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"We will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope" Martin Luther King Jr.

As Dr. King knew, hope is an incredibly important attribute when trying to accomplish any goal. Hope in the darkest times, is what keeps us moving toward our goals whether that goal be to end a centuries long injustice or something much smaller in scope. Hope is our launching pad. It is the light that illuminates our path. It is hope that keeps us moving forward when all seems lost or the finish line seems impossibly far away. Dr. King knew that to have hope and to give hope were essential to the success of the Civil Rights movement. He became the embodiment of hope for millions across our country, and he remains a symbol of the power of hope to this day.

What is hope and is it possible to cultivate hope? According to Professor Rick Snyder, it is a psychological attribute comprised of three elements:

  1. Having goals that you believe in and that are important to you.

  2. Believing that you can achieve your goals even if there are obstacles along the way.

  3. Finding multiple, possible avenues to achieve your goals and committing yourself to pursue them.

Based on this description, hope is a very active attribute. It is purposeful, and it requires that we commit to action. Know that there will be obstacles along the way. Prepare for them and have alternate routes to your goal planned. There may be disappointments and setbacks along the way, but don't allow those to derail you. They are what make us stronger and allow us to do greater things than we ever imagined.

According to Psychology Today, there are some simple things that we can do to cultivate hope.

1. Practice mindfulness. Be present in this moment. Stop the worry before it can take hold

and grow.

2. Develop a spiritual life whatever that looks like for you. Just believing in something

greater than ourselves grows and strengthens our hope.

3. Do something that you love! In trying times, these things give us the ability to tackle

the more difficult parts of our day and to continue on toward our goal

4. Be of service. When we are serving others, we are not thinking of ourselves or our

problems. We become the spreaders of hope.

5. Find gratitude. It may be for some small gift like the sunshine but intentional gratitude

can change our mindset in a positive way.

Dr. King's life is a testament to the power of hope. He helped to change the landscape of our country because he lived a life of infinite hope. He experienced incredible setbacks, and he ultimately gave his life for a cause that he knew was greater than himself. Let us honor his memory by growing our hope and becoming the hope that our world so desperately needs.

Know that NAMI KDK is always here to help in any way that we can. Please feel free to reach out to us at 630-896-NAMI (6264) or

"If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

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