well thought out post. Like you said, many people do give up hope thinking all is lost, but if they'd even hang by the edge of the thread, they might find a way out. I'm sharing this so someone who needs it might read and find it helpful.

Shubhangi @ The Little Princess

SlimExpectations said...

Hope is all you need!!!!

Geetika Gupta said...

Hope is the dug that keeps every one of us going... hope gives us something to look forward! And one should never lose hope, I feel...


Vidya Sury said...

Hope is what keeps us going, because we are tuned to be positive. Occasionally life happens, and we enjoy feeling miserable and predicting doom and gloom. But sooner or later, there's a ray of sunshine and everything looks bright again! Nice post, Chicky!

Cathy Graham said...

What a well written and researched post, Chicky. I'd never heard of Snyder either. His ideas are very interesting. I like how you incorporated your other posts into this one. Clever. Yes, how can we live without something to hope for? I know I can't.

Anita said...

Hope makes life great. Well-explained with relevant points, Chicky!
They say when Pandora opened the box of evils, luckily at the end, "Hope" also got released. Cheers for hope:)

shalz75 said...

I love the clarity in Snyder's three postulates - good stuff there and very sensible advice!

Theme: Peregrination Chronicles (travel)
I is for innovation or Jugaad which we Indians are very famous for #atozchallenge

bellybytes said...

Man does live in eternal hope...

The Average Mom said...

Hope lives eternal. If you loose hope you loose the reason to live

G Angela David said...

well written friend, hope will never disappoint us, enjoyed reading your post, it was very motivating and thats what I keep doing in my life, giving hope to those who come to our counseling centre.. when i listen to their problems.. I begin to see how easily they are giving up hope... thanks for sharing an inspiring post!! All the very best to you for the challenge:)

Debbie D. said...

There's an old saying; 'Hope springs eternal'. Without hope, our lives would be very bleak. Good points, all!

Chicky Kadambari said...

@Deliciously Alive: You are right. Hope is a habit that has to be cultivated. Thank you for dropping by!

Chicky Kadambari said...

True Raji, it does tend to sneak upon us, and yes, hope is what helps us stay afloat.

Chicky Kadambari said...

Indeed, Shilpa. It is so much more pleasant. Thank you! :)

Chicky Kadambari said...

You are welcome, Narayana. And thanks for dropping by!

Chicky Kadambari said...

Thank you so much, Archana. I hope it helps this person!

Chicky Kadambari said...

Hi Vinodini. Sometimes, we DO lose all hope. I have been there. We are totally unable to see our own abilities, and that's when we need a friend to show us what we can't see.

Chicky Kadambari said...

I like the idea of focusing on one positive emotion a month, Sanch. And I'm learning a lot about myself during this challenge.

Chicky Kadambari said...

Thank you, Dr. Bushra! :)

Chicky Kadambari said...

Well said, Suzy! :)

Chicky Kadambari said...

Oh hope finds it very difficult to survive where there is pessimism, Sreesha! :D

Chicky Kadambari said...

Exactly, Princess! Even the edge of the thread is sufficient to pull you out! Life is tenacious that way! Thank you for sharing this! :)

Chicky Kadambari said...

I could do with a cup of tea as well, SlimExpectations! :P

Chicky Kadambari said...

It does give us something to look forward, Geets!

Chicky Kadambari said...

LOL @ "we enjoy feeling miserable and predicting doom and gloom"! :D
Loved how you said that, Vidya! :)

Chicky Kadambari said...

Me neither, Cathy! Can't live without hope!
And yes, even I hadn't heard of him before this post. I'm glad you could appreciate it! Thanks :)

Chicky Kadambari said...

Hahaha! Anita, I have read so many different versions of what happened when Pandora opened the box, I'm just glad I don't have to sit for a test on it! :P

Chicky Kadambari said...

Thank you, shalz75! Yes, I thought they were quite to the point too.

Chicky Kadambari said...

Sometimes, he doesn't, bellybytes! :)
Thank you for stopping by!

Chicky Kadambari said...

True that, Smita!

Chicky Kadambari said...

Thank you, G Angela!

Chicky Kadambari said...

It really is, Debbie!
Thank you for stopping by :)

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