A brief explanation of the effect hope might have on a health issue

How would you define hope? What does hope look like? Hope is difficult to describe and it is even harder to measure. Yet it is the foundation of your goals and in action it is exhibited in your desires. Hope has emotional elements in its sense of positive expectation even when the situation is uncertain, perhaps even dire. What gives those diagnosed with a terminal illness the strength to endure debilitating treatments such as chemotherapy or kidney dialysis? Maybe you know individuals who cope with diseases that have a grave impact on their quality of life. Yet they continue to pursue life to the fullest, often pushing the boundaries of their illness. Hope for an improved outcome offers to many the strength to face the most challenging of health crises. From the moment you wake up, the desire for a positive outcome exists in every action you take. That desire for a positive outcome and the belief in the possibility that a positive result will happen are characteristics of hope. Hope is why you might take on challenges and hope is why you might look forward to a better future. However, hope is often taken for granted until it is lost. How do you regain hope, and what is its impact on your health?

For this Discussion, review this week’s Learning Resources, including the handout titled “Hope: The History, Its Application, and How to Regain It.” Complete the Herth Hope Index. As you complete the index, reflect on what the potential answers to the assessment items might reveal about an individual’s ability to hope when experiencing challenging situations. Then research two articles on the effects of hope on a specific health issue of your choice. Also consider how a patient suffering from the health issue you chose might be able to generate or sustain hope in coping with the health issue. Finally, reflect on the impact hope might have on stress response and the immune response system.

 

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