Severe illness and a string of bad luck can weigh heavily on us, and in such situations, it’s rarely obvious how we’re supposed to find our way out of the deep, dark hole and back to joy again.

Illness and harrowing events can put people’s bodies into a physical state of stress, say experts.

But confidence – and the hope that comes with it – can present a way out of this state.

“Hope and confidence can have an enormous effect,” says Doris Wolf, a psychotherapist based in Germany.

“They positively influence our feelings, our body and our behaviour.”

That’s because our mood and motivation are lifted by hope and confidence, thanks to an image in our minds as to how life could be when things improve, says Karsten Noack, a psychology expert who coaches people in public speaking and presentation.

Sometimes, people stand in the way of their own progress, he says.

How we feel is up to us, however, he emphasises.

“We ourselves dictate how we feel.”

Sometimes, people need to step beyond seeing themselves as victims and become active by adopting measures to change things.

You can give yourself the confidence to find a solution by taking action.

One way to do that is to remember situations when things looked bad, but ended well, either for you or for others.

You can also build courage by looking at your own strengths and the options you have.

“You realise what you have already overcome,” says Wolf.

Recall also that there are reasons to keep fighting, whether it is for your children, your partner or other people around you.

You can learn how to be hopeful and confident – although sometimes, a therapist or coach can be useful to get you out of a dip or to help prepare you for difficulties.

They can teach you visualisation techniques, for example, and help you take a critical approach to some of your own patterns of thinking.

Sometimes, it can be enough to take the slightest probability as a reason to believe things will get better, or to focus on the options for action you have, says Wolf.

Joining forces with other people can also be a source of strength and power.

You can inspire more confidence in yourself by setting small goals that you can achieve and then savouring that success.

That might help you see something positive about your situation.

Wolf adds that sometimes, the impossible might just happen – or at least, the highly improbable.

She points to cases where someone who is terminally ill, for example, has wanted so badly to witness their child’s wedding that they have actually survived in order to experience the event. – dpa

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