The levels of hope and mental well-being

The levels of hope and mental well-being

Levels of hope (Marcel, 1951) provide a way to understand the importance and need for those things which are hoped for to be accomplished ranging from great importance and psychological need to little importance and psychological need. After an individual has come through shock, or the inability to consider what is happening, the highest level of hope is considered as the need to end suffering, it is hope which can be all consuming and extremely emotive. Emotions that may most clearly be associated with this level of hope are pain and fear. Both emotions are associated with thoughts and behaviors that seek the experience to end, this can be at any cost. For instance, someone may seek surgery to end pain regardless of the opinion of the surgeon or whether the surgery guarantees that pain will end. As illness intrudes on the meaning and purpose of one’s life it introduces suffering. Suffering can be seen as a state of distress following an event; suffering can be characterised by experiences of unpleasant emotions, by damage to how one sees themselves, or by a sense of loss and experience of pain (Egnew, 2018). Studies have revealed a higher frequency and range of unpleasant emotions compared to pleasant ones (Soundy et al., 2016). Being able to manage and understand these emotions as part of suffering is essential. As the book continues this particular aspect is considered. Once suffering becomes more bearable the next levels of hope  can be considered. The hope that follows this regards consideration to activities and interactions that have meaning and satisfaction within life.

The outcome of suffering and experiences of loss can negatively impact on a sense of belonging and social identity can be significantly affected (Soundy et al., 2014). Social identity has been defined as ‘an individual's knowledge that he or she belongs to certain social groups together with some emotional and value significance to him or her of this group membership’ (Tajfel, 1972). Hopes that are relate to an individual’s social identity or roles, interactions and activities represent levels of hope which sit beneath the highest level of suffering. This could include groups that relate to one’s occupation, leisure or sporting activities, religious affiliation and or family life.

Following the onset or change within illness (re)establishment of different higher levels of hope like activities and relationships are the most central achievement needed for mental well-being to be restored. The reason for this is because this level of hope provides the individual with a sense of purpose, mastery, perceived control and life satisfaction. A good example of this may be found from being part of a group that enables a positive social identity (Hawkins et al., 2014). Finally, hope can also be considered at a more superficial level considering the impact change and threat has on their daily routine, this could include outings, meetings or activities. The impact and loss of a single activity within a week may be acceptable whilst the loss of group membership and valued interactions more long term may not be. By considering the levels of hope you can understand the motivations, thoughts and behaviors an individual may have to obtain those things which are important.

 

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