Updated: Oct 18
I don’t know about you but these past few years have been challenging and the future continues to look uncertain for so many of us. I know of a lot of people, including myself, who are struggling to find hope again when facing uncertainty on all levels. Hopelessness isn’t a happy feeling!
It’s not unusual to be feeling tired, demotivated, scared, anxious, and depressed when all seems hopeless. And, with so much upheaval going on in the world right now, it’s not surprising to wonder if there’s ever going to be hope again.
Processing these feelings and any others that crop up when facing personal and global challenges is the first step to climbing out of the pit of hopelessness. But, what else can you do to find hope again despite difficult circumstances? Keep reading to find out what works for me.
Losing Hope: My Story
Those who know me understand why I believe in sharing personal stories. Telling others about your life experiences helps them to find coping skills and not to feel alone when battling their own demons while encouraging them to find hope again.
The last two years haven’t quite gone according to plan! Following a traumatic year in 2021, my partner suffered two major mental breakdowns in the space of seven months in 2022. While I was able to deal with these extremely difficult and sad times with the support of my shaman teacher, Lionel Berman, and a therapist, I wasn’t prepared for the next catastrophe.
Fighting a Firestorm: Benzodiazepines
Part of my partner’s treatment plan included Xanax (also known as Xanor), a benzodiazepine used for treating conditions such as severe anxiety, insomnia, and panic disorders. Little did we understand the serious complications taking this drug would cause. After all, we trusted the psychiatrist to do the right thing to support my partner’s recovery.
I’m not ready to discuss the dangers of benzos in this post or to describe the hell my partner has been through since withdrawing from the drug. But, with the trauma of the past six months related to the horrific side effects of both Xanax and Rivitrol (which are ongoing as of today), I found myself losing hope.
I lost all hope that we would ever find the right help for my partner (thank goodness for Changes Addiction Rehab). Hope that my partner will find some peace from the severe protracted withdrawal symptoms is still out there in the dark somewhere. We lost hope that we would get through this relatively unscathed and we’re still wondering!
Will there ever be certainty or hope in my life again?
7 Ways to Find Hope Again When Facing Uncertainty
Shifting your mindset can make all the difference in meeting today’s difficulties head-on. It comes down to an acceptance that life isn’t the way it used to be. Adapting to the new normal and meeting life on life’s terms is something I’ve slowly begun to integrate into my daily routine.
I’m a natural optimist and love waking up to every new day with a renewed sense of hope. Feeling hopeless went against the grain for me and yet, it nailed me this time around! However, I found the following ways to restore hope again when facing uncertainty and I hope they’ll empower you as well if you’re facing hopelessness in your personal life.
1. What Does Hope Mean for You?
It was my therapist who asked me what I meant by hope when sharing my sense of hopelessness with her during one session. That got me thinking and I realized I needed to feel safe in order to feel hopeful again.
Certainty is a basic human need and if that isn’t met in healthy ways, you’re heading down a dangerous path!
I quote Desmond Tutu here – “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness” – and that is what it means for me too. Knowing that there is light at the end of the tunnel no matter how dark the days may seem during difficult times gives me hope. It’s about having faith.
I would remind myself every day that I AM safe and that there is light (even if it seems pretty dim at times, it’s still there!)
2. This Time Too Shall Pass
My father would often encourage me by reminding me of a famous Persian adage, “This too shall pass” whenever I felt despondent. He’s no longer with us but during my latest struggles, I would hear his gentle voice reminding me that bad (and good) times don’t last indefinitely.
Dealing with benzos isn’t something that goes away overnight. However, I’m on the journey so I may as well make the most of it while waiting for the indefinite moment to pass (like a kidney stone but it too shall pass!)
Nothing is forever and that applies to everything that happens to you. Understanding that life is made up of peaks and valleys, and some journeys take longer or are more painful than others, you will come out the other end as a stronger person. Other painful experiences have shown that to me.
3. Live in the Moment
One of the most powerful places to be is in the Now. Living in the moment keeps you from dwelling on the past and ruminating about the future. I practice being in the moment as often as possible as it keeps me grounded and stress-free. It’s not always easy to achieve but it’s worth the effort.
Reading Eckhart Tolle’s book, “The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment” empowered me many years ago to start focusing on the moment. NOW is all you have so you may as well make it your key focus in life. Only then can you find hope again while still facing the uncertainty of the future.
4. Believe in a Higher Power
Believing in a Higher Power, whatever that means for you, gives you faith while helping you find the light again. While my spiritual connection with Great Spirit has gotten me through some difficult circumstances, I had stopped talking to my Higher Power in the midst of dealing with my partner’s battles.
It was through the guidance of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-Step Recovery Program that I realized I had disconnected from my spiritual being and that I need to reconnect again. I did this by installing a daily practice of praying every morning before starting my day.
If you want to learn more about the AA 12-Step program, get the book “Alcoholics Anonymous, Fourth Edition: The official “Big Book” from Alcoholics Anonymous.” The program works for both addicts and non-addicts who want to find sobriety on all levels.
5. Watch Out for Negative Thoughts
Be careful of falling into the self-fulfilling prophecy of negative thoughts! Tackling negativity isn’t easy especially when life is uncertain and you’re fighting personal battles. However, you owe it to yourself to become aware of your negative thoughts so you can start shifting them and make space for positive beliefs that restore hope again.
Working with a life coach such as myself will empower you to manage your negative thinking. Becoming aware of your uncomfortable emotions will help you identify the limiting thoughts driving them in the first place. Combating negative thinking ensures you start behaving in a self-motivating manner that will foster a sense of renewed hope and faith in life.
6. Don’t Forget Self-Care
During difficult times, it’s easy to forget about taking care of yourself as you focus on the problem causing so much upheaval in your life! However, self-care is crucial for keeping you above troubled waters when all else seems to be falling apart!
Make sure you’re eating a healthy diet, keeping up with regular exercise, connecting with friends and family, and getting enough sleep. Having fun is a vital component of any self-care routine so don’t forget to be playful. It can be as simple as playing a ball game with your four-legged friend or watching a comedy on Netflix!
7. Focus on Emotional and Mental Recovery
Whatever the reason for your losing hope, you’re bound to find yourself feeling out of balance, emotionally and mentally. I found talking to my therapist once a week and having regular check-ins with my shaman teacher helped me to open up about my fears and to find solutions that restored my sense of hope at the same time.
I began a new journey of inner work by participating in the 12-Step recovery program designed for families and loved ones of addicts. I’m working with a sponsor who has a deep understanding of what people like myself are struggling with and it’s an incredible gift. This way, I’m able to feel hopeful again about what’s ahead for me even though it’s uncertain.
Two other things have held me steadfast even when hopelessness settled in for a day or two. The first thing was continuing my work as a transformational life coach which keeps me in my own lane, doing what I love doing most.
Secondly, consciously aligning my daily activities with my personal core values reminds me of who I am and why I must stay on my path.
Using my brother’s motto in life, “Keep on keeping on” is what gives me hope too as does putting one foot in front of another. My dreams and goals give me hope and on that note, I end off with a quote from Jonas Salk – “Hope lies in dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality.”
PS: Two other books I read often and which remind me how to find hope again include the following:
Man's Search for Meaning - Viktor E. Frankl
The Choice: Embrace the Possible ( A Story About Hope) - Dr. Edith Eger