The Zone - Volume 66
What do the bison and hope have in common? In the 15th Century over 30 million Bison roamed the Great Plains of central North America. By the late 1800’s these bison were almost entirely driven to extinction with less than 1,000 remaining. Through changing hunting laws and other protective measures, today their numbers are rebounding to around 350,000. That is only about 1% of their original herd size but enough to keep them off the endangered list. This nearly impossible task was recognized in a show of bipartisan support when the US House of Representatives passed the National Bison Legacy Act in 2016, celebrating the species that was once on the brink of extinction. This is an outstanding example of how diverse groups of individuals, visionary leaders, Native American communities, ranchers, industrialists, conservationists, and other concerned citizens can come together with hope and a common goal which resulted in growth and creating a new future.
Hope is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. As we navigate through the second year of the pandemic many of us may be experiencing a greater sense of hope to reclaim many people and activities that we now realize are so important to our lives. It is important to have hope, as an expectation, that things in our life will get better. During difficult times, hope gives us the sense that life will get better and this makes a difficult time more tolerable. Much like a rope-tow helping us to climb a snow-covered mountain, it provides us the hope that we will make it to the top. However, the journey still needs to be taken and it may be difficult.
In her latest book, Fostering Resilience and Well-Being in Children and Families in Poverty, Why Hope Still Matters, Valerie Maholmes, PhD suggests that poor children who succeed have a factor in common, Hope. She points out that planning, motivation and determination adds to a sense of hope. Dr. Maholmes research reinforces research on resilience that finds children who experience adversity in early years can develop a sense of resilience from it if they are nurtured, listened to and assisted by a significant adult. Showing and demonstrating love, engagement, and recognizing strengths within the young child all can assist in the development of a sense of hope.
In an article entitled, 8 Science-Backed Ways to Increase your Hope, Benjamin Hardy, PhD, identifies the following ways to increase hope in oneself and others.
· Look Back on Past Wins.
· Pray or Meditate.
· Look for the “Third Door”. To get into the building, it might not be the front door entrance that you take or the second door. To finally achieve your goal, you may need to enter through the 3rd door. The one you make by pushing, banging harder, with persistence, or looking for an open window. There is always a way.
· Filter Your Input. Be aware of where you are getting your stories and information from. Remember social media has no editor. Just because you see it online, does not mean it is true or honest reporting.
· Create “If-then” Scenarios. Prepare a response for negative “trigger” situations.
· Cheer for Yourself. Be your own cheerleader when you accomplish something positive or when you overcome an obstacle.
· Frame Failure as Feedback. Commonly failures can create for us a fixed mindset that we cannot move forward and that we cannot change. A growth mindset is a belief that we can grow through hard work and perseverance. To reach this, you need to have hope.
· Instill Hope in Others. Being with others in time of need can assist with their development of hope. This type of engagement of offering hope to others also has a reciprocal impact in our feeling better about life.
· In the face of adversity hope offers us a lifeline.
· The bison has been designated as the United States national mammal. A symbol of hope.
· We can nurture our own sense of hope.
· Read or listen to an inspiring book/podcast.
· Meet with at least one hopeful person each week.
· Remember to practice self-care.
Things to Limit
· The doom and gloom of people, places, and things.
· Time spent on the closed doors of life.
· Spending too much time alone.
Quote of the Week
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.
The important thing is not to stop questioning.
Allowing ourselves to feel hopeful is a brave thing to do. Moving from the darkness to the light places us on a path of exploration, potential failure, accomplishment, and new life. Hope inspires us to move the obstacles away that may have kept us from a growth mindset for too long.
Check our Welcome Greeting on YouTube
The paraDocs are Dr. Francis L. Battisti, PhD, Psychotherapist, Distinguished Psychology Professor and former Executive V.P and Chief Academic Officer and Dr. Helen E. Battisti PhD, RDN, CDN, Chief Nutrition Officer, at SpNOD, Health Promotion Specialist, Research and Clinical Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and former Assistant Professor.
We have developed "The ZONE", because that is exactly where you want to be during this pandemic. A place of focused attention to doing exactly what needs to be done to get you to where you need to be. The purpose of The Zone is to provide a nationally distributed weekly mental-health and nutrition tip-sheet during times of change.
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