Ask most people the question “Where are you going?” and unless they have been talking about going on a journey they will most likely look at you very confused. “Nowhere,” will be a common response. This is because we are short-minded. It’s kind of like being short-sighted, but is to do with thinking (and yes, I just made this up). Short-mindedness is when a person is only able to think of the next thing, so a question of “Where are you going?” will be thought of as a specific journey.
What about “What are your plans in life?” In truth, most people will give you the same deer-caught-in-headlights look as they realise they have no answer. Some people may have a broad idea, but increasingly people are simply looking at each day and doing little to change their destination. I don’t think it is any surprise that mental illness is on the rise. Mashiach–Eizenberg et al. (2013) found a link between self-esteem, hope, and quality of life. Other studies such as Sowislo, Orth & Meier (2014) show a link between self-esteem and depressive symptoms. Mental health and hope are connected. So the big question is this – How do you find hope if you don’t know what you should be hoping for?
Much like any other kind of health, it’s not a simple matter. It takes time and needs to be nurtured, developed, and requires discipline. It’s not easy, but it is rewarding.
Here are the three take aways for today:
1 – Hope is an important factor in mental health, and the great thing is that it can be developed. Take some time to think about the things you are passionate about.
2 – When you have some ideas on what you are passionate about, think about things you can do with your passion.
3 – When you have thought of a way to use your passion, do one thing today to take a step towards it.
Sounds easy doesn’t it? I know it isn’t, believe me. But you don’t have to change the world, you just have to take one small step to create a better you, and then tomorrow take another small step, and then another. Think of it as entering The Biggest Loser, except your mind is being worked out and made healthier.
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Mashiach–Eizenberg, M., Hasson-Ohayon, I., Yanos, P. T., Lysaker, P. H., & Roe, D. (2013). Internalized stigma and quality of life among persons with severe mental illness: The mediating roles of self-esteem and hope. Psychiatry Research, 208(1), 15–20. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2013.03.013
Sowislo, J. F., Orth, U., & Meier, L. L. (2014). What constitutes vulnerable self-esteem Comparing the prospective effects of low, unstable, and contingent self-esteem on depressive symptoms. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 123(4), 737.