Making a Hope Sandwich

It’s a weird title, I know, but Martinsburg is hungry for change. The “Hope Sandwich” is an exercise that may be able to feed that hunger. We all deal with personal daily challenges. Stressors surrounding family, friends and work can be overwhelming. The news and media are   full of negativity, so how do we build positivity in ourselves and the community?  I learned about this exercise from Renee Verbanic, MSW. She is a social worker with Region 4 Project S.U.C.C.E.S.S., an initiative around preventing substance abuse in West Virginia.

A Hope Sandwich is an exercise where you “sandwich” a negative thought, concern or worry between two positive thoughts or ideas, often with the last positive statement serving as a   solution or affirmation.

It may feel great to vent negative emotions such as anger and frustration; however, this practice can easily become a habit. While it’s healthy to release these negative feelings, venting only provides a short term solution for the issue. Continuously focusing on your negative feelings may lead to isolation and resentment.

As great as it may feel to vent, it’s healthier to share positive emotions such as love, appreciation, and happiness. Shifting perspective to see the positive, even when surrounded by the negative, is a healthy and long term solution. As we continue to build up the people and places around us, we surround ourselves with a positive environment.

Practicing the “Hope Sandwich” is a simple way to break the cycle of chronic negativity through balance and perspective.

What are some examples of a Hope Sandwich?

  • I really enjoy the architecture of the older buildings in Martinsburg.
  • I am worried about the architecture getting destroyed by neglect.
  • I can join community members and organizations working to improve the look and feel of our downtown.
  • We have great people in our community.
  • I am worried about the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
  • If we educate our community and give them resources/outlets, people can make healthy decisions for themselves.
  • We all have something to contribute.
  • People are negative and not supportive of others interests.
  • I want to support and advocated for my passions and the interests of others in the community.

What Hope Sandwiches can we make in our lives? Share some of your ideas in the comments.

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