Hope has played an important part in the history of mankind. It is a principle theme in the largest religions. In Christianity it is taught, ‘hope’ in salvation through God is as important as ‘faith,’ itself. Muslims, too find ‘hope’ important and believe that their, eternal destinies and hope of salvation in paradise are only known through Allah.
Hope is a positive state of mind based on an expectation of a positive outcome, according to many dictionary definitions. Psychologists unanimously believe there are very rewarding mental benefits associated with hope.
Psychology Today says,
“Hope leads to learning goals, which are conducive to growth and improvement. People with learning goals are actively engaged in their learning, constantly planning strategies to meet their goals, and monitoring their progress to stay on track.
I am sure that most of you have heard the tale of Pandora and her box. The myth of Pandora’s box is considered one of the most important myths of human behavior in Greek mythology. Allow me to recap the tale especially for those who have not heard it before. The gist of the tale is that the Olympian gods decided to gift Pandora with a lovely box but with specific instructions not to open it. Zeus wanted to punish mankind for disobeying the gods and stealing fire.
Pandora being inquisitive did so and as a result let loose all the ills of the world. In terror she tried to recapture the curses on mankind but only managed to shut hope in the box. This was the intention of Zeus, to teach mankind a lesson, therefore we can see the importance of hope down the ages.
Why is hope important? At certain times life is very difficult. Many obstacles arise impinging on our happiness. Having goals is not enough. It’s important to keep getting closer to those goals, by navigating bumps in the road. Hope allows people to form a mind set and a strategy to eventually achieve the final route to success.
From the 5o year old man who losses his family and his job though stays positive to start again to gain a suitable income and find happiness to the 12 year old girl who is determined and in a positive mindset to pass her English exam, people with hope are in a better frame of mind to step forward with a plan to succeed. In the history of humanity hope has played a part in great victories in many different ways. In science mankind hoped to banish small pox, the plague and leprosy. The goals were achieved and new tough challenges face scientists today with illnesses like M.S and cancer.
In the history of war victories were won on the back of great hope that victory could be won even when that victory seemed impossible at times. A good example was the second world war where in the early years the military force built by the Nazis seemed undefeatable. Today the greatest hope for mankind is that out of control population growth and global warming is stopped before its too late, while keeping world peace is a continuous hope.
“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.”
It should be pointed out that more research is required to study the impact of hope on the human brain but the one thing that can be confirmed is the more hopeful we are, the less anxious we tend to be – so think back to stressful situations that you have faced in the past. Eventually, you had overcome those challenges but there must have been a certain period when you started feeling more hopeful and as a result, your anxiety would have have decreased. That’s hope at play. Undoubtedly, hope is a powerful emotion and one that causes us to experience a range of positive feelings from optimism to being cheerful and optimistic.