The New Science of Hope

The New Science of Hope

There are many important constructs in Psychology and Positive Psychology, and most of the “big” ones get the attention they deserve.

But one, for unknown reasons, sometimes seems to be neglected.

I’m talking about hope, which is vital for positive emotion and resilience and so much more. Which is why I’m sharing this great article from Psychology Today by Dan J Tomasulo …

There is an epidemic of depression and anxiety among all age groups in all settings around the globe, with sadness, stress, and worry reaching all-time highs. According to Gallup’s 2022 Global Emotions Report, the trend for this situation is getting worse.[i] The Gallup report highlights three important, alarming tendencies.

  1. People are having more negative experiences and fewer positive ones.
  2. Stress, sadness, and worry are at their highest recorded levels.
  3. People do not feel rested and experience less joy than at any other time in history.

This means the tools psychology has used since its inception are tools that have failed to prepare us. Roughly 80% of people with depression relapse[ii]. Despite everything we’ve thrown at it, 80% of people who get depressed get depressed again. The key to understanding this is how treatment effects are reported, and relapse rates get noticed. Relapse rates (the measure of those who appear to have been cured, healed, or relieved) are more important than treatment success rates. Just because a treatment for depression or anxiety worked doesn’t mean it continues to help once the treatment is complete. You can get a good treatment effect—and yet a high relapse rate.

As the Gallop report indicates—nothing preventative has been put in place to stop the worsening conditions. New research and ways of thinking about what is needed indicate there is hope—literally. A new science of hope and hopefulness has the capacity to change the trend. The key is understanding exactly what hope is, what makes it unique and making that realization work for you.

Hope is the only positive emotion that requires negativity or uncertainty to be activated. Without bleakness, the spark for hope isn’t ignited. We have no need for hope without sorrow. Low hope people fail to realize that the negativity or uncertainty is a call to action—one that can serve to change their perception about a situation. Their perception of the circumstance is fixed, causing them to repeatedly focus on the negative and not challenge themselves. In contrast, high hope people know that hope is the regulation of perception toward believing in control of the future. They believe a positive future outcome is possible,[iii] combined with a desire for that outcome. They search out ways to cultivate positive feelings while entertaining possibilities. They cherish relationships and will seek support in achieving their goals. High hope people stand ready for life’s challenges, and the payoff comes from research that shows they will live a longer, happier, and healthier life…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE