Tired of doomscrolling? Hopecore is TikTok’s feel good antidote

3 mins
18 Jan 2023
Tired of doomscrolling? Hopecore is TikTok’s feel good antidote

Say goodbye to depression memes and hello to hopecore

words Sophie Lou Wilson

Sending TikToks and memes back and forth is a mark of any true friendship. Sometimes they articulate our feelings better than we ever could ourselves. We can’t quite explain why commenting, “mood” under relatable memes feels so good, but it does. Often the more self-deprecating they are the better. Indeed, finding humour in depression and self-loathing is the backbone of many meme accounts.

One study found that looking at mental health memes may help relieve some symptoms of anxiety and depression. However, if ‘I’m trash’ and ‘life is meaningless’ memes dominate your For You Page, you might start to internalise some of those beliefs. That’s not to mention the endless cycle of bad news fed through social media everyday.

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There’s no denying that being chronically online can be bad for your mental health, but if you’re not ready to go off grid completely, finding more wholesome corners of the internet is a good place to start. That’s where hopecore comes in. The feel-good TikTok trend uses the same humour and irony adopted by depression memes to show us that life is meaningful and the world is full of beauty. It uses emotional moments from media or anti-nihilist memes to counteract feelings of despair.

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Breathtaking views of nature are edited together with expressions of selfless compassion or moments when footballers score a winning goal. Videos often appear under other hashtags like #corecore or #nichetok which splice seemingly random scenes and images together to elicit specific emotions, reflecting the way algorithms often present us with endless streams of loosely related content.

Film scenes like Michelle Yeoh in Everything, Everywhere All At Once telling her daughter, “I will always, always want to be here with you”, or the tunnel scene in The Perks of Being a Wallflower where Charlie feels infinite, highlight how love and connection come in so many different forms. Elsewhere, memes come with phrases like, ‘“In my healing era’, I whisper as I lovingly embrace the discomfort of trying new things”, or “I don’t believe in anything…except the redemptive power of art and the idea that people are fundamentally good at heart.”

Hopecore is about finding beauty and meaning in the everyday, whether through small acts of kindness, genuine connection, or appreciating the wonder of nature. It’s a rejection of nihilism, the belief that nothing matters and life is essentially meaningless. Finding meaning can help ease symptoms of depression, especially when that meaning comes from small, everyday actions and experiences.

In a way, it feels like the next step on from mental health memes. Videos often encourage reflection and acknowledgment of progress in recovery. It’s about changing perspectives to focus on the moments that can be experienced day to day that make life worth living. And it’s not about saying everything’s amazing: that’s what makes it honest and believable. There’s no toxic positivity to see here. Instead, it shows how much beauty there is in the world, despite everything else going on. And the ability to maintain hope in difficult situations is sometimes the most beautiful thing of all.

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