“Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.” – Christopher Reeve

One of the miraculous things about Christmas is the feeling of hope that people experience. What can we do throughout the year to keep this amazing feeling, the feeling that anything is possible?

What is hope? A true and genuine experience of hope is not something that switches off and on at any given moment. A true experience of hope goes well beyond a fleeting moment and instead transcends into every aspect of life.

In fact, it could be said that hope is very much a lifestyle that’s reflected in everything you do and in everything you are. It’s a way of living your life that seeps into every part of your being.

What does it mean to live hopefully? Some characteristics of hopeful people are:

  • They are happy and grateful for the life they have, but are always looking to make improvements.
  • They don’t accept things as they are. They instead want to make things better, to upgrade their life and circumstances by making positive changes.
  • They are curious about life and the world around them.
  • They accept that every experience has some form of value and benefit for them.
  • They tend to live in the present moment.
  • They don’t just hope that things will be better. They work hard to ensure that things get better.
  • They consistently seek out opportunities, help and support. They understand that only with other people’s help will they have a chance of getting what they want.
  • They live with gratitude. They are thankful for what they have; however, this never prevents them from seeking out more of what they want.

Being a hopeful person requires commitment to adopt certain ways of thinking and living your life. It requires that you are open to change. Hope can be contagious. When you are around positive people, you become more positive.

When you are around people who laugh, you laugh more. When you are around people who like to learn, then you will learn more. It is important to place yourself in these positive situations.

Memory Matters offers hope to people that are caring for someone with dementia through our support groups. We offer people hope to keep their minds healthier for longer, even after a diagnosis, through our Connections program.

Through our Brain Boosters program, we teach people the importance of life-long learning. In turn, they are hopeful that they are doing everything possible to keep their precious brains in top-notch condition.

Hope is about doing the best for yourself and your loved ones every day. Hope is a positive expectation of a better future.

I am very hopeful that we all can make this the best year ever.

Karen Doughtie is senior program director of Memory Matters, serving Bluffton and Hilton Head. karen@memory-matters.org; mymemory matters.org