21 Days to Resilience, Post 2: Hope

The second chapter of 21 Days to Resilience deals with hope. Dr. Montminy discusses how hope relates to resilience. She notes that hope motivates people to act and that to feel hope, a person must believe in his/her own agency. Hope is related to feelings of self-worth and it has been shown to increase performance, health and emotional intelligence.

To me, hope seems like a topic that is worth more than the few pages and handful of tools that Montminy devotes to it. As with the habits, chapter, however, the tools she suggests are a good start.

The first tool in the chapter is a quiz to “take stock” of your own level of hope. Just five yes-or-no questions long, this quiz ranked me on the “less hopeful” side of the scale. It was followed by some open ended questions designed to help the reader identify their biggest challenges, overcome roadblocks and plot a course forward. These questions can definitely help the reader identify a challenge, reflect on how they are feeling about the challenge and move forward. They are big questions and I haven’t fully worked through them yet.

The other tools Dr. Montminy outlines for strengthening hope include building social connections, visualization, vision boards, and achieving goals. First, she recommends listing “three people you wish you kept in better touch with” and defining how you will increase your communication with them. This one is important for me, especially since my best friend moved away. I decided I will go to book club in August, mail a package to a friend, and text my brother every day.

In the section on visualizing, Montminy describes a specific visualization technique that is related to something Gretchen Rubin discusses in her Happier podcast that she calls, “making the opposite argument.” Both tools involve changing the way you think about a situation, but making yourself come up with concrete evidence to support the opposite argument seems more convincing to me than to visualize a more positive outcome.

Just as Montminy provides a different take on visualization, she also puts a spin on creating a vision board. She argues that instead of using nice images from magazines, you should use images and sayings that are part of your life. She urges the reader to, “Find hope within what you’ve created for yourself, within your world.” and to display these images prominently. As I reflected on this tool, the idea that we are already the person we want to be drifted into my imagination. As some point down the road, I may consider creating a Shutterfly book based on this idea.

The last tool that the author outlines is setting attainable goals. She notes, “Nothing builds home more than reaching goals and moving on to the next.” I am going to focus on five attainable goals that have clear completion points from my 40 by 40 to try to finish during the month of August. These are:

  1. Finish rug
  2. Clear out bedside table
  3. Hem pants
  4. Read one book
  5. Complete vacation photo album

These tools and the coverage of the topic of hope seem pretty scant but I think they are good starting points. In the last paragraph, the author urges the reader, “If you have lost all hope, find something to believe in to help you move through the emptiness.” I’ve found that a daily Bible verse reading often helps me focus in on a topic so for the month of August, I’m reading verses that relate to hope. It is easy to find lists on Pinterest and that is where I found my list of hope-related verses.

“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something.” – Barack Obama



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