Hope and Health – a Good Partnership

Hope and Health - A Good Partnership

© GLOW IMAGES

by Don Ingwerson

How many times have we heard someone respond to another’s hopes and dreams with, “Get real?” Well, maybe we do need to get real, but hope may be tied more closely with reality than we think, especially in the quest for health.

The effect of hope on health may be viewed more like prayer and meditation – hard to provide scientific proof questioners will accept. But according to Amanda Enayati, the positive effects of hope are well documented. In her CNN article, “How Hope Can Heal,” Enayati highlights a number of studies that show the power of hope.

For example, stepping to the forefront in promoting the value of hope is Shane Lopez, author of “Making Hope Happen.” Lopez is unfazed by the current resistance to quantifying different aspects of hope. He believes that hope is the stuff of change, recovery, and healing by being a buffer from stress, anxiety, and negative life events. And he finds that hope promotes healthy behaviors.

But Lopez isn’t the only one taking up the challenge to explain the positive effects of hope on health. Jerome Groopman writes in “The Anatomy of Hope” that “researchers are learning that a change in mind-set has the power to alter neurochemistry.” Groopman’s research shows that people who maintain belief and expectation – two mental states associated with hope – recover more quickly from illness because these states of mind have a positive impact on the nervous system.

Hope is not just wishing that everything will turn out all right, it is actually showing up for the hard work. This concept of hope and hard work being tied together rings true for me.

I’ve often found that it takes work to keep my thinking in tune with what’s good around me. This isn’t only modern insight, but also ancient wisdom. For instance, the letter to the Hebrews in the Bible refers to the idea of trust and hope being a firm foundation under what makes life worth living. This trust in God, or in good, as I sometimes think about the divine, lifts me out of the daily grind of life in matter, into a mental realm a bit higher.

The Holman Bible Dictionary defines hope as a trustful expectation, particularly with reference to the fulfillment of God’s purpose. And I see divine purpose as always good. Indeed, it takes work to keep a trustful expectation of divine goodness at the forefront of your thinking, but I’ve found that it’s been a helpful healing element in maintaining my health.

Article first published in Blogcritics.

About the author

Don Ingwerson Don regularly blogs on health and spirituality and lives in Laguna Beach with his wife - both Christian Science practitioners. He brings his years serving the public in education to his work as a liaison of Christian Science, where he maintains contacts with the media and legislative offices.

Comments

  1. Sue says

    Thanks Don. I love the definition of hope from the Holman Bible Dictionary. Hope being a trustful expectation, particularly with reference to the fulfillment of God’s purpose is a clear and useful working concept.
    Every time we use math we trust its principle to work. Everytime I listen to Father-Mother God, I trust His-Her as Principle, as love and divine Mind. I always hold a trustful expectation that goodness guides, directs and heals which not only blesses me but my community!

  2. says

    Yes, it’s so vitalizing to keep thought attuned to what is good, an ongoing task that pays dividends in so many ways. Thanks for this inspired article.

  3. Pamela says

    I have a favorite Bible passage that says, ” Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”

    For me my hope is always in God I guess because He has always helped me when I needed help, gided me when I needed direction and healed me when I needed healing. It’s difficult to imagine not having hope in God since that has been my experience from childhood. Thanks Don for this informative blog.

  4. Cassie says

    Wonderful message, Don. Thanks for the helpful and hopeful practical encouragement.

  5. Kathie Kilgore says

    When hope becomes understanding, it has the authority of God’s onliness and allness behind it. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, gives us this wise counsel: “Let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love rule out of me all sin. And may Thy Word enrich the affections of all mankind and govern them.” “To reign” is to rule exclusively.
    Just as we know that 2 and 2 are 4 because of a provable principle, not just willpower or blind faith, we have divine authority undergirding our hope for harmony in all aspects of life. Stimulating articles and food for thought! Thank you!

  6. Anne says

    I heard long ago that hope is so important because it’s an expectancy of good.

    Of the five pathways to hope in Amanda Enayati’s article, I especially liked “attending to spirituality,” and “developing wisdom.” While each one, of course, will find his/her own way to incorporate these qualities into daily life, I appreciate the reminder to give them careful thought.

    I read once that hope is an essential Christian quality though certainly not exclusive to that religion.

    When Christ Jesus was on the cross, he must have been hopeful and expectant of a final right result. Imagine the hope, faith, and trust he would have had to have in the spiritual power of God to save and deliver him from what looked like a terrible fate.

    Contemplating his greatest trial has definitely given me hope and encouragement when I’ve felt bombarded with life’s troubles. It’s been serious work at times, but the thought of hope has always brought a brighter day and eventually a positive solution to whatever problem I faced with physical or mental health.

    A wonderful blog. Thank you.

  7. Belle says

    I love the concept from Science and Health that hope begins with intuition, that intuitive sense that all will be well, grows into faith, ripens in understanding…then fruition and then, voila, reality!!

  8. Tracy Clifton says

    I often think of hope as simply expecting good. And any doctor will tell you that expecting good while trying to heal is useful and helpful! Thanks for this article, Don!