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The Baha'i Approach to the Science Behind Having Hope


The whole earth is now in a state of pregnancy. The day is approaching when it will have yielded its noblest fruits, when from it will have sprung forth the loftiest trees, the most enchanting blossoms, the most heavenly blessings. - Baha'u'llah

Studies have shown that hope opens our minds up to more options regarding what is possible our lives. Another study have found that hope was related to academic achievement above and beyond IQ, divergent thinking (the ability to generate a lot of ideas), and conscientiousness. In this study, participants who were instructed to think hopefully were better at making remote associations, generated a higher quantity of ideas, and added more details to their ideas, compared to those who weren't instructed to think hopefully.

Look ye not upon the present, fix your gaze upon the times to come. In the beginning, how small is the seed, yet in the end it is a mighty tree. Look ye not upon the seed, look ye upon the tree, and its blossoms, and its leaves and its fruits. - ‘Abdu'l-Baha

Hope helps produce emotions such as happiness and serenity, and improves our social connections with others. Optimism is conducive to problem-focused coping, humour, making plans, positive reframing (putting the situation in the best possible light) and, when the situation is uncontrollable, to accepting the situation’s reality. Optimists are capable of learning lessons from negative situations.

Strive that your actions day by day may be beautiful prayers. Turn towards God, and seek always to do that which is right and noble. Enrich the poor, raise the fallen, comfort the sorrowful, bring healing to the sick, reassure the fearful, rescue the oppressed, bring hope to the hopeless, shelter the destitute! - ‘Abdu'l-Baha

Physiological and psychological health outcomes are more positive, such as reduced levels of stress and anxiety, and increased longevity.

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning. -Albert Einstein

Hope appears to be a primarily learned concept. In a series of studies done, it was concluded that hope includes learned behaviors and thought processes that are acquired through the socialization process. These findings support the theory that hope is a culturally determined concept and is implicitly acquired by children during the language acquisition process. Studies show the following help us to retrain our brains and continue to have hope in life:

  • meditation/prayer,

  • writing about a positive experience daily,

  • writing down your goals and dreams, and envisioning hopeful images: Having goals is not enough. One has to keep getting closer to those goals, amidst all the inevitable twists and turns of life. Hope allows people to approach problems with a mindset and strategy-set suitable to success, thereby increasing the chances they will actually accomplish their goals.

  • reading uplifting books - reading can be therapy

  • listening to uplifting music,

  • surrounding yourself with positive, optimistic people: As it is commonly understood, the term ‘optimism’ embraces two closely correlated concepts: the first is the inclination to hope, while the second more generally refers to the tendency to believe that we live in “the best of all possible worlds”. Over the last few years, a significant body of research has been carried out about the effectiveness of optimism as a psychological phenomenon.

My hope is that through the zeal and ardour of the pure of heart, the darkness of hatred and difference will be entirely abolished, and the light of love and unity shall shine; this world shall become a new world; things material shall become the mirror of the divine; human hearts shall meet and embrace each other; the whole world become as a man's native country and the different races be counted as one race. - ‘Abdu'l-Baha

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