Hopebeat Weekly: November 21, 2023

Psychosomatic Social Contagion in Youth

Psychosomatic Social Contagion in Youth? Yes, it’s a thing. Basically, when our kids see diseases on social media or online, they identify with that illness. They self-diagnose. It is happening at unprecedented rates.

And there is no doubt, our youth are in crisis. 57% of teen girls in the US alone identify with persistent hopelessness. Yet how and why is this happening?

Mad in America just published a fascinating article exploring it, and CNN had a recent story as well. Youth think sadness is depression, fear is anxiety, not to mention the myriad of serious psychological disorders they think they have to fit in.

And what we know about hopelessness is it is learned. So what are we teaching our children? Our charge to you is this: We must make a Social Contagion of HOPE.

As hopelessness is learned, so is hope. And we must get to work teaching it. On social media, in classrooms, in public, in libraries, in youth centers, in after-school programs. Anywhere where kids learn, we must teach the ‘how’ to hope.

Here are some things we teach in Hopeful Minds:

  • The Nocebo effect: If you are told you are going to have a negative side effect by taking a pill, and you take a fake pill, you are 50% more likely to have that negative side effect.
  • The power of belief: what you believe, you become.
  • The stress response: We have a 90 second physiological response to triggers. Any decision you make in that 90 second window is likely to be a bad one.
  • That hopelessness is learned.
  • That hope is measurable, and like a muscle, they have to strengthen it. And practice, practice, practice!
  • That hope changes, and during times of challenges, we must practice our SHINE skills more.

We are creating a world of sick children. It is really time we teach them the other side. As my iFred Board President Tom Dean says, the ‘Hopeful Side’.

Hope is measurable and teachable. And unless we start making a serious investment into teaching kids how to hope, we are going to see the problems get worse.

We can’t control a lot of what they see on social media. What we CAN control is what they learn. It is our moral responsibility to teach them how to hope.

Again, I am inviting you to check out and share our resources for youth. Reach out to us at activate@theshinehopecompany.com if you want to help get youth programs in schools, or support our nonprofit iFred who gets these programs to schools at no cost.

Thank you so much for helping us ensure all youth know ‘how’ to hope.


Keep Shining Hope,



Measure Your Hope

Most people don’t realize there is a Science of Hope. That you can actually measure it. And through our work, we have shown you can teach it. The first step in understanding your hope, is seeing how hopeful you are. And no matter what your score, don’t forget. Hope is a journey. As you move forward in life, your hope levels will rise and fall. That’s okay. If you practice your hope skills regularly, no matter how hopeless life seems in the low moments, you will always have a map to find your way back to hope. Check out our free validated hope scale.

Hopeful Minds Deep Dive Educator Guide

The Hopeful Minds Deep Dive Educator Guide is a scripted curriculum designed for educators (or anyone working with children) to give children a deeper understanding of the core components of hope. The curriculum includes 16, 45-minute lessons that explore the tools needed to create, maintain, and grow hope, background information for educators, supplemental resources, classroom visuals, and a Hopework Book for students. Get your copy here.

Wellness Kids Summit

Join our Chief Hope Officer, Kathryn Goetzke, and 43 World Renowned Parenting & Children’s Health Experts at the Wellness Kids Summit! Learn the secrets to raising healthy, resilient, and happy kids who truly thrive. Kathryn will be sharing on Day 5 about the importance of hope and how you can teach it to your kids. Registrations are now open for this no cost online event, which starts December 4th to 8th, 2023. Claim your free ticket here.

Activate Hope in Your Community by Purchasing Moment of Hope Cards

Share the gift of hope with our Moments of Hope Cards. These pocket-sized educational cards feature inspiring hope quotes on one side and tips on how to Shine Hope on the other. Give to friends, family members, at work, and in the community. Turn your next moment with another into a Moment of Hope. Get your copies now.

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