More Than a Season
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

If you have been reading my posts for more than a year, you know that I refer to the season between Thanksgiving and the New Year as the most wonderful time of the year. For a few weeks, the Hallmark Channel has been airing their lineup of holiday movies on the weekends. I did a quick search and found that Hallmark has 136 Christmas and holiday movies in their library. I am also not so naïve to think that everyone feels like I do about this season. Especially this year, when gathering as an extended family or with friends could be dangerous. So many of the events that we love to attend are canceled or have gone “virtual.” I would like to propose that this is still the Season of Hope.

According to research cited in a recent Wall Street Journal article, hope is a combination of agency or motivation to do something and a strategy or a path to accomplish it. The article notes that scientists have identified the portion of the brain that activates when we are hopeful. At the intersection of the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex is the rostral anterior cingulate cortex. What this tells us is that we really have a choice and can influence our feelings. We can choose to have feelings of hope rather than surrender to feelings of hopelessness. We can choose to keep this season as a season of hope.

Hope is a desire for something possible. It is a deep belief that the future will be better than our present situation. Let’s go back to the WSJ’s definition of hope – a combination of motivation and strategy. What are you motivated to achieve? Once you have identified it, what is your strategy to achieve it? What actions can you take? Who can assist you in the process? Identifying these components of the process activates the portion of your brain responsible for feelings of hope. As you spend more time in this process, hope becomes your dominant emotion.

This holiday season, it’s important to move from “I can” or “I can’t” to “how can I?” Take a moment to consider how you can enjoy this wonderful season, but perhaps in a different way. Muster up the motivation and combine that with a strategy and the net is greater hope.

If you would like to hear more strategies for making this season more hopeful, please join Marisa Norcross and me for Episode 181 of The Next Page podcast as we offer tips and tricks to help you enjoy the most wonderful time of the year.

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