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Well Being

An expert shares how to reclaim hope. Yes, even after these past two years.

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Photo by Rosie Kerr on Unsplash

We all need some hope and inspiration.

As 2022 approaches, some of us might be remiss in even thinking about new goals for ourselves. Especially after a soured “2020 vision” and a 2021 that came and went in the blink of an eye. Not to mention the new hard look at hustle culture, the collective burnout otherwise known as The Great Resignation … oh, and a seemingly never-ending pandemic.

So yeah, it’s perfectly reasonable that the once hopeful promise of a New Year’s resolution might have lost its shine.

Still, researcher and author Dr. Shane Lopez discusses why holding onto hope remains a crucial skill. And a learnable one as well.

Resolutions might change to reflect different values—perhaps a resolution to find meaningful work versus working harder, for example—but regardless, this take might offer some fresh insight and reinstill some long-lost vigor. At the very least, it might make hope seem a little less delusional.



In his 2013 interview with the University of Minnesota's Center for Spirituality and Healing and the Life Science Foundation, Dr. Lopez defines hope as “the belief that the future will be better than the present, coupled with the belief that you have the power to make it so.”

He clarifies that where simple optimism or wishful thinking contains only the first belief (a better future), hope has the added aspect of the belief in one’s own agency in the matter.

It’s almost like saying optimism says that a problem can be solved. Hope actively says, “I have the ability to solve this problem.”

Interview with Dr. Shane Lopez

This is in part why hope is the foundation of proper goal-setting. As we set down applicable plans, we strengthen our own agency, thus becoming happier and more productive.

According to Dr. Lopez, “a hopeful student can achieve a letter grade higher that a less hopeful one of equal intellect.”

In many ways, hope and resilience go hand in hand.

Dr. Lopez shares how hopeful people have an innate ability to bounce back after obstacles.

"An obstacle to a hopeful person is an expected challenge,” he says, adding, “then they immediately come up with new and different plans to get around that obstacle.”

Again, hope is a productive state, not a passive one.

Dr. Lopez states that hopeful people are also not shy about reaching out for support or help, to reassess or even reform goals when necessary. His interview indicates that hope is a key trait of problem solvers, not Pollyannas.

How to instill some hope into 2022

Going off of Dr. Lopez’s suggestions, here are ways to become more hopeful (and therefore more happy, productive and resilient, to boot)

Figure out what you’re truly excited about.

We spend a lot of time doing things that we’re not excited about, so when you can find something that does set off a spark, “you’ll receive a flurry of these hopeful thoughts,” says Dr. Lopez. And that enthusiasm in one area can leach into other areas of life as well.

Often, these are the things that give us the most meaning and purpose. Invest heavily in them.

That excitement might not make itself visible right away. And that’s OK. If that’s the case, try following your curiosity instead (Medium has a fantastic article about this). The point is, it has to be something that takes up more real estate than just your head.

Pursue two to three meaningful goals. Not 10-20.

Dr. Lopez shares that many people make this mistake when trying to create change in their life and thus try to pile more on top of an already full, chaotic life. The key ingredients to an achievable goal are specificity, clarity and additive to your life (meaning that it adds something of benefit, rather than taking something away).

I’ve become something of a James Clear brand ambassador these days. He really has the market cornered on achievable goal setting. If you’re not ready to try out his book “Atomic Habits,” he has a lot of great tidbit-sized insight on his Instagram.

Learn by example.

Find the most hopeful person in your life and spend time with them. Dr. Lopez suggests surrounding yourself with these kinds of people will teach you how to come up with multiple plans, overcome setbacks and sustain your energy to avoid burnout. In short, they’ll show you firsthand how it’s done and that it's possible.

I would add that in this day and age, there’s no shortage of hopeful podcasts, audiobooks—maybe even this website you’re reading from right now—that could help support you.

Whether you decide to make that 2022 vision board or simply want to feel better next year, hope might be the first step.

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Music’s biggest night took place Sunday, February 4 with the 66th Annual GRAMMY Awards. Now, fans have the opportunity to take home a piece of the famed event.

Longtime GRAMMY Awards partner Mastercard is using this year’s campaign to shine a light on the environment and the Priceless Planet Coalition (PPC), a forest restoration program with the goal of restoring 100 million trees. Music fans are 1.5 times more likely to take action to help the environment, making the GRAMMY Awards the perfect opportunity to raise awareness.

“Through our GRAMMY Awards campaign, we’ve created an opportunity for our brand, our partners and consumers to come together over shared values, to participate during a moment when we can celebrate our passion for music and our commitment to make meaningful investments to preserve the environment,” says Rustom Dastoor, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications, North America at Mastercard.

The campaign kicked off with an inspired self-guided multi-sensory tour at the GRAMMY House presented by Mastercard, where people journeyed through their passion of music and educational experience about Mastercard’s longstanding commitment to tree restoration. Then, this year’s most-nominated GRAMMY artist and a passionate voice for the environment, SZA, led the charge with the debut performance of her new song, Saturn.

Mastercard’s partners are also joining the mission by encouraging people all over the country to participate; Lyft and Sirius XM are both offering ways for consumers to get involved in the Priceless Planet Coalition. To learn more about how you can support these efforts, visit mastercard.com/forceofnature.

While fashion is always a highlight of any GRAMMY Awards event, SZA’s outfit worn during her performance of Saturn was designed to make a statement; made of tree seeds to help spread awareness. Fans can even comment ‘🌱’ and tag a friend on Mastercard’s designated post of SZA’s GRAMMY House performance for a chance to win a tree seed from the performance outfit*.

“SZA has a personal passion for sustainability – not just in forest restoration but in the clothes she wears and the platforms and partners she aligns herself with. It was important to us to partner with someone who is not only showing up big at the GRAMMY Awards – as the most GRAMMY-nominated artist this year – but also showing up big for the environment,” says Dastoor.

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How often do you change your sheets?

If you were to ask a random group of people, "How often do you wash your sheets?" you'd likely get drastically different answers. There are the "Every single Sunday without fail" folks, the "Who on Earth washes their sheets weekly?!?" people and everyone in between.

According to a survey of 1,000 Americans conducted by Mattress Advisor, the average time between sheet changings or washings in the U.S. is 24 days—or every 3 1/2 weeks, approximately. The same survey revealed that 35 days is the average interval at which unwashed sheets are "gross."

Some of you are cringing at those stats while others are thinking, "That sounds about right." But how often should you wash your sheets, according to experts?

Hint: It's a lot more frequent than 24 days.

While there is no definitive number of days or weeks, most experts recommend swapping out used sheets for clean ones every week or two.

Dermatologist Alok Vij, MD told Cleveland Clinic that people should wash their sheets at least every two weeks, but probably more often if you have pets, live in a hot climate, sweat a lot, are recovering from illness, have allergies or asthma or if you sleep naked.

We shed dead skin all the time, and friction helps those dead skin cells slough off, so imagine what's happening every time you roll over and your skin rubs on the sheets. It's normal to sweat in your sleep, too, so that's also getting on your sheets. And then there's dander and dust mites and dirt that we carry around on us just from living in the world, all combining to make for pretty dirty sheets in a fairly short period of time, even if they look "clean."

Maybe if you shower before bed and always wear clean pajamas you could get by with a two-week sheet swap cycle, but weekly sheet cleaning seems to be the general consensus among the experts. The New York Times consulted five books about laundry and cleaning habits, and once a week was what they all recommend.

Sorry, once-a-monthers. You may want to step up your sheet game a bit.

What about the rest of your bedding? Blankets and comforters and whatnot?

Sleep.com recommends washing your duvet cover once a week, but this depends on whether you use a top sheet. Somewhere between the Gen X and Millennial eras, young folks stopped being about the top sheet life, just using their duvet with no top sheet. If that's you, wash that baby once a week. If you do use a top sheet, you can go a couple weeks longer on the duvet cover.

For blankets and comforters and duvet inserts, Sleep.com says every 3 months. And for decorative blankets and quilts that you don't really use, once a year washing will suffice.

What about pillows? Pillowcases should go in with the weekly sheet washing, but pillows themselves should be washed every 3 to 6 months. Washing pillows can be a pain, and if you don't do it right, you can end up with a lumpy pillow, but it's a good idea because between your sweat, saliva and skin cells, pillows can start harboring bacteria.

Finally, how about the mattress itself? Home influencers on TikTok can often be seen stripping their beds, sprinkling their mattress with baking soda, brushing it into the mattress fibers and then vacuuming it all out. Architectural Digest says the longer you leave baking soda on the mattress, the better—at least a few hours, but preferably overnight. Some people add a few drops of essential oil to the baking soda for some extra yummy smell.

If that all sounds like way too much work, maybe just start with the sheets. Pick a day of the week and make it your sheet washing day. You might find that climbing into a clean, fresh set of sheets more often is a nice way to feel pampered without a whole lot of effort.

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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is marked by communication and social difficulties, sensory processing issues, and inflexible patterns of behavior. Almost everything that researchers have learned about the disorder is based on data derived from studies of boys.

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The video began with a stitch from a designer passionately saying that one should “never’ display “personal photos” in the living room.

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Lacie (@lacie_kraatz) is one of those women. On April 11th, she was out on a run when she noticed a man in front of her displaying suspicious behavior. Things got especially dicey when the man somehow got behind her. That’s when she pulled out her phone and started filming—partially to prove that it wasn’t just her imagination, and also out of fear for her safety.

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