What is Hope? There are many definitions of Hope, you can see some in Lesson 1, and there are many factors that go into creating a Hopeful Mindset. Hope is both emotional and behavioral; and it is having an expectation that is both desired and possible. Whatever we ‘hope for’ must be positive, and must have behavioral actions we can step to get towards it. And if we can’t get there, we need to be able to ‘pivot’.
Hope also incorporates much deeper concepts including passion and purpose, growth mindset, kindness, gratitude, presence, empathy, awe, sacredness, respect, collaboration, self-efficacy, creativity, belief, and more. So when we developed this program, we incorporated all of those concepts. We also believe part of hope, is being able to identify what it means for ourselves and our communities, so we allow our students and classrooms to create their own definition.
What kinds of societal returns can we seen for teaching Hope? The impact is quite broad, and hope has many posive outcomes you may not expect beyond mental health. Let’s look at a review of the studies:
- In a study on depression and anxiety and hope in youth, Students who expressed higher hope at the beginning of the study had lower measures of depression and anxiety one and two months later. The reverse was not true, however — symptoms of anxiety and depression had no effect on future levels of hope (Journal of Personality, 2007) This is important, as depression and anxiety do not predict your future levels of Hope, but your levels of Hope do predict your levels of anxiety and depression. Why is this important? Because by strengthening your hope muscle, you can equip yourself to prevent depression and anxiety in the future.
- Hope and hopelessness are two distinct but correlated constructs. Hope can act as a resilience factor that buffers the impact of hopelessness on suicidal ideation. Inducing hope in people may be a promising avenue for suicide prevention (PLOS, 2015)
- Hope uniquely predicts objective academic achievement above intelligence, personality, and previous academic achievement (Journal of Research in Personality, 2010)
- Hope, but not optimism, predicts academic performance of law students beyond previous academic achievement (Journal of Research in Personality, 2011)
- Hopeful people have a greater sense that life is meaningful (International Journal of Existential Psychology & Psychotherapy, 2010)
- Hope is a strong predictor of positive emotions, and hope and optimism are distinct from one another (Journal of Positive Psychology, 2009)
- The Role of Hope in Buffering the Impact of Hopelessness on Suicidal Ideation (PLoS One, 2015)
- Hope accounts for 14 percent of productivity in the workplace — more than intelligence, optimism or self-efficacy (Journal of Positive Psychology, 2013)
- The Business Case for Hope (Forbes, 2019)
- Effective leaders understand their followers’ needs: trust,compassion, stability, and hope (Strengths Based Leadership, 2009)
- Self-Efficacy, Optimism, Resilience and Hope in the Workplace are key to productivity, a review of all (Jacobsen, 2013)
- Investing in treatment for depression and anxiety leads to fourfold return (World Bank, 2016)
- School-based substance abuse prevention is generally very cost effective, for example, “Life Skills Training” returned $21 dollars for every dollar spent on the intervention (NASMHPD, 2012)
See our latest presentation at the International Child Mental Health Working Group (ICMH), Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston).
As you can see, hope plays a key role in so many things in life. So understanding hope as a skill, operationalizing it in communities, and engaging communities in practicing can impact our world beyond measure.
Join us in teaching Hope. In strengthening societal hope. In infusing Hope into each and everything you do, and we do.
Share the information with others, get teachers involved, generate funds for hope, ask your workplace to invest, do a cause marketing campaign for hope, and help us increase hope in all populations and all levels.
Sign up for our newsletter, and join our social media outlets @ifredorg spreading the message of hope using hashtags #spreadhope #teachhope #hope #hopefulminds.