Plaza Voices: The Power of Hope & Gratitude

Words are powerful; they can either heal you or harm you.

Do you remember the Barack Obama poster that displayed the word HOPE? That poster became so iconic during his presidential campaign and it evoked such a powerful emotion. In Obama’s race the great word hope was the motivator. This word gave many individuals a glimmer into a better tomorrow and future. The key was believing, and boy did the people believe. 

We may use this word in our everyday lives and not truly understand what it contributes to our emotional and physical well-being. The definition of hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen; grounds for believing something good will happen; and a person or thing that may help or save someone. Hope is healing and does not give up. It holds space for you even in the most challenging times in your life. You can be sad, but hopeful. There is research that indicates that hope can help us manage stress, anxiety and cope with adversity. We can all use a dose of hope in our lives.

Another altering effect on our well-being is gratitude. Being grateful in our lives can scientifically alter our neurochemistry especially if we practice it. When we express gratitude and receive it, our brain releases dopamine and serotonin. The emotion of gratitude enhances our mood and has an impact on our mental health as well as our well-being. Even in the darkest times of our lives there is one thing we can find to be grateful for. Did you wake up today? That is something to be grateful for. However you choose to practice gratitude, I hope it provides you a positive effect on your day(s).

The Denver Public Library's Cultural Inclusivity department collaborates with Denver's multicultural community to create equitable opportunities for learning, discovery, and connection.

We offer Plazas, an open community space where people from all over the world connect with information and resources, building Denver’s global community. Come to practice English, prepare for citizenship, pursue your goals, and create your future. Whatever you’re doing, we can help!

Written by atesfay on