When life throws you a curveball, we are often told to have hope. But is there any scientific proof that hope works? Dr. Jerome Groopman, author of The Anatomy of Hope, says there is truth to hoping. He writes, “Researchers are learning that a change in mind-set has the power to alter neurochemistry. Belief and expectation — the key elements of hope — can block pain by releasing the brain’s endorphins and enkephalins, mimicking the effects of morphine. In some cases, hope can also have important effects on fundamental physiological processes like respiration, circulation and motor function.”
Hopeful people are happier, less stressed, and healthier. How can you develop a hopeful attitude? According to the research of Duane Bidwell, an associate professor of practical theology at Claremont School of Theology in California and Dr. Donald Batisky, a pediatric nephrologist at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, there are five pathways to hope: maintaining identity, realizing community, claiming power, attending to spirituality, and developing wisdom. To learn more about these pathways, read the article How Hope Can Help You Heal.
Hope should not be confused with denial or wishing. Hope requires moving forward actively not passively waiting. If you would like assistance in developing a hopeful mental attitude, set up an appointment with a mental health care professional who can guide you through this process.
For more information, visit Mind and Body Health – Holistic Health.