Learn the difference between hope and optimism and how the two support a healthy mind and body.

We've helped tens of thousands of people move toward a greater sense of fulfillment and well-being. 

We ask you to consider joining our family of dedicated donors.

Donate today!

What are hope and optimism?

We’ve established that hope and optimism are different things - but where do their differences lie? Hope is the process of setting goals and following through on them, while optimism is a positive thought pattern. Read below for some more information on how they differ.


Hope helps people better cope with difficult or stressful times and adapt better to serious illness. People with hope don’t just wish for something good to happen - they have a concrete plan to make it happen. Hope has three components:
  • Willpower - The ability to set goals
  • Waypower - Finding ways to meet those goals
  • Follow-through - The flexibility and know-how to see the goals through


Having optimism is often thought to mean being naive about life, expecting a perfect outcome in every situation. Actually, optimism is simply a way of thinking about life, which includes the following beliefs:
  • Things will work out reasonably well
  • Even during troubles, life is still good
  • There is almost always a way to get the job done
  • Life can be improved through effort
Although hope and optimism are two completely separate things, one isn’t nearly as beneficial without the other. Someone who is optimistic but without hope could think everything is going to turn out great but have no plan to make it happen, or a pessimist could have a plan but no belief in their ability to see it through. Make sure to maintain a combination of hope and optimism to support a healthy mind and body.

Learn more - why you need hope and optimism

Resilience Toolbox

Carol Hester

An Oasis for the Soul

"Turning Point is free and it's priceless. If I have a freaky moment, I know I have the skills to stop and get my thoughts back on track. My life is so much more enjoyable. How do you attach a value to that?"