Hopelessness and Depression

In a depressive state of mind, it is highly difficult to be hopeful about anything in life. Statements like “be hopeful things will change” and “right now things are bad but the future will be good” don’t make any sense to someone who is in a state of feeling blue about everything.

According to the Hopelessness Theory by Abramson, Metalsky, and Alloy, the most important trigger of depression is the feeling of hopelessness. Hopelessness is the result of the interaction between negative life events that have significant affect and distorted cognition. There are two aspects of hopelessness: an expectation that a positive or desirable outcome will never occur, and the individual has no response or control over the things that can lead to change in the situation.

The definition of hopelessness, according to the APA, is the feeling that one will not experience positive emotions or an improvement in one’s condition. Hopelessness is common in severe major depressive disorder and other depressive disorders and is often implicated in suicides and attempted suicides. It is quite normal to feel hopeless when we experience unfair or negative experiences, but when hopelessness affects our daily activities, leading to depression, it is time to seek the necessary steps to address the issue that is causing the distress.

Some of the pessimistic statements made by people who are hopeless

  • What is the point of trying that? It is going to fail anyway.
  • My situation will never get any better.
  • My future looks dead to me.
  • It works for others, but not for me.
  • I have no desire to live.
  • No one can help me make my life better.
  • Nothing makes sense to me.

These negative thoughts and self-talk serve as obstacles for a person to heal and be hopeful in life. These pessimistic statements can discourage the person from taking any steps to make their health and life better.

When times get hard in any situation, there are some things that an individual can do to be hopeful.

First of all, be kind to yourself and don’t put yourself down for having those negative feelings.

Be mindful of the words you use toward yourself. Sometimes we use catastrophic words towards ourselves, like “I will never have a good future.” “This solution will work for others but not for me.” Analyze what triggers these words and thoughts. Learn to question these statements; it might surprise you that these words and thoughts are untrue. Replace these statements with realistic statements. For example. “Let me try this solution and see if this can work out for me.”

Stop ruminating about the sad experiences and thoughts, or chew on things again and again. Many scientific studies have stated that rumination can influence mood and problem solving, which can hinder an individual from being physically and mentally healthy. It is inevitable to erase the memories, but you can take a conscious step to distract yourself by engaging in different activities to not rethink the sad events or thoughts.

Prayer and meditation have their own benefits to calm the mind, and many people who practice praying or meditating find them beneficial and make them hopeful about the distress they are facing.

Reflect on your past successful moments because they challenge your distorted thinking and serve as evidence to remind you that you are not always bad and you don’t always fail.

Set realistic and attainable goals for yourself and address them one step at a time. Don’t be hard and pessimistic towards yourself by saying, “Anyone can do this; it’s not a big deal,” or “I don’t think this small step can help me accomplish what I have set for myself,” but instead appreciate and acknowledge your small progress.

Here to help

If you need help, Ananth Jeevan is here.

Email Us

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *