Hope.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Hope.

Hope

Hope.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

“Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul

And sings the tune without the words

And never stops at all.”

― Emily Dickinson

“Hope

Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,

Whispering ‘it will be happier’…”

― Alfred Tennyson

“Hope is a waking dream.”

― Aristotle

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”

― Epicurus

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes about feelings words with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

 

Inspiration

Hope

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Becoming more resilient.

By David Joel Miller.

Resiliant

Resilient. 
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

How do you get back up when life knocks you down?

Resiliency is the key to getting back up when life knocks you down. Resiliency is a skill that you can learn, but it requires practice. When you’re going through difficult times, it can be hard to imagine life getting better. Here are some tips for improving your resiliency and learning to bounce back from adversity.

Shift your focus from where you are to where you’re going.

When life has knocked you down, avoid wallowing in the mud. When your down, it is tempting to spend your time thinking about how bad things are and how unfair it is. It’s inviting to look for someone to blame. Don’t make the mistake of believing that there is something inherently wrong or defective about you. Don’t become paranoid and believe your difficulties are caused by others who are out to get you.

Do spend your time planning for and working to become the best person you can. Learn from your mistakes. Change what you can. Do the work you need to do to change where you are.

Strengthen or develop a support system.

Humans do best when they are part of a group. When times are tough, you will find out who your real friends are. If there are ruptures in your support system, try to repair those relationships that you can fix. Evaluate the people you spend your time with. Hang out with negative people, and you will become more negative. To be a healthy, happy person, you need to have positive people in your life.

Stay connected to family, friends, faith, support systems, and your community. When times are hard, your connections are vital. Friendships cannot be one-way streets. If someone only takes from you but never gives, that’s not a friend. If you have a particular faith or religion, make sure you stay connected. Stay involved in positive things in your community.

Contribute to the world around you.

Doing things to make the world a better place will improve your self-esteem and self-confidence. Do what you can. It’s not necessary to donate large amounts to causes. If you can afford to, give small amounts of money. More important than the money you give, is the time and the giving of yourself.

The smile you give some may be exactly what they needed. If you give a smile, you may get one in return.

Identify the areas in your life you can control.

Sometimes bad things happen, and they are out of your control. You may have an illness. You didn’t pick that sickness. Pretending you’re not ill will not help. Suffering in silence is not a virtue.

What you can do may be significant. You can see a doctor. You can take your medicine as prescribed. You can illuminate unhealthy habits. Quit smoking, give up or reduce your drinking. Get plenty of sleep. Get up off the couch and move around as much as you are able.

When you start looking for the things that are in your control you may find many opportunities to improve your life. Small improvements here and there can add up.

Identify and develop your skills.

The situations in your life will change. The skills you learn in one situation may be useful in the next situation you encounter. Don’t focus on what you can’t do. Identify the strengths you have and build on them.

Develop the good parts of yourself.

Begin by identifying the good parts of you. If you have trouble thinking of those parts right now, ask yourself what a good friend might say about you. Maybe you’re creative. Some people are naturally curious, and they love to learn new things. Perhaps you are a kind person or someone who cares about fairness. Do you have a good sense of humor? Whatever your qualities look for ways to strengthen them and to build on them to create a better future.

Learn to manage stress.

Stress is a part of life. As long as you live, you will experience stress. Even good things can be stressful. Learn some simple stress reduction techniques. You may find that deep breathing can slow down the floods of emotion that can overwhelm you. Many stressful events have both good and bad features. Avoid focusing on only the distressing parts of the situation.

Practice coping with adversity.

Use the small, everyday problems as an opportunity to identify your strengths and to practice your coping skills. Coping with everyday irritations develops your coping skills for the big challenges in life.

Increase your self-confidence.

In parenting education, we tell people to build resiliency in children by catching them doing something right. Hopefully, you had people in your early life who gave you praise for the things you did well. If you didn’t get that praise, start today to recognize and acknowledge your accomplishments. If you have difficulty accepting, compliments learn to compliment yourself and receive the gift of a compliment rather than returning it as being of no value.

Avoid shaming and guilt tripping yourself.

The field of positive psychology tells us that shame and negative motivation does not spur people to do better. Recognize what you can improve on but don’t fall into the trap of believing that calling yourself names and beating yourself up will result in doing better. Making a mistake does not make you a “bad person.”

Try to fix the things you can and accept the things you can’t. What other ways have you found to increase your resilience? What will you start doing today to create a better future?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Can you spare a cup of hope?

By David Joel Miller.

Do you have enough hope in you that you could share some?

Spare some hope

Cup of Hope
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Hope seems to be in short supply. People find it hard to hope. Hope is something that makes recovery possible. So what is someone to do who has lost hope? Maybe you can be that “cup of hope” this other person needs just now.

The quote “Can you spare a cup of sugar” goes back to a different time in our history. There was a time when people could go to their neighbors and ask for the loan of something that they needed in that moment. Asking the people around you for help seems to be less common these days. Help, like hope, seems to require you to pay a price nowadays.

Some people just are afraid to be involved with others. Connections are fraught with danger. So there are some of you who I know will not open your door. Not for a cup of sugar and certainly not to offer a neighbor some hope that things can get better. Has it really reached the point when offering up hope is a dangerous thing to do?

Sometimes we see people who need help and we wonder if helping them is something we should do. Giving an addict money may only add to their addiction. Giving them food may keep them alive today. But if you give someone hope then they may change their lives.

Hope is one of those commodities in short supply these days, like water in the desert. We are all wishing for the rain to end the drought but when will the showers of hope come?

Hope is one of those “core” values in a Wellness and Recovery Action Plan (WRAP.) Without some measure, a cup or a teaspoon full, of hope recovery fails to materialize. Sometimes all we can offer a struggling person is the “Hope that they will be able to cultivate a crop of Hope.”

Twelve-step groups talk about “sharing their experience, strength, and hope.”  People who have found recovery seem to have enough hope to spare. Hope comes from a well that never runs dry. The more of this hope thing you share the more you have. Without hope people perish, with hope, they thrive.

The seeds of hope are everywhere. What is lacking sometimes is a person to nurture them. Hope starts with a smile to someone who can’t smile. It grows in the attitude that someone believes this person is of value no matter what their current position. Judgment and disdain prune hope back.

Hope is the chance to find a job when you had come to believe you would never work again. Hope is seeing your family when you thought that connection was gone forever. Hope is a place to sleep for the homeless and a meal for the hungry.

For some hope is knowing that there is someone in your life who believes in you when you find it hard to believe in yourself.

In this country, one of the wealthiest on earth, it is hard to imagine that hope is in such short supply. How have so many lost their hope and see only the bad that can occur when every day there are miracles growing from the seeds of hope planted by caring people? Has hope become too precious and expensive for all of us to be able to share a “cup of hope” to those in need of an extra cup of hope?

Do you have enough hope that you can share some?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Hope- the missing Mental Health ingredient.

By David Joel Miller

Without hope treatment for mental illness is ineffective.

Hope

Hope

Large doses of hope may turn out to be the most effective treatment for mental illness. It is an ingredient that has been missing from treatment programs for far too long.

The conventional wisdom, when it comes to mental health, turns out to not be true. For a long time, there has been the belief that there are two kinds of people, the normal and the mentally ill. The result of this thinking error was that we lost hope for those with a mental illness to recover.

Turns out that they is us. In their lifetime half of all Americans will have an episode of a mental illness that should be diagnosed and treated. No, just toughing it out and pretending you do not have a problem will not make it go away.

Mental Health is on a continuum. Some people’s experience of a mental illness will be more severe than others. People on this continuum can move to being more healthy or less mentally healthy. Just like physical health, you may not be able to know who is going to get which disorder at which time but we know there are risk factors and ways to keep yourself more mentally healthy.

This misunderstanding, that people without a mental illness can get better or worse and so can those with a mental illness, has impeded our ability to help those experiencing an emotional problem.

Many of our mental health treatment systems are still stuck in that old way of thinking. If the mentally ill are different from the rest of us then they will always be ill and society needs to take care of them and run their lives. That approach is devoid of hope and disregards the role of the person with an illness in managing their symptoms and their life.

If we recognize that mental illness, like physical illness, can get better at times and worse at times, then this tells us that there is hope. Hope for recovery is fundamental to any rational approach to treating mental illness.

If those with a mental illness are not permanently stuck in a hopeless place then there are things that they can do to improve their mental health and wellness. This concept, that people with a challenge can live meaningful lives, that you can recover, is one of the basic tenants of 12 step programs. It seems that recovery works very well for alcoholism and addiction – why not for mental illness?

By recovery or Wellness and Recovery we do not necessarily mean a cure. Some conditions, once you have them, there will always be a risk of a relapse. Both Mental illness and Substance Use Disorders are conditions for which there is a high risk of relapse.

If there are things that increase the risk of relapse then there are certain things that can reduce this risk. This means to me that recovery from mental illness is not something that the doctor or therapist does to the client, it is something we help the client learn to do for themselves.

Some of you are thinking, yeah right! They need to see a doctor for medication. Yes, this is true. They need the doctor’s expertise when it comes to medication. But those meds are worthless unless that person has the skills needed to take those meds as prescribed.

Every program I have ever worked at has talked about a subject called “medication compliance” as if getting people to take their meds was something we professionals should make people do. Truth is we get the best results, and so do the clients, when we empower clients to actively participate in this process.

This concept, that Hope is a necessary part of recovery, is not something original with me. The value of hope has ancient roots. When it comes to mental health it is a concept that’s time has come.

W.R.A.P. – Wellness and Recovery Action Planning.

Recently I had the pleasure of attending a training on a program called “WRAP” which stands for Wellness and Recovery Action Planning.” This program was developed by and for mental health clients/consumers to use in planning to maintain their mental health and to have a plan for what to do if that mental health faced a challenge.

For more on this program see: https://copelandcenter.com/wellness-recovery-action-plan-wrap

Look also at http://www.mentalhealthrecovery.com/

Books about WRAP are available from https://www.wrapandrecoverybooks.com/store/

As a result of attending this training, I am now a certified W.R.A.P.  Facilitator. If you want to know more about that contact me or check out the links above.

One of the important parts of this training was the discussion of 5 “Key Concepts” that are the foundation of the W.R.A.P. program.

One of those Key concepts? You guessed it. – HOPE.

How do all of you feel about this radical concept – Hope? Do you have some? Do any of you have stories about hope and recovery you would be able to share with the other blog readers?

Consider how much hope you have and how you can build more hope for you and others.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Without a dream life’s a nightmare

By David Joel Miller

Dreams.

Dream or Nightmare

Dream.
Photo courtesy of Flickr (Melody Campbell)

We start off life with all sorts of hopes and dreams, somewhere along the way we lose track of those dreams. The way of life becomes dark and gloomy.

If you don’t have a dream, a hope for the future, your life becomes empty and you feel hollow. Somewhere or other your hopes and dreams turn into the nightmares of adult life.

When life is a nightmare.

Nightmare

Nightmare.
Photos courtesy of Flickr

Finding your way from the nightmares back to the land of dreams, that is the work of recovery. The dreams you are looking for are not the fantasies of childhood but the solid dreams an adult should have of what can be and what they can become.

Rebuilding hope and recreating dreams are what makes a life worth the effort to live it. If you get nothing else from your recovery program then fully engage in the search for hope, the recreating of dreams.

My own philosophy of counseling is that I am a guide along the path towards that happy life we all need and deserve. I share the things I have learned from taking this walk we call life and I am blessed to be able to learn from others the lessons they have learned.

Sometimes in this journey, we have to walk through some very dark and scary places. We may struggle with monsters or demons. But always keep your eye on the light shining off on that distant horizon.

A colleague of mine recently described it very succinctly. You may have to walk through the valley of the shadows of death, don’t stop and camp there.

While you are walking through your daily struggles, do not get defeated by the dark shadows and the nightmares. Keep your eye on the bright spots.

What makes this journey of life with all the efforts that are required, something worthwhile is the dreams we create, the ones we are able to hold onto and the companions with whom we share the journey.

Can you see your dreams on up ahead? What are you moving towards? What lessons have you learned about how to overcome the nightmares and make life worth the effort to keep trudging onward?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Hope is contagious

By David Joel Miller.

Where do you go to get some hope when yours runs out?

Spring Means Green and HOPE has Arrived!

Spring Means Green and HOPE has Arrived! (Photo credit: cobalt123)

There is no doubt in my mind that hope is an essential ingredient for recovery. Without hope, nothing gets done and if you do not change things then nothing changes.

How do you move from being hopeless to having hope? What is up with those people who are consistently full of hope?

One ingredient of Hope is wishing for something. Sometimes we are in misery but if we do not believe that things can get better our only wish is that things not get worse.

The dictionary (Encarta) begins its definition of Hope, as a verb, with the statement:

to have a wish to get or do something or for something to happen or be true, especially something that seems possible or likely

Fundamental to this having of hope is the belief that there is some possibility of it happening. This is why we encourage recovering people to have a support system. Even when you are beset by doubts, having positive people in your support system can increase your levels of hope.

When you go to a meeting and the person next to you tells a story of their hope and their recovery it becomes easier for you to believe that this can happen to you.

To hope requires action. The continued practice of hoping that if you take the necessary action then things can and will get better.

If you continually tell yourself “that can’t happen” or “that will never happen” you are creating that possibility. Your continued telling this tale to your brain results in the brain believing that this thing you desire can never under any circumstance happen. Your brain responds by making sure to please you and prevents this outcome.

But if you can tell yourself that this “could” happen, it “might” happen if you continue to try, this allows the brain to do the actions needed to move towards successes.

Another definition of hope includes the words:

a chance that something desirable will happen or be possible

I have seen this repeatedly in my clients and students. Those who say “I could never go back to school at my age; I could never get a degree.” They don’t.  Those who are willing to move even the short distance to “I do not know if I could do this but I will try” they get going, do the required work and in a great many cases they succeed.

Our dictionary’s second definition of Hope as a noun moves closer to successes.

a feeling that something desirable is likely to happen

Once you move to the belief that this thing, this outcome you wished for is not only possible but likely the road gets easier. Not that there won’t be obstacles and bumps on this road.

There is a connection between hope, willpower, and determination. Willpower and determination are wasted without hope? With hope, you can develop the willpower and determination needed to keep moving forward.

Many people grew up in non-affirming homes. They were told they would never amount to anything and they were no good. If you hear this often enough you come to believe what you are told. You lose hope.

Working with a counselor, a supportive friend or a group of peers you can rebuild hope. Small successes will convince you that there are things that you can do if only you try.

Hope is most valuable when times are hard and things are not going your way. The belief that there is something you can do to alter your life course and the hope that if you keep trying you can reach that goal will keep you going.

Hope is more than just a positive attitude. It encompasses the belief in yourself, that if you do the required things then good outcomes are possible.

Where are you on this journey of moving from hopelessness to hope?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.