For the past few years I have been contemplating the concepts of hope and optimism and their importance to our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

In the past, I used the words hope and optimism interchangeably. When I realized this, I became curious about their differences and began looking into their differences. The volumes that have been written about hope and optimism and their similarities and differences is voluminous!

In one study, the authors concluded that, “Hope is distinct from optimism by being an emotion, representing more important but less likely outcomes, and by affording less personal control… When people do have a high degree of control, they may no longer need to be just hopeful but can be optimistic because the outcome is now attainable.” Motivation and Emotion, Distinguishing Hope from Optimism and Related Affective States, Patricia Bruininks, Bertram F. Malle, December 2005, Vol. 29, Issue 4, pp 324 – 352

I’ve come to view hope as more of an emotional experience and optimism as more of an intellectual practice. In many ways, they are two sides of the same coin.

When the emotions of hope and the conscious thoughts of optimism are working together healing can occur. Neuroscience has taught us that hope, belief and expectation, can block pain by releasing endorphin and enkephalins (natural opiates) in a process similar to morphine. Hope can also have important effects on physiological processes like breath, blood flow, and motor function.

Hope is an act of defiance when things seem hopeless. It is at the heart of healing. Hope is the emotion at the heart of the Greatest Expression of You. When used together, hope and joy become the glue that joins the new neuropathways together.

“Hope begins in the dark .. .the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You don’t give up.” ~ Help, Thanks, Wow, Anne Lamott


Optimism is a choice to think and act positively. It is the choice to see the glass as half full and to know that you can fill it so that it overflows.

In the 2015 Annual Gates Letter, Bill Gates wrote: “Optimism for me isn’t that things will get better; it’s a conviction that we can make things better — that whatever suffering we see, no matter how bad it is we can help people if we don’t lose hope and we don’t look away.”

Optimism is hope in action. When you persistently use hope and optimism together, you really can created your future to be greater than your past.

Finding hope

Last year I had an emergency call to meet with someone at a cancer center. The man had just been told that his prognosis was bleak. The treatment regimen that was available for this particular cancer was brutal and the odds that the treatment would work were less than favorable.

When I walked into the room to meet him for the first time, he was looking at a picture of a young girl. We introduced ourselves and I sat down next to him as he began to tell me his story.

He expressed his hopelessness and saw no point in participating in the treatment that was being recommended. Even with this treatment, the odds were that he had weeks, maybe a few months to live.

As I listened to the depths of his despair, I asked about the picture that he was looking at when I entered the room. He shared with me that it was of his 4-year-old granddaughter. I told him that I had 5 granddaughters. His eyes lit up as he asked me about them.

As we exchanged our grandfather stories, I asked him what he hoped for his granddaughter. He came to life and opened his grandfatherly heart. In her, he had hope.

We met again the next day as he began his treatment. We talked about the Greatest Expression of You and about living with Hope and Joy – even if he was dying from cancer.

He began to respond to the treatment. Now, almost one year later, He is alive and in complete remission from cancer. The hope that he had for his granddaughter sparked a seed of optimism about a bright future for her. That was the motivation that he needed to go for the treatment.

He recently said to me that he doesn’t know if he will be alive to attend his granddaughter’s wedding – but he is excited to be there for her first day of kindergarten!

Hope and optimism

When you combine the emotion of hope with the choice to be optimistic as part of your Greatest Expression of You, you are propelling your future to be greater than your past.

With hope and optimism you can expect great things to happen!

Your Hypnosis Health Info Hypnotic Suggestion for today:

With hope and optimism I expect great things to happen.

Since January 2, 1997
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