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Grass and Flowers

The Biology of Hope

Norman Cousins was the pioneer of the biology of hope.  In fact, one of his most well-known beliefs was that “the capacity for hope is the most significant fact of life. It provides human beings with a sense of destination and the energy to get started.”

For those of you who do not know who Norman Cousins was, he was a professor at UCLA who wrote such works as “Anatomy of an Illness” and “Head First: The Biology of Hope and the Healing Power of the Human Spirit”. 

He would have been the type of person who would see the hopefulness of a barren landscape and its ability to grow beautiful flowers.  He would have preached that positivity, which is on the opposite end of the spectrum to fear and anxiety, can improve healing at a physiogical level and, at the same time, create a positive spirit of hope and success.  Norman Cousins believed that the ``mind creates the ambience of treatment. The head comes first.''

I’m sure Norman was also a realist.  It is real and expected that you will have down moments where you may not see improvements from one day to the next.  There may be times when you are so exhausted and in so much pain that you need to decide whether getting up to eat is even worth it. But you have to fight against the desire to feel sorry for yourself.  You have to embrace the down time to read a good book or catch up on your Netflix series. You have to take this time to heal and know that you will gain your strength and recover.   Please look at the flowers on this page for a minute or so, close your eyes and visualize their hope so that you can trigger that sense of hopefulness when you are feeling down.  Remember always that your “head needs to come first” in this recovery (Cousins).  It can be a long recovery, but it also may give you some gifts that you were not expecting.  You may become more able to live in the moment, more empathetic and more patient with yourself and others.  So here’s to being a flower growing against many odds.

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