Wellness Coaching Australia's Blog

Hope and Optimism - a question of degrees of possibility

Posted on 01-8-2019 by Fiona Cosgrove

As health and wellness coaches we are trained to work with principles of positive psychology and understand the role of optimism in a happy and fulfilling life. I have recently started reading the second publication by Mark Manson, which has the bye line of A Book About Hope (the main title has a profanity which may offend some)!  Personally, I really enjoy this author’s work. He certainly tells it like it is, or let’s say how he sees it!

This book has already got me thinking about the notion of “hope” and its role in society today, or perhaps the lack of it in many cases. One of the distinguishing characteristics, or precursors to depression is the inability to believe that “things will turn out ok”, whatever those things might be – in other words, life for these people seems “hopeless”.  

In a world where everyone seems to be seeking happiness as a holy grail, we need to accept that the opposite of happiness is hopelessness and that as Manson so aptly puts it “Hopelessness is the root of anxiety, mental illness and depression – the source of all misery and the cause of addiction”. In order to have hope in our lives, we need three things:
  • A sense of control
  • A believe in the value of something, and
  • A community
I think that health and wellness coaching can go a long way to supporting people in these areas. 

I started to reflect on the difference between optimism and hope – what makes them different and I put it down to a case of degrees. If I am optimistic about the future, I believe “things should turn out well”. If I am hopeful, I believe that “things could turn out well”. There is a subtle difference between those statements that centres on confidence.
We have a tendency to push people towards optimism. “You can do it”, “I believe in you” – affirmative declarations of support. However, when someone has no or little hope, this may be too big a step to take.  And this is where our understanding of where a client sits in their belief in a positive future is crucial and our language perhaps modified accordingly. We might want our clients to be able to say… “Things could turn out ok”, which might be a shift for them. If they can believe it could be possible if not necessarily probable, then the existence of hope is ignited. 
Mental health is a complex area and the incidence of people struggling with it is on the rise. Coaches work with behaviours, cognitions, beliefs and values and it is essential that we monitor where our clients sit on the “possibility” scale! Or perhaps we should call it the continuum between hopeless to hopeful. And work with them accordingly. 



About the Author - Fiona Cosgrove

Fiona Cosgrove’s 25 years experience as a business owner, a trainer, lecturer, coach and presenter, positions her well to identify and employ the strengths of your staff making your business a pleasure to work in and deal with. 

Comments

Post has no comments.

Post a Comment

Captcha Image


Recent Posts


Tags


Archive