Are you struggling to stay hopeful right now? I don’t blame you; we’re definitely living through some crazy sh#t right now.
While it seems reasonable to feel pessimistic about the future, I truly believe that the universe is always working on our behalf, pushing and pulling us toward positive people and joyful experiences. We just have to remain open to them.
I keep reminding myself and my clients that life IS meant to be good for us!
Why Is Hope Hard To Sustain?
If the universe truly wants us to have so much abundance, why is life so damn hard sometimes?
Well, sometimes, we get in the way of our own success. There are always good things happening around us; we’re just not seeing them… yet!
Instead, maybe you’re focused on the disappointment that you haven’t reached your goals yet. Or when plans suddenly change, you start to feel stressed and anxious. Perhaps you’re impatient to see quick results and are beginning to doubt that certain obstacles can be overcome.
All these sneaky negative emotions can distract you from your own energetic greatness.
“Negative emotions, such as anxiety, fear and doubt, can act like an attention funnel that narrows our minds to important details,” according to psychotherapist and author, Stephanie Marston. It takes focus and practice to know how to handle change and uncertainty without getting discouraged, but it’s totally doable.
Here are four tips to help you give yourself permission to be hopeful even when everything feels wrong in the world.
1) Cut Yourself Some Slack
This is the most important step: you need to allow yourself to feel your feelings. You can’t expect to move forward if you don’t first acknowledge where you’re at right now. Instead of ignoring or bottling up your bad feelings about a crisis, the goal is to let them sit side by side with other feelings, Marston says.
Then you can work on finding a way to keep them from overwhelming you.
One great way to practice self-compassion is to maintain (or develop) a regular self-care routine. Get more quality sleep. Take things slow. Focus on grounding exercises like breathwork or yoga. As your body starts to let go and relax, you’ll begin to feel more in control, even if it’s just in your own little corner of the world right now.
And if you find yourself lingering on what and how you “should” be doing and feeling, check out my tips on how to let go of judgment.
2) Focus On Things That Bring You Joy
You cannot control everything in life, but that doesn’t mean you have no power! Instead of going over and over every single thing that doesn’t go according to plan, focus on everything that is bringing joy into your life right now.
This could mean finding pleasure in little tasks, like cooking a nourishing meal or taking a peaceful evening walk, reconnecting with a friend, or seeing a play or a movie. You could also dive into your craft and spend time creating new art.
It’s a repeating cycle: by nurturing the things that bring good energy into your life, and more than anything else, committing to overall joy, love and happiness—you will attract more of those same things into your life and start to feel more hopeful.
And if you’re having a hard time figuring out what brings you joy lately, it’s a perfect time to adopt a regular gratitude practice.
3) Seek Out Compassionate and Honest Talk
It’s times like these when having a solid support system is essential to good mental health. But don’t worry, you don’t need a flock of fans—you just need a few trusted pals who make you feel safe and heard.
As actors, we pride ourselves on the ability to be vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily easier for us in our personal relationships. By engaging in honest and authentic conversations though, you can brainstorm new coping skills, gain a better understanding of yourself and each other and express your emotions in a safe space.
So make it a point to check in with those good friends and lean on one another. Being a compassionate listener for someone else is just as important. Helping others naturally helps us too, and solving problems together can help bring some sunshine to a gloomy time in your life.
If you don’t feel like you have these types of connections in your life, it’s never too late to start building them. Research has shown that support groups, even virtual ones, are beneficial to our overall health, helping us form positive relationships and feel more hopeful about our lives.
4) … But Plan For Inevitable Difficult Conversations Too.
The wonderful thing about the entertainment industry is that there is a great diversity of voices and stories to tell, but not everyone you work with is going to be your cup of tea. We’ve come a long way over the past few years to put bad behavior in its place, but there is still much work to be done.
So, when you inevitably encounter a difficult personality, it helps to have a plan in place to navigate any tension without trouble. Not only will a little preparation help you feel more in control of the situation, but it can boost your confidence too. And that goes a long way in our industry!
Here are a few simple ways to apply gratitude and compassion (and maybe even indifference) to those not-so-gracious people in your life, so you can turn frustration with frenemies into more positive experiences.
What ways have helped you stay hopeful in the past? What are you leaning into right now? Let me know in the comments below!
LOVE + a better tomorrow!