Your brain on hope ⛅️
It's not some fluffy emotion - it's an essential part of your creative brain
DD HQ here. Serious q - when was the last time you felt hopeful?
We know, we know. Seeing the word ‘hopeful’ might make you cringe, but hear us out: Our ability to hope for a better future is a core element of activating our creative brains.
Before the idea of being ‘hopeful’ got co-opted by butterflies and positivity, it was a hardcore, forward-thinking emotion. From a scientific point of view, hope strengthens our innate ability to imagine a future that doesn’t exist…for the better. And then, it allows us to tap into our problem-solving, creative brains in order to make that better future a reality.
Ready to nerd out for a second?
Let’s look at the power of hope from a neuroscience perspective. In the simplest terms, our prefrontal cortex - the part of our brain responsible for complex behaviors and cognition - has a decision to make when it’s confronted with a tough situation.
When everything around us seems dire, we can do one of two things: turn to hopefulness or hopelessness.
Here’s the difference: when we feel hopeless, we think that there isn’t any way to change a future outcome. This lack of control about the future activates another part of the brain that’s responsible for panic, fear and fight or flight.
But, when we feel hopeful - or can imagine that a better future can exist regardless of what’s showing up right now - the brain literally turns off those ingrained pathways. Basically, it stops fear in its tracks.
This, in scientific research, is dubbed ‘The Hope Circuit’ - and has the power to change everything:
Imagination, openness and hope - all the natural, innate capabilities we love here at DD HQ - give us ‘psychological capital,’ or as we say at Daydreamers, insurance against future not-so-great times. Studies have shown that hopeful people are healthier, happier and have better emotional regulation.
Even more, being hopeful isn’t just something that makes you feel good - it actually leads to change. Hope basically amps up your motivation and clarity towards reaching goals, and let’s your prefrontal cortex do it’s thing: achieve the stuff you set your mind to. Research has connected hopefulness and better life outcomes - like doing better in your career or relationships.
On the other hand, hopelessness keeps us stuck.
If you don’t consider yourself a hopeful person, don’t worry (we feel that). The coolest part, to us, is that we’re not born with a set amount of hope. We can strengthen this capability over time by cultivating ‘plasticity proteins.’
And, guess where plasticity proteins come from? Habits that help us become more open, like creative flow.
Hope is a hardcore, powerful, strong part of our human superpowers. It’s literally creativity-in-action. And, especially right now now - we can think of it as that one, bright street lamp in the dark.
At DD HQ, we love the way Rebecca Traister, writer + editor at The Cut, described hope last week (in a not-so-scientific way): “…[hope] is not a feel-good anesthetic but a tactical necessity.”
If you’re ready to squint at the light, we’re with you. No matter what, your creative brain is calling 🧠
Katina + Dupi
and the entire team @ DD HQ
An idea to noodle on 💭
Cultivating hope is core to making change
THINK ON THIS: Hope requires you to activate your imagination. At its core, hope is a forward-looking emotion - meaning that regardless of what your current situation is, your brain is able to create a future state that looks different. Good ol’ Einstein once said: “In moments of crisis, imagination is more important than knowledge.”
…MAYBE NOT THAT: Unlike we’ve been told, being hopeful isn’t just another dose of toxic positivity. At face-value it might sound like escapism, but in reality, it’s a coping mechanism and problem-solving strategy that helps you create multiple pathways to change.
Inside our brains at DD HQ 🧠
Health misinformation on the Internet is a dangerous thing - here’s how some experts are stopping it. Speaking of nerding out - new research shows that creative thinking requires us to use two different memory processes. A fascinating perspective on using humor and comedy as a way to cope. Pink noise, brown noise - sounds can impact your memory. We kind of lol’d at this: Banksy is an ‘honorary’ professor (though he’ll never show up IRL).
Ideas from the DD Crew 🛸
Calling All Creators: We’re hiring a design intern! Help us bring the Daydreamers brand to life + how we show up on the Internet.
Interested? Check out our Notion page to see what we’re looking for 🪐