We use the sunflower as the global symbol for hope.You might be wondering why. The sunflower is based on the rebranding work by iFred, focusing on universal symbolism to create a “brand” for hope. The power of a brand is strong. 

What do you think of when you hear McDonald’s? Nike? Apple? Golden arches? A swoosh? An apple? How do you feel when you think of them? Their use of imagery, and symbolism, is iconic. And they repeat that symbol over, and over, and over until it is synonymous with their company. That is the power of universal symbolism, and a brand.

So why sunflowers?

A sunflower seed is planted underground in complete darkness. A sunflower seed represents us in our most hopeless state. We are full of life and strength, but we are surrounded by darkness. Just like the seed, if we give up when we experience feelings of despair or a sense of helplessness, we aren’t able to continue growing and improving. We cannot become the best version of ourselves.

But sunflower seeds don’t give up: they grow towards the surface of the soil. A seed can’t grow on its own. It needs help from the things around it. Just like the sunflower seed, the people around us, our Hope Network, help us grow towards a hopeful mindset.

As a sunflower grows, it must stretch its roots deep into the ground to propel itself towards the surface. We push ourselves out of despair and helplessness, the two ingredients of hopelessness, using Stress Skills, such as mediation, deep breathing, and 90-second pauses.

Once a sunflower breaks out of the soil and into the sunlight, it unfurls giant leaves to collect more sunshine. We nurture our positive feelings and hopeful mindsets by practicing our Happy Habits: the healthy, long term habits that help us collect more and more hope. 

As the sunflower grows, it will have to overcome obstacles. It may be in rocky or acidic soil, or not get enough space, water, or light. Like the sunflower, we will also experience challenges. However, by relying on our Stress Skills, Happy Habits, SMART goals, inspired actions, and a Hope Network, we will be able to overcome them.

The flower’s purpose is to provide food to humans and birds, and bring joy to those that see it. This is how the sunflower shares its light with the world around it. Like the sunflower, we too must share our hopefulness with the people around us. You are a beacon of hope and joy to those around you. 

We use the sunflower and the color yellow as an iconic symbol to shine a positive light on hope and eliminate mental health stigma through prevention, research, and education.

We encourage you to plant a garden in your yard, in your schoolyard, or start a community garden of sunflowers. Check out our Hope Marketing Tools page to download a free sign to let people know why you’ve planted your garden, and where to go for support. You never know who you will touch with the message. Hope is always better shared.

Download Hope Marketing Tools
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