When the future children of the world look back on this time, there will be a line drawn in the history books of a time before CoronaVirus and a time after.
As we are currently in the midst of this new world developing daily, with no- one really understanding when this will stop, what the world will truly look like, is currently a mystery.
For many this uncertainty is bringing fear, confusion and panic but for others a welcome relief to slow down, to take stock, to be present in the moment, even though outside their doors a war is raging with an unseen invader that no military power, money or brute force can presently stop.
So how can we foster the strength of hope in the midst of confusion?
Hope is a positive emotional state about the immediate or long term future, but without a goal or an action step, hope is just a whimsical fancy.
So in this ever changing world how can you harness the power of HOPE to bring about change for you and your family and boost your resilience in the face of this adversity.
1. NOW IS THE TIME TO DREAM BIG
How many of you had big dreams when you were little. Dreams of how your days would play out when you became an adult, I bet for one minute your didn´t think your days would be spent hurrying and rushing from one activity to the next.
Throwing food down your throat at your desk, whilst multi tasking a 100 things that need doing NOW. So just STOP, don´t delay in revisiting them and start to dream about how you can carve out a new future for yourself or your family.
Take a piece of paper and tap into those dreams you had as a little one, if you have children get them to join in. How will life be different when this is all over, what things are you enjoying now that you will continue to implement?
Nothing centres the mind and object of desire more than not being able to do something. So if that “thing” is Freedom, what will freedom look? If that “thing” is time, how will you manage it ?
2. HAVE A DAILY GOAL
Writing a daily goal towards this new future you are dreaming about is not about running around like a headless chicken, but about simple easy steps that can help move you towards that big dream.
A daily goal might be to carve out an hour to do what makes your heart sing, reading, watching NetFlix, savouring the simple things in life, like the sun on your skin, more time with your family and eating simple foods. So write that as one of your goals and then write down the obstacles you may experience and how you can overcome those.
Have three short action steps that you can take towards that goal. So for the example above, tell all family members that three o´clock is your “me” time and put a do not disturb note up and encourage them to do the same. Schedule and stick to family meditation time to reconnect together. Remove electrical items from all family members for an hour and get back to human interaction playing a game.
3. CREATE A HOPE JOURNAL
The self-reflective practice of journalling and expressive writing has not only been shown to reduce anxiety and depression but also boost the immune system too (Pennebaker,1997).
Writing about the challenges you currently face, your concerns about the future and ways in which you can navigate the changing landscape of the world will allow your brain to start looking for solutions rather than the problems and hurdles you may incur along the way.
4. HIGHEST HOPES, BIGGEST FEARS
Originally an exercise designed for adolescents (Carrell, 2010) this a brilliant process for all family members or couples to go through. By writing down and sharing your biggest fears and discussing them, you can all work together to find solutions, reframes and hope.
If you are in lockdown with several members of your family, write down 5 of your biggest fears and hopes and then exchange your list with another family member and discuss, before sharing this with the whole family.
This will allow for open conversations, you might be surprised what the younger members of the family have to say and will bring the elephant in the room out for all to discuss.
5. LOOK TO HELP OTHERS
One of the simplest ways to foster hope is to help others, it gives you a meaningful goal to work towards. If you are on lockdown, organise a daily telephone call to those in your community who might not have family or deliver (safely) small care packages on your daily exercise outings.
Schedule a weekly or daily Zoom call within your friendship circles, to boost morale and check in with how everyone´s mental health. Resiliency has been shown to be boosted in times of adversity when your friendship circles are strong.
Life might have changed as we know it, but this is our opportunity to shine, to start creating the new improved world now, by working on ourselves and the hope that we are putting out into the world.
So what are you doing to stay hopeful?