Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hope and How to Remain Hopeful During the Holidays

Written by Dr. Bria Jones, PMP   Author/Speaker/Educator

To many the holidays are a time of jubilation and celebration. Many families gather to exchange gifts and accolades over a festive meal. For them the New Year, which quickly follows, creates a sense of hope and inspiration for good things to come. Not so for others, who may be experiencing personal challenges such as financial hardships or struggling with the loss of love ones. For those who may be feeling disenfranchised, the onslaught of “happily ever after” movies trigger a sense of hopelessness, despair and depression.  When combined with the constant “shop until you drop” media blitz, some people may find themselves asking, “How do I stay joyful or even hopeful given my current circumstances?”

It is a fact that everyone goes through difficult times and has obstacles to deal with. Though it’s what we do and how we respond during these crucial moments that matter. So, I would like to offer a few strategies for dealing with stressful situations and staying hopeful. Whenever you are bombarded with negative thoughts remind yourself, “It is not a crisis, if I don’t panic.” If you are already in a state of panic, tell yourself to calm down. Remind yourself that adversity develops character and the capacity for compassion, empathy, and courage. Then, think of all the difficult spots you have found yourself in before and how you were able to work through them. Consider one of the following strategies for another source of resilience:

·         Find something to be grateful for and appreciate what you have by focusing on what’s good in your life.

·         Focus on your faith to bring a sense of meaning and purpose. It will also help you to look forward to the future with anticipation.

·         Take control of the situation. Even small accomplishments, like controlling your emotions, are helpful to regain a sense of personal power.

·         Get social, don’t isolate yourself, and connect with your support system for help with difficult decisions. You don’t have to go through difficult times alone.

·         Count your blessing and stay focused on the many things that you are thankful for. Set aside time each day to jot down the things that you are grateful for, or the positive things that happened in your day.

·         Focus on past success instead of failures. Remind yourself often of the many victorious moments when you overcame obstacles of the past.

Lastly, start planning how to turn your situation around. My mother always said, “Everything can be fixed/replaced except life itself.”  That affirmation always helped me to put things into perspective. I recall when I got the call that my daughter had been rushed to the hospital by ambulance. Despite the violent crime and her extensive injuries, I was able to remain hopeful because she was still alive and fighting to hold on to life. While the traumatic event was painful and her recovery was slow, we were blessed. We still have the opportunity to make good memories every day to replace the painful ones. So, despite the obstacles you are facing, know that in time you can “turn the coal of the past into the diamonds of the present and future.”


About Dr. Bria Jones:  As an author, she blends personal wisdom with her professional insight to motivate positive changes and produce dramatic results. Dr. Jones is also a passionate, compelling speaker and workshop presenter. She is sought after by corporations, professional associations and non-profit groups both nationally and internationally. Dr. Bria is the author of several books and games: The Official Parent’s Handbook: Spare the rules, spoil the child; and Like Shopping For Shoes. Dr. Jones is a blogger for Like Shopping for Shoes, and Learn more about Dr. Jones at or email her at

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