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The Zone, Vol 8: Moving Forward through Hope

Posted by Erin Pietrak | Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Hope. We may hope that life goes back to the familiar. Or hope for a new way of being in the world. One thing is certain—life as we know it is changing.

In Volume 8 of this guest series, Psychotherapist, Dr. Francis L. Battisti, and Nutritionist, Dr. Helen Battisti guide us in moving forward through hope, despair and uncertainty.

For over 10 years, they have worked closely with us on aging concerns and have presented many webinars and in-person workshops.Their newsletter, The Zone, is a weekly mental health and nutrition tip sheet during times of change.


Hope is an emotion based in discovery and exploration of loss. Hope and despair are on a continuum and on opposite sides of the same coin. As the world and the United States continues re-opening, many of us can experience both hope and despair. Hoping that things are the way they were may be replaced by a different hope - a search for new ways of doing things, new processes, or new traditions. Despair can be rooted in the belief that everything needs to remain the same, and if not, we may lack the necessary insights that are needed to move forward. With all the potential changes that are being recommended, it may seem so chaotic that we’re not able to make sense of it all. Yet, by stepping back, observing, reflecting, and maintaining openness, we can begin to see a familiar pattern evolving. Familiar in the sense that we have succeeded in past chaotic environments and have a storehouse of strengths that we can tap into, and new ones to be developed.

Key Takeaways

  • Hope can result from searching for new ways of doing things. 
  • Despair can result from not believing that one can survive in a different environment. 
  • Hope and despair are the opposite sides of the same coin. 
  • The chaos of the moment can offer important insights.

Best Practices

  • Communicate your hopes, fears, and expectations to trusted others. 
  • Explore new ways to nourish the mind-body-soul connection by exploring new recipes with traditional ingredients, e.g. take a walk in a new location, listen to a new inspirational presenter, prepare a meal with a favorite spice in a new recipe. 
  • Be observant and be willing to change those traditions/practices that are no longer adequate during this time.

Things to Limit

  • Thinking that yesterday’s solutions are the answer to today’s challenges. 
  •  Waiting for everything to go back to normal. 
  •  Excesses such as: drinking, gambling, junk food, screen time. 

As we all strive to be safe and secure for ourselves and others, we need to realize that there are many roads that can be traveled. Listening, thinking, and deciding may take time and, in the long run, is well worth the effort. Hope can offer the light that illuminates the darkness.


Quote of the Week

“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore” - William Faulkner


About Our Guest Bloggers

The paraDocs are Dr. Francis L. Battisti, PhD, Psychotherapist, Distinguished Psychology Professor and former Executive V.P. and Chief Academic Officer and, Dr. Helen E. Battisti, PhD, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist.

We have developed The ZONE, because that is exactly where you want to be during this pandemic. A place of focused attention to doing exactly what needs to be done to get you to where you need to be. The purpose of The Zone is to provide a weekly mental-health and nutrition tip-sheet during times of change.


If you would like to subscribe to The Zone, please email info@avilainstitute.org and we will get you on the mailing list.