By: Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFT
“Hope literally opens us up. It removes the blinders of fear and despair and allows us to see the big picture. We become creative, unleashing our dreams for the future. This is because deep within the core of hope is the belief that things can change. No matter how awful or uncertain they are at the moment, things can turn out for the better. Possibilities exist. Belief in this better future sustains us. It keeps us from collapsing in despair. It infuses our bodies with the healing rhythms of positivity. It motivates us to tap into our signature capabilities and inventiveness to turn things around. It inspires us to build a better future.” –Barbara Fredrickson
The above quote from Dr. Fredrickson, a social psychologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, describes just how significant a role ‘hope’ can play in our lives. Taking to heart the importance of this emotion, the National Center for Telehealth and Technology has thoughtfully and cleverly created an app called Virtual Hope Box.
This app has done a wonderful job at providing a tool that both clients and their mental health providers can use together in order to create and foster healthy coping and emotional regulation skills. The creators of this app encourage the mental health providers to offer some initial guidance for the app to the client and assist in its personalization. The client can then be encouraged to add content and use this app as they find helpful.
The app has several innovative options including ‘Distract Me’, ‘Inspire Me’, ‘Relax Me’, and ‘Coping Tools’:
Distract Me: This option offers four different games the user can select to play, including a photo puzzle section where the user can use a favorite photo from their device to create the puzzle. The other game options are Sudoku, Word Search, and Mahjong Solitaire.
Inspire Me: This option offers an assortment of inspirational quotes from people like Mohandas Gandhi, Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, and others.
Relax Me: This option offers interactive activities aimed at relaxation including controlled breathing, muscle relaxation, and guided meditation (at the beach, in the forest, or on a country road).
Coping Tools: This option offers both coping cards and an activity planner. The coping cards option allows you to tailor and completely personalize your problem areas, your personal emotional and physical symptoms associated with these areas, and helpful coping skills. The activity planner allows you to create a visual schedule to assist you with your planning.
As the National Center for Telehealth & Technology states, this app was designed ‘to help patients decrease their experience of distress by encouraging and facilitating healthy coping and emotional regulation skills.’ This app was so appropriately named Virtual Hope Box by its creators to elicit exactly what Dr. Fredrickson described in the quote at the beginning of this blog.
Fredrickson, B.L. (2009, March 23). Why Choose Hope? The choice of hope over fear is vital [Blog Post]. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/positivity/200903/why-choose-hope
This post was written by Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFT, the Social Media and Programming Coordination Specialist for the MFLN Family Development Team. The MFLN Family Development team aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network Family Development team on our website, Facebook, and Twitter.