Professor finds having hope can help combat anxiety
Research from a UH professor of clinical psychology has found that hope in a student’s life can help with daily anxiety.
Matthew Gallagher began his studies in Boston with a few other colleagues nine years ago as a large clinical trial for examining different treatments options for anxiety disorders. Gallagher included hope as a potential tool of change based on his and his colleagues’ previous work.
“Everybody copes with anxiety to some extent on a regular basis,” Gallagher said. “Our findings speak to the importance of maintaining hope or positive expectations about your ability to pursue and achieve goals as one factor that can help in managing anxiety.”
For students with anxiety, having academic hope not just for the semester but for their future profession could give someone the motivation to work past it.
Hope in students promotes more than the ability to do well in class, being successful and helping with anxiety. Hope could further enhance mental health from anxiety disorders, Gallagher said.
“My research lab has multiple ongoing projects examining when and how hope may promote positive mental health or resilience to or recovery from anxiety and stress disorder,” Gallagher said.
Hope is similar to other positive psychology constructs like self-efficacy and optimism, according to a news release.
The study helps to understand how people with anxiety can recover during treatment by keeping a positive outlook.
Some students agreed that having hope improved their academic lives.
“I think hope goes hand in hand with having a positive mind set, and students should take things day by day and not stress over the little things,” said kinesiology senior Britani Kirkpatrick.
Others felt social connections kept them feeling positive.
“I find meeting up with friends and doing study group helps because we’re all in it together and it’s a refresher and being productive at the same time,” said biology junior Arlette Chavez.
As Gallagher continues his research with anxiety, he still plans on using hope as a resource in anxiety treatment and believes there is still more to learn.
“We expect to continue to find that hope plays an important role in promoting resilience and well-being,” Gallagher said.