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From the mental, spiritual and emotional health perspective, hope is a feeling of expectation, desire and trust in a certain outcome. It is the ability to have confidence that a particular goal, dream or outcome can be achieved, as well as the belief in the ability to control one’s own destiny and have faith and positive outlook towards the world around them. Hope provides the ability for one to develop self-determination, perseverance and the ability to effectively overcome obstacles. From a physiological perspective, hope effects the left frontal lobe by releasing serotonin which shuts down the functioning of the amygdala and the fight-flight-freeze responses. This correlates to how well one can execute their intentions in relation to respective situations. In short, hope provides the ability to act in one’s own best self-interest, as well as in the interests of others.

Signs of Optimal Health & Wellness

Hope and purpose lay at the foundation of optimal physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. In addition to overall well-being in these areas, indicators of hope include:

  • A desire for continued learning and growth
  • Ability to continually form healthy habits
  • Emotional competence
  • Ability to feel, acknowledge and express emotions
  • Ability to plan for the future, develop goals, and look beyond obstacles as needed
  • Ability to develop and improve social skills, positive relationships, one’s own character, and self confidence
  • Ability to stay resilient and resourceful, even when obstacles are presented

Warning Signs

Loss of hope can have immediate and long-term impact across a person’s mind, spirit, emotional and physical health. These signs and warnings can indicate or be caused by a loss of hope.

  • Stagnate growth in desire to learn, improve life skills, relationships and current situation
  • Persistent loneliness, combined with persistent unhealthy habits
  • Low self-confidence, fear of the future, an inability to see past current situation
  • Development of persistent anxiety (fear of the future or unknown) or depression (stuck in the past)
  • Persistent use of mind-altering substances or habits and behaviors (such as those of a “workaholic”) resulting in physical, spiritual, mental and emotional addictions
  • Constant pessimism, inability to perform daily routines
  • No longer able to dream, make goals, or be creative
  • Seeing no point in living, caring for oneself, or others
  • Suicidal thoughts and tendencies 


For many people, optimal health begins with having confidence in the ability to achieve it. When hope is in decline, it can often be restored in the immediate by questioning the current situation, self-evaluation and exploration, and searching for new opportunities or perspectives from which to meet one’s needs. On the severe end, loss of hope is accompanied by a feeling that is often translated as “I can no longer live” or “I no longer want to live.” The most important thing to remember is that this feeling should be translated as “I can no longer live this way.” Loss of hope is the body’s physical, mental, spiritual and emotional selves working together to enact immediate change. For many people, self-evaluation includes questioning the feeling, and considering and actively searching for new opportunities, resources or alternatives to the current situation. And in many cases, this means facing fears head on, and actively engaging in problem-solving.




  • Personal hygiene and meeting the immediate needs of air, water, nutrition and activity can help to guide mental and emotional clarity
  • Change in routine
  • Meditation
  • Silence
  • Self-exploration
  • Reconnecting with nature
  • Engaging in prayer or inspirational stories
  • Actively engaging in positive friendships, relationships and supportive groups
  • Seek out new opportunities and perspectives


Intervention should be sought when thoughts of suicide or levels of anxiety or depression result in a lack of desire to perform tasks necessary for survival and well-being.




If you have active thoughts or intentions of harming yourself or others: 

  • Dial 911; or
  • Go the nearest hospital emergency room





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