Hopelessness is contagious, like a virus of desperation. Once you find an area of hopelessness in your life, like anxiety that thought process spreads. Everything becomes wrong or not enough. You feel as though all hope has been lost.
All hope is never lost. Whereas hopelessness is contagious, positivity is also contagious. Starting with a gratitude practice, you can make use of your hopeless outlook on life by transforming it into a raging compassion for all life on earth. Everyone experiences hopelessness at some point in their lives. Here is how to hold onto even the smallest grain of hope.
Feeling hopeless is more difficult when you put effort into feeling grateful. Gratitude is a scientific brain changer, one as contagious as negative thinking patterns. Once you find just one thing to be grateful for, you start to change your brain chemistry. Each time you look for gratitude, you find increasing amounts of it. Gratitude reminds you of what you do have in your life, allowing you to disengage from obsessing over what you feel you don’t have in your life. Rather than focus on the past or the future, gratitude brings you centered into the present moment of now.
If you struggle to find any gratitude at all, you can try a closely related practice by looking at what could be worse.
It Could Be Worse
Gratitude helps you focus on what is good about your life right now in this very second, despite feelings that things could be better. During times of hopelessness, finding gratitude isn’t easy. As a negative thought pattern, hopelessness excels in filling your mind with tangled circles of comparison and criticism. This practice helps you turn that tangle inside out, comparing how your life could be worse instead of how you think your life could be much better.
There is, at any given time, a tremendous amount of suffering in this world. Thinking too deeply about the struggles faced by humans all over Planet Earth can be challenging, but helpful. Your struggles today, or whatever the cause of your feelings of hopelessness, could quite possibly be a dream of relief and fortune for someone else in another part of the world. “It Could Be Worse” helps you realize there are parts of your life which can’t be taken for granted- like your limbs intact, your brain functioning, your organs operating, your senses, your livelihood, as well as the most painful of your experiences. If you’ve found a way to be in the process of recovery, you have a lot to be grateful for, in realizing your struggle and the struggle of others.
“It Could Be Worse” serves another function: cultivating compassion. When you spend time contemplating the potential and realistic struggles of other humans on Earth, you realize that you are not alone. Hopelessness is intimately tied to loneliness and the fallacy that you are the only one experiencing your pain in the history of all humanity on Earth. Ultimately, such thinking is remarkably ego-centric. Compassion connects your humanity to the humanity of others, most importantly including the many struggles humans face. You can hold onto hope that everyone is going through something, and while that is a difficult truth, another truth lies within it. Everyone is going through something, but most everyone is making it through.
The man who creates change creates himself. With our innovative treatment programs and adventure based recovery, we’re transforming men’s lives inside and out. Call Tree House Recovery today for information on our men’s addiction treatment programs in Orange County, California: (855) 202-2138