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David Baxter

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Hope can play large role in mental health
by Helga Meyer, The Pueblo Chieftain

Hope is defined as the ability to look forward to something with confidence and positive expectation. It is more than a vague feeling of optimism - hope is "an active way of coping with threatening situations by focusing on the positive," according to author Robert Ornstein and Dr. David Sobel. Feeling hopeful creates positive feelings within us, and we know that when we feel hope, we typically feel happier.

Although we have presumed for quite some time that positive, hopeful feelings contribute to better health, researchers are now able to prove with scientific evidence that feelings of hope and optimism use the same neurological pathways in our brains as medications do to promote healing. This has opened up a whole new area of brain research, known as psychoneuroimmunology, and researchers are especially interested to learn the power of hope in creating a positive placebo effect. They have learned that hidden therapies - in which the patient is not aware of receiving treatment or medication - are not as effective as when the patient is aware of receiving medication or treatment. This clearly demonstrates the power of hope and expectation in treating a physical or an emotional disorder.

Feeling hopeful not only affects how well we recover from a disease, but it?s also beneficial in helping our immune system fight off disease in the first place, and can often make a difference in a life-or-death outcome for serious accidents or diseases.

Some people may believe that feeling hope with a bad prognosis (such as having a terminal disease) forces a denial of reality, or allows false hope to develop. However, there are some important differences between total denial, informed denial and false hope. With total denial, you don?t believe you?re ill, and with such a denial, you can?t feel hopeful for a positive outcome. But with informed denial, you accept your diagnosis and choose to feel hope for remission, fewer complications or less pain. Informed denial often inspires hope, which allows you to put your fighting spirit to work, confront a new challenge and utilize all of your internal strength and available resources to fight off the disease. False hope is more similar to wishful thinking and built on pathological denial. When reality hits, the false hope disintegrates, leading to feelings of hopelessness - in which there is a feeling of negativity and no expectation for good or positive things to happen in the future. With hopelessness, depression and illness frequently follow.

Psychologists have found that our lives are directed by three simple things: something to do, someone to love and something to hope for. Without any one of these, life becomes meaningless, so it?s important to work at fulfilling these basic needs.

Children who experience a significant separation or loss of a parent in their developmental years are more likely to develop feelings of hopelessness as adults. However, with talk therapy and feeling the unconditional love and support of another person, they can learn to change their hopeless feelings into feelings of hope. So, people who feel hopeless are not hopeless cases; it is possible to learn to feel hopeful. As Norman Cousins, former editor of The Saturday Review, once said, "Death is not the ultimate tragedy in life. The ultimate tragedy is to die without discovering the possibilities of full growth."
 
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Psychologists have found that our lives are directed by three simple things: something to do, someone to love and something to hope for. Without any one of these, life becomes meaningless, so it?s important to work at fulfilling these basic needs.

I only have one of these. I'm not sure that makes my life meaningless though. :confused:

However, with talk therapy and feeling the unconditional love and support of another person, they can learn to change their hopeless feelings into feelings of hope.

I don't have unconditional love and support. I don't know where that comes from or how to get it.

I think having hope is very important and there are moments, days even where I feel extremely hopeless, but I keep going because someone depends on me I guess. But having something to hope for seems very far away most of the time.
 

ThatLady

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Yes, Janet, you do have unconditionial love and support. You have MY unconditional love and support. Not only that, but I'm sure you have the same from others on these forums. You are someone who matters in my life...someone whose happiness is important to me.
 

Halo

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Janet,

Same here....you and many others on here have my unconditional love and support always. I have never been able to experience real unconditional love and support until I found this forum and to think that no matter what I say, how I say it, how crazy it may sound or how crazy I may think, there are always people on here that do not judge and love me for just who I am.

What a special place!! ;) If only I could feel that in my everyday life with the people around me. That would be a blessing.

Take Care
Nancy
 

ThatLady

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We, folks, are sorta like a family...a very good, loving, caring family. Each of us must realize that the others here do care about us. That's why we all keep coming back...because these forums have the welcome of a warm home. :)
 
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:)

Thanks you all.

I didn't mean to express such hopelessness. I just have this lump in my throat and I want that hope so much. I want it. I want all of that, the unconditional love, the support, the hope and I feel selfish and it seems impossible, but I want it so badly.

My husband says I'm too intense and I can see that I am. I don't mean for it to spill out of me so much, but it does. I'm working on it though.
 

ThatLady

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Oddly enough, I don't see you as "too intense" at all, Janet. Of course, I hate the term "too <anything>" when referring to people. You are you, and you can't be "too" you.

I see you as someone who is often unhappy and feels no support from the person who should be her closest confidant and supporter. I see you as someone who has had a difficult time yet, has coped. I see you as a strong woman working toward the goal of a better life. I see you as a woman with an eye for beauty and an appreciation of nature in all her glory. I see you as Janet...someone I care very much about, and someone I am proud to know...even if at a distance.
 

jkb

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Just Wanted To Say That I Can Understand How You Are Feeling. It Isnt Selfish To Want And Need Support And Unconditinal Love. I Feel These Are Things You/us/all Deserve To Have. You Have These Right Here As You Know. Wishing You Well.
 

ThatLady

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David, I guess that sentiment comes from being told, for the goodly part of my life, that I was "too dramatic", "too emotional", "too sensitive", "too delicate"...you name it, I overdid it. It took me many years to realize that it was all hogwash. I'm me, dammit, and that's a perfectly fine thing to be. Being oneself should never be felt to be wrong, nor should anyone be told that who they are is either "too <whatever>" or "not enough <whatever>". As far as I'm concerned, anyone who says something like that should be told to take a swan dive into the smallest flower pot they can find!

/rant........ :D
 

Peanut

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Janet, I just wanted to say that you have all of my unconditional love and support too.

We, folks, are sorta like a family...a very good, loving, caring family
That is really cute thatlady! It is like a warm fuzzy.
 

Steph

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Janet,

You have my unconditional love and support also!

I think you are awesome and I hope that you feel as good about yourself as how well we all feel toward you!

Steph
 
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Thanks you all. I hope that I can be here for support for others too.

I guess sometimes what we can do is hope for some hope. Even when it's really hard. And try the best we can to figure things out. Or ask for help when nothing makes any sense.

And I don't mean to be too anything. I want to figure things out. I want to feel better. I want to get help and it's really hard. And I get so tired sometimes. But it's just life, how life is. Life is hard.

ThatLady said:
Oddly enough, I don't see you as "too intense" at all, Janet. Of course, I hate the term "too <anything>" when referring to people. You are you, and you can't be "too" you.

I see you as someone who is often unhappy and feels no support from the person who should be her closest confidant and supporter. I see you as someone who has had a difficult time yet, has coped. I see you as a strong woman working toward the goal of a better life. I see you as a woman with an eye for beauty and an appreciation of nature in all her glory. I see you as Janet...someone I care very much about, and someone I am proud to know...even if at a distance.

That made me cry when I read it yesterday and I couldn't think how to answer (it made me feel good that someone could/would say nice things about me). I want to be that person, but I don't know HOW. Sometimes I think I don't know how to be a person at all. I feel like such a misfit in the world. I guess lots of us do. It's just hard and there's so much pain sometimes. But I have to keep going. I have no other choice. Hoping for hope.
 

ThatLady

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Janet, dear, you ARE that person. There's no hoping to be necessary. You've already achieved that goal, luv. :)
 

Diana

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Exactly! You do fit into this world. The world would be a boring place if everyone were the same, now wouldn't it?
 

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