The Science & Power of Hope


What is Hope?

Hope is a way of thinking. Because it's a way of thinking, it can be taught. Hope is the belief that your future can be better than today and that you have the power to make it so. Hope goes beyond optimism because Hope is about taking action to pursue a goal. Hope derives from the combination of two components, physical and mental.

First, (A) are pathways. Pathways or roadmaps refer to an individual’s problem solving capabilities. It is the capability of finding a new route around an obstacle from setting a goal and figuring out a path to determine how you will arrive. Second is (B) agency. The agency component is the willpower, the motivation and the mental energy an individual holds to navigate those pathways. Pathway and agency are both required for a hopeful individual. By combining these skills, we are fueled by hope and have the necessary tools to complete a goal.

Why Hope? / The science and power of hope

Increasing Hope is our main focus. As individuals, having hope leads to an increase in mental health, an increase in physical well-being, and improvements in social well-being. For children, increased hope scores improve their attendance, their grade point average and their graduation rates.

When nurturing hope, the goal has to be desired. The more we desire, the more obstacles we face. By remaining hopeful, we begin to admire our obstacles and think of pathways to navigate around adversity. Imagination is the instrument of hope.

 

How trauma and adversity can influence hope
Our fears deprive us from motivation and drive. When our willpower is depleted we begin to lose the ability to control a steady state of mind, our behaviors are worsened and we are more likely to be impulsive.  

 

Snyder’s Dispositional Hope scale

Is the most extensively used psychological tool to measure hope. This scale defines hope as ‘’positive motivational thoughts related to an individual’s capacity and strategies to attain a goal.’’ To elaborate, this cognitive model of hope relies on two categories. The first being (A) agency (goal-directed energy), and (B) pathways (planning to meet goals). The adult hope scale (AHS) contains 8 items which grade an individual’s level of hope. (4/8) characteristics measure pathway thinking, (4/8) measure agency thinking. Researchers can either examine results at the subscale level or combine the two subscales to create a total hope score. You can take a ‘’Hope test’’ by following this link: https://fetzer.org/sites/default/files/images/stories/pdf/selfmeasures/PURPOSE_MEANING-AdultHopeScale.pdf