Hope May Steer People Away from Bad Habits
By Sandy Schroeder
Most of us know someone who is always positive. Sometimes that can be annoying, but actually that person may be on to something.
It turns out, people who are hopeful may be better equipped to avoid dangerous habits like gambling, drinking too much, overeating, or taking drugs, according to researchers at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom.
How Bad Habits Happen
The UK researchers wanted to find out why some people are more apt to fall into risky behaviors so they looked at the feeling of relative deprivation. That feeling arises when it seems like everyone else has a better life. That can lead to anger and resentment coupled with bad habits like overeating, taking drugs, gambling, or drinking.
But not everyone who feels shortchanged does these negative things and the UK researchers wanted to find out why.
Previous studies have shown people are stronger when facing trouble if they can remain hopeful. The researchers wondered if instilling hope could help people feel happier and less likely to make bad choices.
And that's just what the researchers found when they evaluated the volunteers to see if they felt deprived and if they had hope. They found the ones who were seen as hopeful were much less likely to make harmful choices.
They concluded that finding ways to make people feel hopeful would help keep them away from harmful choices like gambling, use of drugs, overeating, or excessive drinking.
For all of us, and our families, taking a cue from the researchers and encouraging hope, might be well worth the effort. Here are some suggestions for helping others be more hopeful to use with your children, your relatives, and others.
- Give them a hand when they need it
- Make the effort to stay connected
- Show them love and care
- Share your thoughts
- Laugh with them
- Spend time with them and listen
- Help them find out who they are or want to become
- Keep the attention coming
- Make the time whenever and wherever it is needed
- Find new ways to surprise them with your thoughtfulness
Instilling hope is a gradual process, but you might be amazed at how powerful it can be. It can also be revealing. The more you work on instilling hope the more you will learn about yourself and those around you. Enjoy the process.
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