Ever wondered what the Hope Matrix is? It was developed to be a roadmap that, when combined with the Five Keys to SHINE for Hope, shows you how to move from hopelessness to hope. It clearly illustrates that there is always a way from the emotional despair and motivational helplessness of hopelessness to the positive feelings and inspired actions of hope.
This Hope Matrix is the fundamental inspiration for my hope-inspired podcast: The Hope Matrix. In it, we explore the Science, Stories, and Strategies of Hope through interviews with researchers, activists, experts, people with lived experience, and more.
In the pilot episode of the Hope Matrix, I spoke with Matthew W. Gallagher, Ph.D. about the importance of hope in the context of current events, and examined how an education in hope skills at an early age can positively influence future successes.
Did you know?
- Hope is a transdiagnostic for anxiety.
- Hope influences how long you live.
- Hope is teachable.
Check out the podcast and start learning about hope today. You’ll quickly see why hope is the single most important thing we can teach our children (and adults), and how to begin to activate it in your life and your community.
Check out the full episode today:
Here’s the transcript of the podcast:
Kathryn: [00:00:06] Hi, this is Kathryn Goetzke here today with our first ever episode of the Hope Matrix.
Question: [00:00:14] Kathryn, why does Hope matter so much in the grand scheme of life?
Kathryn: [00:00:18] Wow, that is a big question. So hope it actually has an impact on all kinds of life outcomes. But I first of all, want to tell you, hope is not a wish. So when you think about hope, you know, it’s not a hope to win the lottery. Hope is actually something pretty solid, something that’s been researched. There are measures that we have for hope. And your level of hope actually impacts things like how well you’ll do in school, your athletic performance. Believe it or not, it impacts how long you will live, how engaged you are at work, how productive you are at work, your likelihood of leaving your job. Hope is really it’s pretty integrated in all aspects of life. I got interested in the work of hope because I wanted to really figure out what is causing suicide. So I came at it initially from a very different perspective. The number one predictor of suicide is hopelessness, and hopelessness is both a feeling of despair and a sense of helplessness. So if we want to prevent suicide, we need to learn how to prevent hopelessness. So despair and helplessness. And that really led me to the field of hope and looking at hope and starting to understand what hope impacts. I found out it has such a bigger influence than I ever would have imagined. So it’s really been a journey on hope. But yeah, hope impacts everything.
Question: [00:01:43] How about can hope and the principles within the matrix help youth? Is it better to start younger than it is to when there reaches a crisis? And how much would that be helpful?
Kathryn: [00:01:56] Yeah, absolutely. So we teach hope before the age of ten. That’s my goal as one to teach it. I didn’t learn about hope until I was in my forties. It’s a lot harder to learn when you’re older. You become so ingrained in your ways. So we have found in our work around the world that kids that are under the age of ten really just embrace the concepts and it becomes a part of who they are and how they think. But again, you can learn hope at any age, and we have a curriculum actually that we created. So once you started to learn on the “What” of hope and “How” of hope, I thought, well, why are we teaching it? Hope is measurable, and if you can measure it, then you should be able to improve it. And so we created a program to do just that. It’s a free program. We started with ten lessons, we moved to 12. We are just launching an updated version with 16 lessons. You can get it free on our website, hopefulminds.org and you can also order it on Amazon, it is a big book though there’s a lot of work, but again, you could do in the workplace you can use it, you can use it in all kind of areas because we are really the first to operationalize hope. So how do we actually look at teaching and hope and increasing our levels of hope.
Question: [00:03:05] You said 40 years old is when you really discovered it really deep dwell into it. How about unlearning that sense of hopelessness?
Kathryn: [00:03:14] Yeah, unlearning hopelessness. That’s a great question because it does become so embedded and in for me in my way of thinking, I would feel myself going from I feel good about something to hopeless just in a second and how my mind kind of did that. And then I would ruminate on it and think about it and it would just take me into despair very quickly. So thinking about hope through a new lens, thinking about first, I always the number one thing I do is get to a positive state. So get to positive feelings. I go from my sense of despair. How can I feel better? What is one thing I can do right now? So I take that one action, whether it’s going out in nature or going for a hike, looking at my nutrition, sleeping better. I’m kind of all of these things that go into getting my mood into a more positive space. And I don’t act until I’m in a more positive space because if I’m acting from a state of despair, I usually make really negative, well, just bad decisions. The research shows that leads to addiction, violence, all kinds of negative behaviors when we do that, when we act from a state of despair. So first I get from despair to positive, a more positive space, and then I take actions, even if it’s just a tiny step. There’s a great video about someone making their bed in the morning and how just that one simple act can change the entire projection of your day because you’re starting with one small thing, and once you do that one small step, then you feel a little bit better and think, okay, I can do that. Maybe I can do one more thing. So, yeah, it’s really, it’s, it’s had a profound effect on my life once I reframed the thought of it in my mind.
Question: [00:05:00] How about the 90 second response for a listener gets a 90 second response before you experience any sort of taken action or reaction versus a response?
Kathryn: [00:05:13] Yeah. One of the most interesting things I’ve seen on research is this 90 second rule that our body has a 90 second physiological response when we are triggered by something. And so if someone annoys you or frustrates your does something that you feel sad about, our body goes through an actual kind of chemical process that we don’t necessarily have control over. But what we do have control over is not acting so not doing anything. So just learning that very simple technique for 90 seconds. Now, 90 seconds is a long time. I mean, if you’ve ever really sat through the 90 seconds and you think, gosh, this is what’s continuing to go through my body, but not acting in that first 90 seconds, if at all possible, I think is such a powerful and can have a really profound impact. Again, like addictions, if you are at all and have an addictive personality, if you can learn to breathe through those periods of distress and not pick up or not do something. I’ve been sober 16 years. So it’s you know, addiction has been a big part of my life in many different facets. Learning to take that initial 90 seconds can just change the future of if I have pick up. So it’s been really it’s been a really powerful technique for me. And to understand that there’s a biological process, it’s not just a decision. I mean, I have to just make the decision not to act. And that decision alone can have a really powerful impact on your life and anyone’s life. And it has on mine.
Question: [00:06:45] The emotional maturity is there a way, I would think that 90 seconds, when you’re able to make that habitual and that it’s a habit to, you know, whatever emotion, specifically a negative emotion, whether it’s sadness, particularly anger that once you’re able to get to that 90 seconds, that that will become a habit. Is that true or not?
Kathryn: [00:07:04] Yeah, I mean, I think so. I think the earlier you do it, the easier it is, because I think so much of it is happening unconsciously. I was in a product called LEAP, so it’s a wearable. It measures your heart rate variability. What happens when you get into the physiological response, your heart rate variability drops and a lot of times we’re just not even aware. We might read an email that might like upset us or annoy us, but we don’t even know. And so what leave does is it starts vibrating saying you’re upset. So but it doesn’t tell anyone, right? So, you know, but nobody else knows which is a nice thing. But you do you understand them? There is a physiological process going on in my body that I need to be aware of. So I don’t think it’s always conscious. We know it’s not always conscious. And so becoming conscious is one of the first steps to really helping and fixing it and becoming aware of it.
Question: [00:07:53] Can you develop a hope muscle? I mean, there might be a bit of a reach, but is there such thing or can you develop a muscle and strength for hope?
Kathryn: [00:08:02] Yeah. I mean, we that’s how we teach it occurs. It’s like working on your whole muscle. I mean, it’s exactly that you can become stronger and hope you can test better and hope I mean, we want kids to aspire to be the most hopeful they can possibly be. And this isn’t like a happy. We want them to feel all their emotions and that is a part of hope. It’s not just feeling good about everything. That’s not what hope is. It’s understanding how we feel, embracing our emotions, not acting out when we’re in a negative place, getting back to a positive place, and only then taking inspired action. So yeah, we really I mean, and you can work on that and you can practice it. And I practice all the time every day. I mean, it’s been a become an integral part of my life.
Question: [00:08:45] How about faith and how much do you feel faith has a part in in all of this?
Kathryn: [00:08:51] Yeah, that’s a great question. So and I have kind of a unique response. So I believe for me, faith is super important. There’s a lot of research around faith and how important faith is to hope. To me, it’s the characteristics of not feeling like we’re completely responsible for everything in the world, but that we’re connected to something bigger than ourselves, that we hold things sacred, that we see things with awe and wonder. I think that is such an important component of hope. I know a lot of people and this was a challenge when we were creating our curriculum because a lot of research does say that you’re you know, the more you have faith, the more hopeful you are. And many people have been abused by religions and it’s been used to oppress and incite fear. And that is not the kind of faith we kind of promote. So I think it’s really just important to know the research behind it and also know that if you don’t affiliate with religion specifically or faith or opposed, you know, any kind of faith, it doesn’t mean you can’t have hope. So if. Think it’s really to me, what’s important is that you feel connected to something greater than yourself, that you really can experience, wonder and awe and kind of the magicalness of the world and, and try to look at it more through the lens of that.
Question: [00:10:14] Yeah, but the noble purpose of hope for you? If you can bring out within you what the noble purpose of hope and everything and all your actions that you take to having people experience much more of it?
Kathryn: [00:10:32] Yeah. Well, I think I mean, for me it was such a challenge growing up, seeing my dad struggle so much. I lost my dad to suicide when I was 19 and not understanding what was happening with him when he would get angry and he had physiological responses and we didn’t know any of this. And the fact that we didn’t know this and we now do know this and we have this information and these insights available, I feel so passionate about getting it out to the world, teaching people how to do this for themselves, having them be able to take more kind of responsibility for accountability and how they feel knowing that they have more power. Yeah, just learning all we can. I saw my dad hopeless about, you know, several things in his life when he ended it, and it was tragic and devastating. And now looking back at it, I can very clearly see how hopelessness. How I could have supported him so much more by teaching him the skills around it and just educating him. And because he would have gotten that and if we had known the physiology of it back and when I lost him, he would have probably respected it a lot more as well. You know, it’s depression, anxiety, suicide. It’s not something that’s just we think up. It’s not just behavioral. There’s a behavioral and a biological component and they play off each other. Our behaviors impact our biology and our biology impacts our behaviors. And so getting really clear and kind of understanding that more deeply and more thoroughly and then teaching in a way that kind of empowers people, you know, if you don’t feel hopeless and if you can’t get out of despair, get to therapy, get to support if you need to take medications. And that is what a psychiatrist recommends, you know, work with your doctor to do that. I’m not you know, Hope isn’t proposing that this fixes all of mental health, but we do have a lot more power than we realize. And so that, you know, I’m super passionate about getting these tools into the hands of those that need it. And it really, again, affects all life outcomes. So it’s not just mental health, it’s how well you’re going to do in school, how successful you’re going to be in your business. I mean, we know entrepreneurs have a really hard time. We you we run of failure after failure. We are challenged again and again and again. And it’s our ability to stay hopeful despite everything else that, you know, we have up against us that’s going to dictate how well we do. So it’s yeah, it’s a really powerful tool.
Question: [00:13:07] Outstanding.
Kathryn: [00:13:09] Hi there. This is Kathryn Goetzke with the Hope Matrix. I am super excited to have you all here today and really thrilled about launching this first podcast. Super excited. My first guest, I’m really I have not sat down with him in a while, but I’ve read so much of his research, so it’s great to have him today. His name is Matthew Gallagher and he is with the University of Texas and he truly is a hope expert. He has been doing research in the field of hope and positive psychology for quite some time. So I’m really excited to talk to him today, learn more about his work, the research he’s been doing. How do you actually measure hope? Because, yes, hope is measurable and as we’re showing, it’s teachable. So really excited to have him here today. So Matt, in talking about the Children’s Hope Scale, we’ve used that pretty exclusively in Hopeful Minds in the work we’re doing around the world and the research with kids. I know you’re intimately involved with that skill. Can you talk a little bit more about what it’s measuring with kids?
Matthew: [00:14:10] Yeah, the Children’s Hope Scale, just like the Adult Hope Scale, has multiple items to tap into the two components of Hope, which is the pathways and the agency. And so Pathways is trying to have a sense of to what extent can individuals or children in this case think of ways to achieve their goals? And so we always face obstacles as trying to pursue different goals in our lives. And you think of different kinds of strategies to achieve those goals. That’s the Pathways component, and an agency is the more motivational component, and you have the energy and you have the drive to pursue those pathways to achieve those goals, even in the face of obstacles, if things are going well, poorly, and you still maintain that energy. And so we have multiple items, we can tap into both of those components to have a good sense of what the child’s overall level of hope is.
Kathryn: [00:15:01] Yeah, it’s absolutely brilliant. And it’s been a really great way for us to look at the mental health of kids around the world as we look at Hope. And you published a paper on Hope as a Trans Diagnostic for Anxiety. Can you talk a little bit more about what that means?
Matthew: [00:15:17] Yeah. And so there’s been a lot of interest historically about the role of hope in the context of psychotherapy as something that should provide resilience against the development of mental illness. And that’s something we’ve been finding pretty consistently in our recent work. And so a lot of what I do is focusing on hope in relation to anxiety and stress disorders. And in a recent study we looked at the role of hope, how it changed across the course of psychotherapy, the extent to which we could consistently promote increases in hope, and to what extent that related to changes in anxiety. And what we found was exactly what we hope to find is that it is in fact, possible to have large increases in hope over the course of psychotherapy. And this was across a number of different treatment options. But most importantly, the individuals who had higher increases in hope also had much greater reductions in anxiety across the course of treatment. And so hope is not only something that we can impact during therapy, but it seems to be at least one helpful mechanism to explain why individuals might get better over the course of therapy.
Kathryn: [00:16:21] Yeah, that’s wonderful. And that’s I mean, one of the first things we do in Hopeful Minds is teach kids about stress and stress mitigation, how to reduce their stress. So that really makes sense. I mean, when you’re not regularly managing your stress, that leads to anxiety. It’s a powerful way to kind of look at youth mental health, I think. So I’m really excited about the research that you’re doing in that space. Can you talk about outcomes, as are a lot of people ask, you know, why teach hope? Like what is it, you know, how is it going to help them in school? And so and I know that you’ve done a lot of work in that that hope isn’t just anxiety, but it impacts a lot of different aspects of life. Can you speak to that at all?
Matthew: [00:17:03] Absolutely. What we find is across many different life domains, hope is a pretty strong predictor of individuals doing better. And so we’ve looked at some context of mental health. We looked at this in the context of academic outcomes, whether the younger kids, high school, college or across a wide variety of age ranges, individuals or kids who are higher and hope do better in school. And we’ve looked at that in the context of the workplace, in terms of what employees are more effective and productive. The whether it’s mental health, the workplace, school across most contexts we find individuals that are higher in hope seem to do better. And it’s not just the case that because individuals are having success, that they’re then more hopeful. Hope also predicts future outcomes above and beyond kind of past outcomes. And we find that there’s mechanisms that we can understand that help us to know why that is. And so the ability to cope with stress, as we were just talking about, the ability to persevere in the face of obstacles, these are some of the reasons that we find that across many different life domains, hope is not just associated with success. It tends to predict and promote future success.
Kathryn: [00:18:14] Yeah, that’s really powerful. And one thing I’ve seen in the workplace is your level of hope actually predicts how engaged you are, how productive you are at work, your likelihood of turnover, kind of all kinds of things that costs employers money. And so it seems to me that investing in teaching hope in the workplace is a really powerful thing to do and and especially important from an investment standpoint.
Matthew: [00:18:39] Absolutely. In both the workplace and school contexts, we do find that hope promotes retention. The looking at how hopeful students are in the first year of college, we found that predicts a pretty strong relationship, whether they’re still enrolled in the second year of school, which is a huge problem in the university setting as people start, but then they drop out after the first or second semester. And so Hope predicts whether you stay enrolled and also whether you’ve graduated in four years. And so it has it’s not just something that sounds good. It has a powerful impact on real world meaningful outcomes.
Kathryn: [00:19:13] Yeah, that’s great. One thing we’ve done recently with Hopeful Minds is we looked at the CDC has National Health Education Standards that are tested on at the second grade, fifth grade, eighth grade and 12th grade. And the program that we have actually teaches a lot of these standards, which I find really encouraging a lot of the mental health programs focus on social, emotional learning. And so using hope and teaching hope as a skill actually improves test scores. And so that is another kind of really unique aspect, I think, of hope as it relates overall to mental health.
Matthew: [00:19:49] Yeah. It’s something that anyone can be taught. And I think there’s some individual differences. Some people might start higher or lower and hope, but because it is this cognitive creative strategy, it’s something we find like we can promote this in anyone that we work with. And so it doesn’t have to be just a luxury of the rich or the privileged. It can be a useful tool for motor resilience for anyone.
Kathryn: [00:20:12] Yeah, that’s wonderful. And one of the another study I saw said that Hope predicted your future level of anxiety and depression. But your anxiety and depression does not predict your future level of hope, which I think is a really important point, especially for those experiencing depression or anxiety or with living with lived experience. Just because you’re in an anxious state or depressed state doesn’t mean that’s your future. Hope is a known protective factor for anxiety and depression. And if you practice these skills for hope, you can actually work to kind of protect yourself in the future for episodes. So that was another study I found really interesting around the space.
Matthew: [00:20:53] Yeah, absolutely. A lot of the coping strategies that are motivated by having higher levels of hope are really effective in terms of challenging levels of anxiety, depression, and everyone experiences sadness, anxiety, stress. Sometimes it’s how you’re responding to that that’s most important. And so being able to engage in cognitive reappraisal, not engaging in emotional avoidance, these strategies that we know from clinical psychology are more effective, help promote these things. That’s something we find consistently across a lot of studies.
Kathryn: [00:21:26] Yeah, that’s great. And when you say non emotional avoidance, I mean that’s kind of one of the first things we teach our kids are all, all emotions are here to serve us and we need to experience them. You know, we teach kids, little boys not to cry or don’t feel sad, but that’s really a disservice to them. Would you agree?
Matthew: [00:21:44] Absolutely. And having more adaptive emotion, regulation skills, whether it’s simply understanding what the different emotions are that you are experiencing, how to communicate them, how to accept them. They might be uncomfortable or unpleasant at times, but they serve a useful purpose. And so we need to know how to engage effectively with our emotions. And that’s a massive factor in terms of well-being.
Kathryn: [00:22:06] Yeah, absolutely. And I think actually when we feel things so profoundly and deeply that can actually lead us to our purpose, which is another thing we teach our kids. You know, if you’re feeling something really strongly, that might be something you care a lot about, something you may want to kind of explore emotionally. And it may be why you’re here and in your mission in life. I think, you know, when we look at the other that the flipside of this, which is hopelessness, I mean, a lot of people are feeling very hopeless right now about a lot of different things. Do you have any kind of comments on what’s happening in our current environment?
Matthew: [00:22:42] Yeah. There’s a lot of pretty intense and chronic stressors that people are dealing with, with everything associated with the pandemic, with all the political strife and all the discrimination issues along those lines. There’s a lot of very significant and serious stressors, and I think some of those things are not things that hope can magically go away, but they’re things that if we do have to face some of these things like the COVID pandemic, they might help us kind of best cope with it. And that’s something that we have a study that we just kind of submit for publication, looking at the role of hope in predicting anxiety and COVID related stress, in particular, finding that it does predict stress a month later. And part of it is because it helps people have a better sense of perceived emotional control. So finding that with individuals, if you can maintain this more positive cognitive orientation, the higher hope it doesn’t make it so you don’t have stress, but it can help you to cope with that more effectively. To do the best that you can to get by.
Kathryn: [00:23:44] Yeah, absolutely. I know personally. I mean, I’m feeling a lot my emotions a lot more intensely right now. And in the past, I used to turn to addictions to kind of run from them because I didn’t like feeling those negative emotions. And I think that’s getting trigger. There’s so much change. There are so many things happening, I think, you know, which is why we’re seeing addictions increasing and those kinds of things. And yet I think it’s right now that we have to kind of double down on our workers and hope we need to feel all of those emotions not run from them, listen to what they’re telling us. And only then, when we’re in a better spot, take action.
Matthew: [00:24:22] Yeah. Substance use is something that is unfortunately increasing in kind of the past six months or so with the pandemic, that just the chronic stressors that people are facing, it’s a way to try and suppress and avoid those emotional experiences. And it is short term reinforcing because kind of in the immediate it seems like it works, but it does kind of get you stuck long term in that trap. And so trying to use more adaptive coping skills is definitely something that’s not easy, but it’s definitely, in the long run, the most effective.
Kathryn: [00:24:51] Yeah, absolutely. And when we talk about the racial discrimination, hopelessness is a known consequence of racial discrimination. And it makes sense. I mean, hopelessness is a feeling of despair and it’s a sense of helplessness. So when you’re discriminated against and oppressed, you feel horrible and you don’t feel that you can do anything about it. And we also know hopelessness leads to things like violence, addiction, all of these kind of negative, I would say, coping mechanisms. And so, again, it’s really important that we take care of ourselves during this time. We know hopelessness is the feeling we have, but then we work on the skills to get ourselves out of that hopeless place, into a more powerful place. You know, control the controllables we teach our kids. What can we control in this and what can’t we control? And, you know, another really key thing we’re teaching our kids is the 90 second rule in that we have a 90 second physiological response when we’re triggered by something emotionally. And and if we act out when we’re in that emotional state, it usually doesn’t lead to anything really positive. So to teach them how to just kind of hold on now, do you have any thoughts on that or any research related to that?
Matthew: [00:26:05] Yeah. There is something that we’re finding in terms of the discrimination disparities. It is the case that it’s more difficult for some people to maintain hope than others, because with the disparities, there are different kind of pathways and strategies available for people with more or less privilege. And so I think it’s something that we have to be aware of when cutting back in the research. There’s not always a level playing field. What we do tend to find is that even given that hope is still helpful for people of a wide variety of backgrounds, and so it can be a source of resilience. I think individuals from more discriminated against backgrounds displaying hope is many ways kind of an even stronger sign of their resilience to be able to persevere despite all the extra obstacles that many people don’t have to face. And so it’s definitely a challenge, but being able to still maintain that and apply those skills is very effective though challenging.
Kathryn: [00:26:59] Yeah. And in our new we just updated our hopeful minds curriculum. I’m super excited about it. And in that curriculum we take stories of people like Magic Johnson and Oprah and we talk about the challenges they had growing up and oppression and kind of how they have used hope skills to overcome that. I think we learn from other people and it’s really important to kind of highlight that. Yeah, interesting. So how did you even get involved in Hope? It’s fascinating.
Matthew: [00:27:29] So I went to the University of Kansas for graduate school, and that’s where Rick Snyder and Shane Lopez both were for many years. So I went to CU to work with Rick actually, and had the privilege of working with him for a little while before he unfortunately passed away and then started working with Shane as well. And so I was able to collaborate with them on Hope Research, and then I’ve kept that going for about 15 years or so and to be very interested in the study of hope. And I’m trained as a clinical psychologist. And so a lot of what I do is looking at hope in relation to mental health and continue to keep finding that whether it’s Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder, Somatic Stress Disorder across many different contexts, hope does seem to be a source of resilience.
Kathryn: [00:28:12] Yeah, absolutely. That’s great. I talked to Shane when I first started this program. I talked to him quite a bit about Hopeful Minds, the program that we have, it’s free for kids around the world. He inspired a lot of the work and again, of course CR Snyder as well. I mean, some different some other hope theorists, but it’s been a really interesting journey. So it’s pretty neat that you got to work with them. They’re really the pioneers in the movement and that you’re kind of carrying the torch forward for them. It’s a really, really important area of study, and I’ve been in the global mental health space for quite some time, and they’re having a hard time understanding really how hope relates to mental health. And and, you know, people perceive hope to be a very fluffy kind of a concept, a wish kind of hope for this. Right. And I think you’re really doing a great job of dispelling that, but that is not what hope is.
Matthew: [00:29:03] Yeah, that’s the biggest misconception, that hope is kind of a passive emotional experience. They just say like, Well, I hope for the best. And that means you just sit back and kind of wait for good things to happen. And that’s not what we find at all. When we’re actually studying hope. It’s very much an active kind of trait that reflects and promotes perseverance. And so you’re thinking about how can you pursue your goals when you face obstacles? You don’t just give up. You think about, okay, what are alternative strategies? How can I keep moving forward? And so it’s a very proactive and effective tool for kind of promoting different outcomes.
Kathryn: [00:29:38] Yeah, I love that. And that’s how I came up with the Hope Matrix and kind of the I’m not sure if I was showing you the artwork yet, but it’s the despair is on one side and then positive feelings on the other. So we really talked to kids about how to get from despair to positive feelings. And then on the other end of that is helplessness, which is the second aspect of hopelessness. So going from helplessness to inspire to action to really creating the life that you want and that you’re excited about and you’re engaged in. And those are really the two keys to hope. And it reframed for me for sure, the way I looked at hope. I got into this looking to rebrand depression and mental health 15 years ago, and now I’m really excited about rebranding Hope because I think that’s what we need to be focusing on.
Matthew: [00:30:21] And I think just giving people the idea that it’s possible, even when things might be difficult, even when they’re struggling, you can still try and find, maintain and promote hope. It’s not just something where it’s only a luxury. When things are going great, it can be something even when you’re really struggling with all this disaster’s going on with COVID, all the political issues that are happening right now, it can still be a useful resource. It’s not just a fluffy kind of concept. As you said, it’s only useful in busy times.
Kathryn: [00:30:52] Yeah, absolutely. And when I look at the challenges of my life now, I’ve had a previous suicide attempt and hopelessness is predictive of suicide. I always think about, you know, what do I feel hopeless about? And then I chunk it down into the specific, okay, how can I take a small action? How can I first feel the emotion related to that? And then how can I get to inspired action? And that’s really helped me. And I think your work has informed so much of that. So I really want to thank you so much for what you’ve contributed to the field. I wonder, do you have any final thoughts for our guests or those listening in that want to learn more about hope or, you know, we’ll put links to your work if they want to get engaged in your work or what you’re doing.
Matthew: [00:31:34] Yeah, I think it just we really have a lot of powerful research these days and I think it’s myself and many others now around the world who have been studying hope for many people 20 or 30 years, finding that across many different contexts and different outcomes. It’s not only something that we can reliably and effectively promote, but it does lead to many positive outcomes. So whether it’s Rhett’s risk for suicide, depression, academic outcomes in youth, it’s not that. It’s something that magically fixes everything. It’s something that requires work. It’s a very active kind of trade and coping skill. But to the extent that we can kind of keep promoting hope and individuals worldwide, that’s something that’s really important. And I think that’s what some of the research that my lab and others are doing now is really trying to add to the diversity of research and moving it beyond kind of more traditional populations that we study in psychology research to make sure that we best understand how to assess and promote help individuals of all backgrounds. So I think that’s something that my group is really excited about doing, but there’s a lot of really interesting work going on studying hope around the world.
Kathryn: [00:32:37] Wonderful. Well, thank you so much for taking the time and sharing with us the research around it, educating us more on hope, what it is. And yeah, you’ve inspired me so much. You’ve given me a new lens through which to look at my life. So I really I really appreciate that and, and hope we can get all the little one in the background love. But that’s great. Yeah. So thank you so much for joining us today and we’ll be sure to put links to your work and thanks for listening all you listeners to The Hope Matrix. Excited to have you all here.
Matthew: [00:33:12] Thanks so much for having me.
About Matthew W. Gallagher, Ph.D.
Matthew W. Gallagher, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at the Texas Institute of Measurement, Evaluation, and Statistics at the University of Houston. He has studied the impact of hope on all life outcomes, and is currently researching how to assess and promote hope across individuals of all backgrounds.