Many of us in the States and around the world are participating and enjoying the Oprah and Deepak Chopra 21-day free meditation series on hope. Each day they share a message and a quote, along with a meditation. I love this quote from Day 3 of the series from Bernard Williams, an English philosopher.
“There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.” – Bernard Williams
I truly believe there is always a solution. When my sons were growing-up, I often shared that thought with them: “I know this is a big deal, but I also know there is always a solution. Let’s sit down and try to figure this out.” Hope also kept me centered and moving forward through a divorce two decades ago, a Masters degree a few years later and three life-changing assignments with the United States Peace Corps 10 or so years ago. Hope makes tough things manageable and good things great!
You may not have an answer to a dilemma you are facing or a dream your are delaying, but with a calm and centered approach and a sense of hope, finding a positive solution or creating a positive outcome can be a reality. (I believe this to be true on a personal and a global level.)
Here are some hopeful guidelines to help you:
- Don’t give up too soon, or try too hard. Sleep on it if you can. Give the situation a bit of space – we often create deadlines for ourselves that aren’t necessary or realistic.
- If you start to feel overwhelmed or hopeless, take at least three deep breaths. (Inhale, slowly – 8 seconds in through the nose, and exhale 8 seconds through the nose).
- Give yourself a time out! Take time for a bit of peace and quiet. (In nature, cyclones and hurricanes have a calm in their center, known as the eye of the storm. Follow nature’s lead, and give your internal eyes a bit of time so they can relax and refocus to allow them to “see” the situation from a new, calmer perspective.)
- Ask yourself a series of five questions when dealing with problems.
- Does this problem or situation really have to be solved right now?
- Is it both urgent and important? (Make sure all deadlines are real – yours and others – and that they truly matter to you.)
- Have I faced other problems and solved them successfully?
- If your answer to #3 was “Yes”, and the answer to #3 is almost always “Yes”, if we are being truly honest with ourselves ask yourself: What helped me then? (If your answer is honestly a “No” go directly to step question #5.)
- What resources – including my own skills and talents and the help of others – do I have to help me solve this problem? (Or, grow this dream.) Begin figuring out how to use these resources. (I have a free great sheet to help you with this, check it out here.)
- Don’t let yourself be caught up in anger or the blame game. I know this is much easier said than done, but if you are at least able to say to yourself, “I really do not want to get caught-up in blame games or anger,” you send a calming message to your brain, which will avoid the release of fight or flight chemicals and hormones into your blood stream that anger and blaming always stir-up.
- Say out loud, as often as you can “I know I/we can figure this out. I know I/we can.” This calming, confidant message releases a swell of positive chemicals and hormones into your body, which will help you relax and think more creatively – increasing the possibility you will resolve the situation positively. (This works for your dreams, as well. “I/we know I can do this. I/we know we can.)
I truly believe you can reduce your stress and sense of despair and turn-up your dream meter by developing a more hopeful outlook and by taking hope-based actions. Positive responses dramatically increase the likelihood of a positive outcome and help build your personal hope reserves, which make hope more accessible when strife and stress appear or when you begin to doubt yourself or your abilities.
Another great way to build your reservoirs of hope is to take time to meditate or sit quietly at least five days a week for 15 minutes. This peaceful, relaxing habit has many positive benefits for your mind and your body and can provide a cushion of calm to protect you from the emotional bumps and bruise of life.
It’s not too late to join the free 21-day meditation series, click here to begin or grow your meditation practice and to gain new perspectives on hope.
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