Hope isn’t always synonymous with self-care, but as of late, I’ve realized how important it is to include in a self-care practice.

Normally when I think of hope, it's in a passive sense.

“I hope that happens,” I murmur when watching a movie—or “I hope everyone’s OK” as I hear about new pandemic updates.

But it turns out, being intentional about cultivating moments of hope is actually good for you. It's not just a feeling—it's an action, too.

Being intentional about cultivating moments of hope is actually good for you. It's not just a feeling—it's an action, too.

“Hope helps us remain committed to our goals and motivated to take action towards achieving,” researcher and writer Elaine Houston, B.Sc, shares in Positive Psychology. “Hope gives people a reason to continue fighting and believing that their current circumstances will improve, despite the unpredictable nature of human existence.”

In the spirit of finding new ways to plant seeds of hope in my life, it was important to first figure out what hope actually means to me.

These reflection questions can help you navigate hope in your life, and set you on your way to create more silver-lining moments—and build up your resilience.

1. What does hope mean to you?

This is a big question—so if it takes you a while to answer, don’t be hard on yourself.

It helps to think about how you might describe hope to someone else. Is it a feeling for you? How does it help you in moments of adversity?

Use these additional questions to help you dive deeper into the idea of hope and its role in your life.

2. When was the last time you felt hopeful and how did it feel?

Maybe it was a passive moment of hope, or maybe it was a moment you experienced before you got some news.

However it may have looked, think about that moment. How did experiencing hope impact you? Did it make you feel good?

3. What is something that makes you feel hopeful right now?

Hope is so personal, so even if your answer is small, remember that that is OK. How can you savor that hopeful moment of positivity in your day today?

4. How can you cultivate moments of hope in your life?

Goals are often tied to the idea of hope. Thinking about any goals you have might help you create new moments of hope.

Whether you set off to grow in your self-care journey, health, or another area, reflecting on the goals you’ve set for yourself can help you explore how to find hope.

5. How can you honor your hope in small ways even when it's hard?

We often don’t sit in the moments of hope, so one way you can honor that feeling is by savoring it more. How can you acknowledge and hold onto those positive feelings for longer than a fleeting moment?

Regardless of what hope looks like for you, know that hope is “more than just a state of mind; it is an action-oriented strength,” according to Houston.

Honor your resilience by honoring your ability to hope, too.

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