Independent and FREE - 2021 Best Online Publication

The one thing that can give us the power to overcome

Independent and FREE – 2021 Best Online Publication (Qld Country Press)

The one thing that can give us the power to overcome


Jane Stephens: the one thing that can give us the power to thrive as a new year beckons

Do you have a news tip? Click here to send to our news team.

Distillery hits sweet spot with Brazilian sugar cane spirit

A Coast distillery's juice-based spirit, produced from local sugar cane, has hit the sweet spot with Australia's Brazilians and will soon be exported to More

Why you need to support our small-town heroes

Size doesn’t matter when it comes to creating memorable experiences for tourists. And smaller Sunshine Coast destinations are proving they deserve a pin on the More

We must remember the amazing humans among us

On a daily basis, I think most of us see the very good and the very ordinary in human behaviour. Just the other day, I More

Luncheon fit for a queen: foundation marks milestone

A leading community organisation has encouraged people to dress for royalty and come along to a special celebration. The Buderim Foundation, which provides grants to More

‘Bringing joy: adventure playground up and running

A new nature-based playground, designed for kids to be adventurous, has opened in a fast-growing area. The Hinterland Adventure Playground, on Marara St at Cooroy, More

Wild initiative: park expansion boosts habitat

A thriving national park is set for a huge expansion that will help secure the future of  precious wildlife. More than 2,400 hectares of former More

Hope abounds as the New Year dawns.

2021 was rough for many, with families and friends being separated, the costs of houses and rent rocketing and businesses affected by staff shortages and consumers’ push further into online marketplaces.

But for so many, 2022 holds possibilities for something better – eased border restrictions, shorter COVID-19 isolation times and learning to live with the virus will bed down.

We will also have the chance to choose whom we want to make our laws and dictate our ways, with a Federal election looming.

Holding onto hope can make a massive difference to us all, because it turns out that hope floats.

A famous (and now considered abjectly cruel) experiment by US scientist Dr Carl Richter in the 1950s demonstrated it and the work changed the way hope is factored into all manner of things, including public messaging, education and approaches to treatment of the very ill.

Richter placed rats into buckets of swirling water and timed how long it took until they drowned. Even though they are renowned for being good swimmers, the rats lasted an average of 15 minutes before giving up and sinking. But in a second experiment, Richter fished out the rats when he saw them struggling, dried them off and gave them a little rest.

He then put them back into the water – and this is where the breakthrough behavioural change happened. The rescued rats swam for up to 60 hours. Extraordinary.

Psychologists often cite this experiment as evidence of the power of hope, that our perspective can have incredibly powerful effects on our will, our attitude and our abilities.

When we are hopeful that our circumstances are temporary and change is possible, we can achieve wonderful things.

Hope can be the factor that changes an outcome and even makes the difference between living and dying.

Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl wrote about the power of hope in Man’s Search for Meaning – a book I have enjoyed this summer. He noted that life has meaning even in the context of despair, and the way prisoners imagined the future had an effect on their prospects of survival.

Help keep independent and fair Sunshine Coast news and opinion coming by subscribing to our free daily news feed. All it requires is your name and email. See SUBSCRIBE at the top of this article 

We can thank the vaccine for giving us some hope and for helping our lives return to something approaching normal, drastically reducing hospitalisations and deaths.

Queensland senator Matt Canavan said last week that the coronavirus killed just over 3 per cent of Australians who got the disease in 2020, but in 2021 as immunisations were administered that figure was just 0.6 per cent. And since the coming of Omicron, Covid-19 has killed just 0.3 per cent of infected people.

The experts say we will probably all get it in 2022. As I line up for my booster soon, I will hope for the best because I trust my body to fight and the science and technology that has gone into the drug that builds up our defences.

Survival in ingrained in us and we know that survival demands struggle. We have all certainly known struggle in 2021.

In my mind, hope stands for Hold On, Pain Ends.

Stay hopeful, Sunshine Coasters. Better things are to come in 2022.

Jane Stephens is a USC journalism lecturer, media commentator and writer. The views expressed are her own.