Hopefulness alone doesn't make a person happy. Still, it's a necessary step on the path to contentment and probably the most critical factor in overcoming life’s biggest challenges.

It may seem naïve to hold on to hope when life presents so much pain and suffering. Yet, no matter how bleak a situation, there is always a thread of hope to hold on to. Hope that the sun will shine again – that the future ahead is one to look forward to...


Having hope feels good, but it's also a powerful force, probably the most critical factor in overcoming life’s biggest challenges. In a recent study, Chinese psychologists have found out that hope protects¹ the brain against anxiety. Dr. Lopez, a psychologist who has studied hope in millions of people through his work with the Gallup polls, concludes that while hopefulness alone doesn't make a person happy, that it's a necessary step on the path to contentment and as a buffer against the negative impact of stressors!


Yes, hope may not alter the present situation, but it will expand our capacity to respond constructively, creatively, and courageously. Doing so will improve the odds of emerging on the other end in better shape than we otherwise might be!


You might ask, how can you maintain optimism in a time like this? How could you keep feeling hopeful when there seem to be so many reasons to feel hopeless?  The answer is much simpler than you would think. Cultivating a sense of hope is a CHOICE. As Viktor Frankl wrote in Man's Search for Meaning ( an excellent book that highlights humankind's ability to rise above all suffering), “When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”


Want to nurture hope and hunt for the good hiding from you?


Look in the past :


💥Reflect on three good memories from the last year


💥Remember three challenging circumstances you’ve overcome and are better because of it.


Look In the present:


💥Make a list of 10 things you are grateful for right now.


Look to the future;


💥What are you looking forward to this week?


💥What are you looking forward to this month?


Netsanet Tegegn, LCSW, is a Psychotherapist in Virginia Beach who provides individualized counseling services for those who wish to create long-lasting and positive changes in their lives...


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It depends on whose numbers you want to believe, but roughly 95% of our behavior is beyond our conscious awareness. Your subconscious files away from your memories, experiences, perceptions, and insights and maintains them far beyond the recollection of your conscious mind.


These past experiences and revelations have a tremendous impact on your beliefs, habits, and general behavior.


Programming the subconscious mind is a powerful tool for altering behavior!


Using these strategies will help you program your mind to benefit your mind, body, and soul:


1. Affirmations. Everyone is familiar with affirmations. These are positive

statements that you repeat to yourself each day. Affirmations can be powerful, but they must be used correctly:

  • Avoid affirmations that are clearly untrue. Your subconscious is flexible, but it’s not willing to seriously consider the ridiculous. Repeating, “I am a billionaire,” is too factually untrue to be accepted by your subconscious. “My financial situation is improving rapidly” is easier to swallow.

  • Use imagery and emotions to really sell it. See yourself as thin, financially successful, or selling your first novel. Generate the same emotion you would have in that situation.

  • Repeat your affirmations three sessions per day for 5-10 minutes each. Right before falling asleep, right after awakening, and an opportune time during the day are ideal times. For example, if you want to strengthen your confidence, repeat the affirmations when you’re feeling self-doubt.


2. Subliminal technology. There is software available that flashes subliminal messages on your computer screen. These programs can run all day long without your awareness. You can use the affirmations included with the

software or write your own.

  • There are also audio programs with positive messages embedded in the music beyond your ability to consciously recognize.

  • There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the use of these programs. Since so many are available for free, there’s no harm in giving them a try for a month. See what happens.


3. Meditation. Meditation is a great way of concentrating your focus. Meditation creates a mental state that opens the mind to new ideas. Meditation can be learned quite effectively from books and videos. It does require practice to

become skilled, so this isn’t a quick fix.


4. Visualization. If you’re good at visualizing, you can convince your subconscious of nearly anything. A convincing visualization is viewed by your subconscious as an actual experience. For example, if you visualize yourself giving successful

speeches, your subconscious will become convinced this is a skill you possess.

  • Again, the best time to use this process is right before falling asleep and upon awakening in the morning. Visualizing is easier and more effective at those times. We are only aware of a tiny portion of what our brain is doing at any moment.


Our brains are dealing with far too much information for our conscious mind to process. The brain is controlling body temperature, blood pressure, pulse, digestion,

concentrations of various salts, neurotransmitters, hormones, and far more sensory data than we’re aware of.


The same is true for our behavior. In theory, the subconscious mind controls 95% of our behavior. It only makes sense to address this 95%. There are several ways of our behavior. It only makes sense to address this 95%. There are several ways to program the subconscious. Pick one and see what you can accomplish.


Netsanet Tegegn, LCSW Is a Psychotherapist in Virginia Beach who provides individualized counseling services for those who wish to create long-lasting and positive changes in their lives...




If you feel anxious from time to time, that's completely normal. When anxiety becomes overwhelming, you may be tempted to seek solace in prescription medication, alcohol, or drugs. These methods, though, inherently bring problems of their own.


The good news is you can get through anxious moments on your own without mind-altering drugs. Your worries can be transformed into peace with simple, natural strategies. One of these techniques is using prayer and meditation.


Which is Better: Prayer or Meditation?


The answer is simple: Use whichever you prefer. Some people have a close relationship with a higher power, while others do not. No matter what your religious belief, you can conquer your anxiety through your thoughts and affirmations - no medication required! If you like to pray, that's great. If you want to meditate instead, then do whichever technique makes you feel the most comfortable is acceptable. This is about getting better, and you know best what will make you feel at ease.


How to Get Started


You can start on your path to an anxiety-free life right away; it all begins with a deep breath. Pull the air deep down into your diaphragm, and let it out slowly. Do this several

times and you'll start to feel calmer.


Are you breathing effectively? When you take in air, if only the top part of your lungs expands, your chest rises and falls. When you live the right way - the calming way -your belly rises and falls, not your upper chest, because your entire lungs are being filled with fresh air.


Avoid breathing from your upper chest only and,u'll already is on the road to feeling calmer and less anxious. It's a simple thing to do and a great way to get started. The more you do it, the more it'll become automatic. Soon, you'll feel calmer without even thinking about your breathing anymore.


Here are some other tips to help you feel calm while praying or meditating:


1. Use your breathing like a mantra. Inhale while you give yourself positive thoughts and feelings. Exhale anything negative you're in or feeling. Breathing is the

rhythm of life. Use it to your advantage.


2. Pray or meditate at the same time each day. Spend a few minutes - it doesn't have to be a long time - in quiet reflection. Say good things to yourself. You can focus on your health, finances, family, or anything you want to make stronger. Avoid negative thinking during this time.


3. Laugh. Try saying "ho, ho, ho, he, he, he, ha, ha, ha" and other silly phrases out loud.

When you do, you'll start to smile, then grin, and then laugh for real! And when you're laughing, you can't frown or feel anxious!


4. Pray or meditate with others. Join a church, take up yoga, or find a support group for anxiety. Many others share your struggle, and you can feel better about yourself

and more in-tune with others when you share your feelings.


Next Steps


When you start your journey toward personal peace through prayer or meditation, expect to conquer your anxiety. However, avoid the trap of assuming you'll do it in one day or even in one week. It took time to get where you are, and it'll take time to get back to where you want to be.


The important thing is to take that first step and then enjoy and appreciate the journey.


Every journey begins with that first step, and once you make it, you'll be on your way.


Breathe. Laugh. Meditate or pray. Find time to think about and interact with others, rather than concentrating on your worries.


When you do these things, you'll become calmer and more focused. Most importantly, you'll be back to being happy again, and there's no greater gift you can give yourself than joy!


About the Author: Netsanet Tegegn, LCSW Is a Psychotherapist in Virginia Beach who provides individualized counseling services for those who wish to create long-lasting and positive changes in their lives...



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