Emotional Retreat: Finding Hope In Times Of Darkness

By DR. TED WIARD
Golden Willow Retreat

Hope is a topic that has been arising within many conversations lately in the therapeutic world as well as in the collective consciousness within society.

Hope is often thought of as a feeling of expectation, and desire for a specific thing to happen, or as a verb, wanting something to happen or be the situation. It seems the pandemic has corroded the foundation of trust that everything will be okay, and that people can make it through this difficult time. With the weakening of the foundation, hope appears to have dwindled, causing higher levels of depression, anxiety, and a lesser quality of life than 13 months ago.

Trust could also be called faith, in which there is some sort of faith, spiritually and/or cognitively, that there is light at the end of the tunnel and in the midst of darkness, there is movement for a better future. Not only within something like COVID-19, but in relationships there is the need for some sort of foundation of faith, that during difficult times there is still the trust for better days, and hope that our quality of life will continue to expand and the foundation of faith will catapult hope into passion and excitement for life.

This may sound a bit on the Pollyanna syndrome level of blind optimism, but on the other hand it may be better than looking for the negatives within the world in order to stay negatively skeptical. In actuality finding the balance of optimism/hope and grounding in factual information, can give a grounded perspective while keeping goals for a better tomorrow through actions.

When someone finds themselves in that place of dark hopelessness it can be difficult to find a way out. Having individual tools to help bring some sort of light into the darkness can be lifesaving, literally and metaphorically. There are four quadrants in true health: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual.

Seeing where some of these may be out of balance is a good start, and breaking isolation can help energize any of the four quadrants. Finding connection seems to be key for that balance and with this last year, many connections have been hijacked. New forms of connection have emerged and there are signs that soon, there will be more opportunities to connect with others once again.

Some internal ways of bringing in some light, are changing habits that may not serve you such as continuously finding negativity in your surroundings such as your family, your situation, the world at large, and deciding what really matters and what doesn’t have to be chewed on and negatively swallowed. It takes more effort to look for positives and areas of gratitude than it does to find immediate irritants and resentments.

In acknowledging the immediate irritants and then having discernment if they really matter or not, can allow for establishing boundaries on those areas that really matter and at the same time, offer room for gratitude and joy by dismissing the issues that really do not matter. Building your platform with gratitude and finding ways to connect with acceptance and reciprocal love, can help grow hope and allow more positivity to enter into our world of irritated negativity. I wish you well, and until the next article, take care and be safe.

Golden Willow Retreat is a nonprofit organization focused on emotional healing and recovery from any type of loss. Direct any questions to Dr. Ted Wiard, EdD, LPCC, CGC, Founder of Golden Willow Retreat GWR@newmex.com or call at 575.776.2024. Weekly virtual grief groups, at no charge, are being offered to help support emotional well-being. Information can be accessed through www.goldenwillowretreat.org.

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