Whenever life gets us down, it gets very difficult to pick ourselves up and move forward. But no matter how crushing the defeat is or how we seem to have bad breaks after bad breaks, we have to keep the hope up and get back to living again. But what is hope, and how does it help us get back in the game again?


What is hope?

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), having hope is having an expectation that something good will happen in the future or that something bad won’t happen.

When we have hope, we become an optimist. But much as we want to be an optimist all the time, circumstances will challenge our optimism, and we lose hope. Because why bother being hopeful when things are so overwhelmingly bad?

Actually, hope is an incredible strength and protective factor in our life (Extern). It can be the catalyst for us to engage in behaviors that will get us back on our feet. These behaviors will in turn give us more hope. Thus, figuring out a way to become more hopeful especially when life gets difficult is necessary.


How to be Hopeful

    • Acknowledge that it is hard to feel hopeful at the moment.

Remember that being hopeful doesn’t always mean that you have to be looking at the bright side of things or thinking everything will be all right. If your hope is not authentic, then it won’t be of much help. 

During trying times, it is a challenge to keep your hopes up. This is normal, so don’t be hard on yourself.

    • Identify negative thought patterns.

If you are having difficulty in being hopeful, assess your thought patterns and identify the negative thoughts and try to reframe them.

Cognitive behavioral therapy uses the ABCDE model to change unhelpful thought patterns:   

A—adversity: name the challenge or problem you’re facing.

B—beliefs, specifically the negative ones: what are the negative beliefs do you have about the situation?

C—consequence: examine the consequences of your negative thoughts on your behavior and emotions.

D—dispute: disagree with those negative thoughts and offer alternative explanations to yourself.

E—energize or new effect: introduce a new line of thinking about the situation.

    • Take note of the here are still things that you can control in your life.

A sense of control—the belief that you can still exert influence on the things around you—is essential on being hopeful.  

Knowing that you still have the agency to make a difference, even small ones, would encourage you to have more hopeful thoughts and behaviors.

    • Reach out to others.

The key to having hope is to seek out people you feel safe enough to open up and share your concerns and vulnerabilities, then work through your problems with them in a productive way.

But if you don’t already have those close relationships, it may be helpful to work with a therapist. 


When life throws you a curveball that threatens your capacity to hope, remember without hope, there is no next step. Protect hope and remember that “He who has hope has everything” (Proverb).



Carver, Courtney.” 10 Places to Find Hope When Life Knocks You Down.” Accessed July 15, 2023. https://tinybuddha.com/blog/live-give-love-and-learn-10-places-to-find-hope/.

Jacoby, Sarah. “How to Be Hopeful, Even When It’s Really, Really Hard.”Last modified June 27, 2002.  https://www.self.com/story/how-to-be-hopeful.

Owens, Eric. ”Finding Hope—18 Ways to Find Hope When You Are Down and Out.” Last modified January 2, 2023. https://antimaximalist.com/how-to-find-hope/.