When I was in grad school I remember learning about a study on the role that hope has in counseling. When a group of people was studied as they approached and began the counseling process, there was an increase in overall mood just from making the counseling appointment. That is before counseling actually began- it started with getting the appointment on the books. And hope that the appointment would yield some sort of positive change.
Not everyone feels that way. Lots of people dislike counseling or “don’t believe in it” (I hear that a lot), and making that appointment signifies rock bottom. Or a spouse who is forcing them to go.
But for those who buy into the idea, part of their positive change can start with hope as they make their first appointment.
I thought about this today as I headed out for ACAC (a local gym I belong to). After I wrote a couple of days ago about motivation (or lack thereof) I pretty quickly felt an upswing in hopefulness. Maybe I won’t always feel so stuck. Maybe I will reconnect with my body and treat it well again. Maybe maybe maybe…there’s hope!
There’s also something great about hearing from other people in the same boat. Or people who have hopped out of the boat into another one- one of 10-milers, and exercise classes they enjoy, and more mindfulness around their eating. There’s hope for me in those words.
So I dumped my four kids into the KidZone with every other parent in Charlottesville, on this rainy spring break day. And I rolled into a yoga class (late- but doesn’t yoga mean they have to peacefully accept my lateness?). I had never done this class and it was one of those “notice your breathing for an hour” classes. I felt my forearms lead into my elbows for 20 minutes, then stood up with the rest of the class and turned my head back and forth while whispering “lalalala” for another 10 minutes. We all stared a little blankly (mindfully?) into the distance, slack jawed, moving our heads slowly, and it dawned on me that we looked like yoga for zombies. Lalalala…left. Lalalala…right. Notice your shoulders, spreading like wings. Lalalala… Release your jaw… Lalalala…
I don’t anticipate taking that class again, but after a few weeks of poor sleep and poor eating and feeling at odds with my body, it was nice to check back in with myself. And there’s hope in getting to the gym, even to whisper lalalala for just under an hour. Hope in writing it out and hearing words back to have patience and rest and try something new.
Here’s to hope!
(I have a long and somewhat complicated relationship with exercise and food (don’t we all?), and you are welcome to read more about it here).