Burnout is characterised by disengagement and stress by over-engagement. In burnout, your emotions become blunted; stress makes them over-reactive. Burnout causes emotional damage; stress primarily causes physical damage.
Burnout affects motivation and drive; stress affects your physical energy. Depression from burnout comes from the loss of hope and ideals; stress-related depression comes from your body’s need to conserve energy and protect itself.
Burnout triggers helplessness and hopelessness; stress triggers urgency and hyperactivity. Burnout produces detachment; stress produces panic, phobias, and anxiety. Burnout may not kill you, but it makes life feel like it’s not worth living.
Are you feeling either of these in your life?
What are you experiencing right now? There is a difference between the two; one makes you hyperactive, and the other makes you disengage. Both are very damaging and, if not dealt with, can cause severe mental and physical damage.
One way to deal with these is to develop hope in your life. Much evidence demonstrates that hope can keep you going in extremely difficult situations. It gives you energy and bouncebackability. It allows you to process negative situations in a better way, resulting in success against the odds.
Do you want to give up?
Does your situation look impossible? Are you getting ready to give up? Don’t! Emilie Batisse was seventy-nine when she was injured in a hit-and-run accident and wasn’t expected to live.
When Norman Vincent Peale visited her, he noticed a row of new poetry books that hadn’t been opened. When he asked her about them, she said, ‘I love poetry, but I haven’t read those…I’m saving them for my old age.’
Mrs Batisse lived to read those books many times, and when she eventually died at ninety-one, she was planning a trip to Europe.
Hope is wishing for something to come true; faith is believing it will happen. Hope is wanting something so desperately that despite all evidence to the contrary, you keep believing for it. And the remarkable thing is that the act of hoping produces a strength of its own.
Hope saved them
When Cornell University conducted a study on the effects of hope, Dr Harold G. Wolff reported that people with hope can endure incredible burdens.
One group comprised twenty-five thousand soldiers imprisoned during World War II. Subjected to forced labour, bad food, and filth, many died while others showed only slight damage.
Interviews with survivors revealed a far-above-average ability to hope! How were they able to keep their hope alive? By drawing pictures of the girls, they planned to marry, designing their future homes, and organising business management seminars. Hope not only kept them well, it kept them alive!
The Power of a Dream Board
What amazes me is they created Dream Boards or Vision Boards of things they were looking forward to when they were finally set free. They created excitement and hope by drawing images of things they were looking forward to. This hope gave them energy and belief that they would one day experience the things they were drawing.
I have a Dream Board with amazing images of things I want to achieve, and now I know why I have achieved so many things in my life. 12 years ago, I created this board with pictures of Dubai hotels, Cruise liners, Wedding rings to indicate a third and final marriage and many other exciting things.
So many amazing things came into my life
At that time, I was painting and decorating, and on the face of it, every one of these images was an impossible dream. But I had hope, and that hope kept me going. To date, 26 images have appeared in my life, including a beautiful marriage.
This morning, as I do every morning, I spent some time visualising what it would feel like to achieve the current 38 things I have on my Dream Board and by the time I had finished, I was excited and energised. I have created energy and hope that some of these beautiful things will appear in my life.
The benefits of hope in your life
Hope can have numerous positive effects on individuals and communities. Here are some potential benefits of hope:
Emotional Well-being: Hope is closely linked to positive emotions and can contribute to greater happiness and life satisfaction. It provides a positive outlook, helping individuals cope with stress, anxiety, and depression.
Resilience: Hope is a key component of resilience. It enables people to bounce back from setbacks, adversity, or challenging situations. Individuals with a hopeful mindset are often better equipped to overcome obstacles and navigate difficulties.
Motivation: Hope serves as a powerful motivator. When people have hope, they are more likely to set and work towards goals. It provides the energy and determination to pursue dreams and aspirations, fostering a sense of purpose.
Improved Physical Health: Research suggests hopeful individuals may experience better physical health outcomes. Hope is associated with healthier behaviours, such as regular exercise, maintaining a balanced diet, and seeking medical help when needed.
Better Coping Mechanisms: Hope can act as a coping mechanism during difficult times. It helps individuals develop effective strategies for dealing with stress and adversity, leading to a more adaptive response to challenges.
Increased Optimism: Hope is closely tied to optimism, influencing how individuals perceive and interpret events. Optimistic individuals are more likely to see opportunities in challenges and maintain a positive perspective, even in the face of difficulties.
Thoughts for the week
- Are you experiencing stress or burnout?
- It may be mild or severe and needs to be dealt with.
- This week, work on developing hope in your life. Like those prisoners who survived because of the hope created through drawing future goals, how about creating your own Dream Board like I did?
- If you want a free worksheet on creating your own Dream Board, reply to this email.
Well, that’s it for this week, keep strong and keep believing.