Hopelessness. It’s probably the worst feeling in the world. When someone feels like they have no hope, essentially all sense of what can be is lost. There are no dreams. There is no better tomorrow. You’re just breathing to exist. It’s a tough place to be and you don’t want to be there.

But, sometimes people find themselves in a place of hopelessness. Wherever you are reading this today, if you’re feeling hopeless or if you know someone who has lost hope – it’s time to reconsider. It’s time to ask for help or to help someone. In my view, one of the most tragic experiences in life can be when hopelessness has hollowed out a life.

Can someone who has lost hope find it again? I’m an optimistic person and I like to think that there’s always a path to hope. I’ve said it often, when I was a young man I was in a place of incredible darkness. I lost hope. I could not see a path to a bright future. I felt alone, different and nearly died because of a lack of hope. However, someone came into my life and helped me see I could do more and make something better of my life. If you know me or follow me, you know her name was Mrs. Bush. She was my high school teacher.

The following are some of my thoughts for you or someone you know who needs a hand in finding hope:

Action: The most important thing you can do for yourself, or someone else who has lost hope, is to act. Move. Do something. Take a step forward. One step forward will lead to a second and then a third. It doesn’t have to be huge action. It might be barely noticeable. That’s okay. Just take one positive step forward in a good direction. If you do this consistently, a little bit each day, you will be able to slowly come back to a place where there is hope.

Let Go: Sometimes, it’s important to let go of things, circumstances or people. Whether someone has gone away or a dream has come to its end, sometimes you simply have to let go. I’m a father and a grandfather. I understand that letting go can be difficult, but that’s what life is about. There is a simple beauty to life. Sometimes it brings things into your life and they’re great or even unexpected. And other times it takes something we love from us. Sometimes the most important thing we can do to find hope is simply to move on from something, someone or some place. It doesn’t mean you’re forgetting. It simply means that life goes on.

Simplicity: I think, in our world, we sometimes make things much more complex than they need to be. We want the best job. We want a beautiful and comfortable home. We want a great family. That’s all well and good, but sometimes that’s just a tall order. When you’re trying to get back on track, forget about the big dreams. It’s reasonable to put them to the side for a little bit. Just focus on small and simple things. It can be as simple as deciding to write one to three things you’re grateful for each day. It can be setting out to feel better by taking a walk each day. It doesn’t matter. Develop a simple goal and try to focus on it for the time being.

Faith: Find your faith. For some of you, this could be religion, but for others it isn’t. It doesn’t matter what your faith is, and in my book it can be music, art, writing, your family, the church, fitness, etc. It can be anything that will keep you going. When you’ve lost hope, it’s time to find your faith again and believe it will lead you back to where you’re supposed to be.

Life is never a straight line. It’s a crooked path. It has joys and it has sorrows. But, take it from me, if it has hopelessness you can find your path out of it to a new version of yourself. It’s not easy. It takes work, but when you come out the other side, you’ll see a richer life from an experience that was overcome.