NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Monday, February 26, 2024

5 Reasons Why Hope is Essential to Your Well-Being

Life can be so challenging at times that you might find yourself balancing feelings of hope and dread (see my article: Focusing on Your Personal Strengths to Get Through Stressful Times).

Hope is Essential to Your Well-Being

While it's important not to be overtaken by dread, it's also important not to live on false hope, which will be discussed later on in this article.

This article will also discuss the role of unresolved trauma and how it can get in the way of having a sense of hope for the future.

5 Reasons Why Hope is Important to Your Sense of Well Being
There are many reasons why hope is important to your sense of well-being, including that it can provide: 
  • 1. An Openness to New Possibilities: When you feel hopeful, you're more likely to be open to new and better possibilities for the future.  Even if there's just a glimmer of hope, it can be enough for you to envision a better future for yourself (see my article: Being Open to New Possibilities).
  • 2. A Sense of Motivation: Hope can motivate you to take action because when you feel hopeful enough--even if you also feel some dread--you're more likely to take positive steps towards the goals or challenges you're facing (see my article: Developing Internal Motivation).

Hope is Essential to Your Well-Being

  • 3. A Willingness to Persevere: Goals often require perseverance and perseverance is easier to sustain if you feel hopeful that your goals are achievable. This is especially true for long term goals where you might not always see progress immediately. Hope can sustain you through rough times when you might be tempted to give up (see my article: Achieving Your Goals With Perseverance).
  • 4. A Willingness to Overcome Setbacks: With many long term goals, there are often setbacks because progress isn't linear. This is true of many long terms projects. It's also true for psychotherapy.  When you feel hopeful, you're more likely to take temporary setbacks in stride rather than letting setbacks deter you from your goals (see my article: Setbacks Are a Normal Part of Therapy on the Road to Healing).
  • 5. An Improvement to Health and Well-Being: A sense of hope can improve your physical and mental well-being. When hope reduces stress, it can improve your immune system. Hope can also reduce anxiety and sadness.  In addition, it can increase your confidence.  Feeling hopeful and wanting to remain in a state of hopefulness can encourage you to surround yourself with like-minded people.
Avoiding False Hope and Unrealistic Expectations
Being hopeful doesn't mean that you latch onto false hope or unrealistic expectations.

It also doesn't mean "never giving up on your dreams" if your dreams aren't achievable or they're based on toxic positivity.

For example, if you have a dream of being an Olympic swimmer, but you never learn to swim, your dream is rooted in false hope and unrealistic expectations.  Or, if you want to become a concert pianist, but you hardly ever practice the piano, you're not going to fulfill your dream.

The examples given above are easy to see, but it's not always clear when you're indulging in false hope. 

For example, if you're in a relationship that has long-standing problems, you might not have a sense of whether your relationship can be salvaged or if it's beyond repair.  

In that case, a couples therapist, who is a relationship expert, can help you both to assess how you feel about the relationship and whether you each feel it's still viable.

Seeking Help in Therapy
If you have unresolved trauma, you might find it challenging to feel hopeful even under the best of circumstances because your prior traumatic experiences can cloud your perspective (see my article: Overcoming Trauma: Separating Then From Now).

Seek Help in Therapy

If you feel you're constantly "waiting for the other shoe to drop" even when there's nothing in your current circumstances to warrant your concern, you could benefit from seeking help from a trauma therapist.

A skilled trauma therapist can help you to free yourself from your traumatic history so you can live a more hopeful and meaningful life.

About Me
I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT, Somatic Experiencing and Sex Therapist.

As a trauma therapist, I have helped many individual adults and couples to overcome their traumatic history (see my article: What is a Trauma Therapist?).

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.