In the midst of all this seemingly endless bad news, with gloomy economic forecasts, a climate emergency not to mention a global pandemic- how do we save ourselves from falling into a pit of despair? Now more than ever, hope is essential for us to survive and to thrive- giving us the strength, courage and energy to take action towards positive change for ourselves, our communities and the planet. Here are 7 ways how:

How To Be Hopeful

How To Be Hopeful

1. Notice kindness: it’s a cornerstone of hope that gives us faith in each other. We all got a chance to witness this firsthand with the recent outpouring of compassion and empathy: people volunteering in their thousands for the NHS, mutual aid groups springing up as neighbours and complete strangers reached out to help each other. We saw the immense goodness we are all capable of, and there hope lies. So, let’s remember, cherish and continue being part of that kindness moving forward.

2. There’s always more good than bad: our adult brains are designed to ensure our survival by storing memories of bad things that may have caused us harm. Hope lies in allowing ourselves to notice and linger on the many good, funny, interesting things that happen in the course of a day too. Know that even when some people behave badly (there will always be some) and things go wrong (they sometimes will) for each one of these bad things there will always be ten good ones to provide a counterbalance (even during a pandemic!)

3. Friends of the earth: hope lies in the knowledge that we care deeply for our planet. Look around you: from beach litter pickers to groups planting trees, all around the world there are people volunteering their time and energy to protecting and cherishing our world.

4. You are not alone: not in your suffering, or in your joys, lock down showed us that we have so much in common: we need food, water, shelter, we want love, company, connection. Hope lies in recognising that despite superficial differences, we are held together by the shared experiences of being human, and this knowledge can unite us.

5. We stood up for each other: the Black Lives Matter movement showed an outpouring of grief, anger and love: as laws changed and statues tumbled, we gained hope that together we have the power to transform the world, side by side.

6. Beauty is everywhere: it’s the default setting of the world. As our world slowed and quieted, we noticed flowers growing in pavement cracks, bluer skies, birds singing undimmed by the hum of traffic, cleaner air. In this we saw what might be possible, and the solace to be gained from reconnecting with the wonders of the natural world.

7. Hope in the future: uncertainty contains within it the possibility that better things are on their way: yes, it’s hard to adjust to not knowing what is coming, but not knowing means that something truly amazing could be on its way. Change can mean for the better. Allow yourself to consider your hopes for the future - then act on those hopes by taking one small step in that direction

“How To Be Hopeful” by Bernadette Russell, published by Elliot and Thompson, is out 10th September 2020.