No matter how emotionally strong we are, from time to time desperate situations pull the rug out from under us. In these darkest moments, it is important to meet a soul who will stand by your side and give emotional support.
It is difficult to find the right words when the person is plunged into deep moral crisis. If you want to comfort them, do it carefully, correctly and consciously, because the heart of a depressed person is very vulnerable. Read on to learn how exactly to do it.
1. Listen to them
First of all, try to initiate a heart-to-heart conversation and give them an opportunity to talk everything out. Do not interrupt them and hold questions or pieces of advice until afterward.
At this stage, you should listen carefully to gain some insight into the problem and show the interlocutor that you feel deep sympathy for them.
But it does not mean that you should stay silent and emotionless during the conversation. Use your body language to show that you really listen to them.
2. Mind your body language
This is strange, but a set of easy gestures can help the sympathizer win the depressed interlocutor’s trust and prove that their intentions are sincere.
When trying to comfort someone in grief, try not to cross your arms or legs, because they form a closed defensive shield and show the person that you are tense. Keep your head still and give a nod of understanding from time to time.
When comforting your dearest and nearest, do not forget about the healing effect of a body contact. Sometimes a calming touch or a hug help people calm down and understand that they are safe.
3. Offer concrete help
People who are going through tough times do not ask for help because they think that people are absolutely indifferent to their sufferings.
The question, ‘Can I help you?’ proves your readiness to give a helping hand, but it does not sound convincing. Instead, offer concrete help and prove that it will certainly lead to a desirable result.
However, offer your help only if you are sure that you will keep your promise and push the matter through. Otherwise, your empty words will lead your friend to a bitter disappointment.
4. Skip the big changes
When we ask our friends about how they bridge difficult periods, we often hear that it is necessary to pull yourself together, forget about all problems and shift the focus to positive thoughts or actions.
While this strategy helps people at times, in most cases, it has a temporary effect. Do not advise depressed people to escape from their problems and make the big changes and gain more positive emotions. They can only worsen the situation. Recommend them to devote time and energy to solving the problem, instead.
5. Keep an eye on them
Sometimes depressed people say that they want to be alone for a while. In most cases, it means that the person is obsessed with the problem and makes an attempt to shrink into their shell.
Give them time but do not leave them alone for long, because they can make irrational decisions and run to extremes. Solitude, despair and hopelessness usually give birth to negative thoughts, including suicide.
6. Gender peculiarities
Men often say that women are emotionally fragile creatures prone to creating drama. It is nothing else but a myth. Unlike men, women are more resistant to stress, because they express negative feelings and emotional pain through tears.
Socially isolated men are more vulnerable to stress and depression because they tend to keep their emotions bottled up. If you want to comfort your man, you should come to him or make a tasty dinner. Create a relaxing atmosphere and give him a chance to talk it out.
7. Do not forget about your mental well-being
Provision of psychological support is an incredibly difficult and emotionally exhausting experience. If you want to cheer someone up or help them overcome a grief, you should take care of your mental health as well.
Absorption of negativity and empathy are unbelievably harmful. Do not let your desire to help somebody turn into an obsessive thought or even codependency. If you feel like a squeezed lemon after heart-to-heart conversations all the time, you should slow down a bit.
If you are emotionally strong enough to comfort a depressed person, you should certainly do it. Now you know how to do it correctly. Can you give any other wise pieces of advice on how to cheer up a person in grief?