More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder

By Robin L. Flanigan,
18 May 2022

Hope & Harmony Headlines
June 9, 2022 • Volume 15, Issue 23

When in the throes of bipolar depression, when feelings of despair make it hard to find faith in anything, try to find comfort in the words of human rights activist Desmond Tutu: “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”

Hope is a superpower.​

It’s “the fuel needed to pursue goals, a cognitive tool to visualize the various ways one can overcome obstacles, adapt to changing circumstances, survive, and succeed,” says mindfulness coach Golareh Safarian.

Social science researchers at Arizona State University’s Center for the Advanced Study and Practice of Hope agree. They’ve found that more hopeful students are better off in terms of their health and ability to tackle future challenges.

Beyond that demographic, scientific research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that hope has the potential to enhance well-being over time and that “individuals who are more hopeful and expect to be successful in achieving goals are more likely to experience a state of well-being.”

So how can you muster hope when it’s difficult to put your feet on the floor in the morning?

“Don’t take your there-is-no-hope-thoughts seriously,” suggests Claudia Smith, a functional medicine practitioner specializing in depression. “Remind yourself that you have overcome obstacles once before, were able to keep going, and achieved something in the end. You can do this again.”

A therapist can help. But outside of scheduled appointments, call someone you trust. Share that you’re hurting and afraid no one will understand. If that person isn’t helpful, call someone else.

Experts also suggest that keeping a hope journal—and writing about current challenges and the potential for a hopeful outlook—is an effective way to cultivate greater self-awareness.

The main point is to keep from resigning yourself to your current mood.

bphope blogger Valerie Harvey says she refuses to give up hope in the face of depression, which has taught her some hard-learned lessons: “As long as I take hold of my early signs of depression; work at staying in contact with family and friends; stay on top of my treatment plan; have a spiritual connection; and continue to fight, I am winning." (See Taking on the Bipolar Depression Bully.)

About the author​

Robin L. Flanigan is a national award-winning journalist for magazines and newspapers, and author of the children’s book M is for Mindful. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in language and literature from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, she worked for eleven years in newsrooms including The Herald-Sun in Durham, North Carolina, and the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, New York. Her work has earned awards from the Education Writers Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association, the New York Newspaper Publishers Association, and elsewhere. She also authored a coffee-table book titled Rochester: High Performance for 175 Years. When not writing for work, Robin is usually writing for pleasure, hiking (she climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in 2008), or searching for the nearest chocolate chip cookie. She lives in Upstate New York with her husband and daughter, and can be found at or on Twitter: @thekineticpen.
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