Help Me To Be An Encouragement To Others
Why Encouragement Counts – The Power of an Encouraging Word
My first year of college was a bit challenging. I was walking through a lonely season due to an unexpected, but needed, transfer to another dorm room during my second semester.
Because of this, my friend group drastically changed. One night I remember feeling very alone and discouraged as I knelt beside my bed.
I asked God to, “please send someone to encourage me,” to remind me I was not on my own.
Within a couple of hours, that simple prayer was answered. To my amazement, a piece of paper appeared from under my door. Curious as to what it was, I opened it immediately. The words written were exactly what I needed to hear. Words of hope. Words that reminded me I was not alone. Words that gave me the strength to face another day. Words of encouragement.
We all battle moments of self-doubt, insecurity, and discouragement; moments where we can feel giving up rather than going on. And most often, all a person needs is a little encouragement to continue.The definition of the word “encourage” is
“To inspire with courage, spirit, or hope.”
When we encourage someone, we are imparting courage to them
Over the years psychologists have studied words and found that they have a profound effect on the human brain. The truth is, words have power.
Words can either breath life or death into the soul, build up someone’s spirit or tear it down. They either encourage or discourage – there is no middle ground.
Research has proven that brain function is at its best and quality of life is at its peak when we are processing positive rather than negative words.
Words either encourage or discourage – there is no middle ground.
In their article, The Most Dangerous Word in the World, researchers Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Mark Waldman state the following:
“If I were to put you into an fMRI scanner – a huge donut-shaped magnet that can take a video of the neural changes happening in your brain – and flash the word “NO” for less than one second, you’d see a sudden release of dozens of stress-producing hormones and neurotransmitters. These chemicals immediately interrupt the normal functioning of your brain, impairing logic, reason, language processing, and communication.”
Additional research done by Newberg and Waldman reveals,
“Positive words, such as “peace” and “love” can alter the expression of genes, strengthening areas in our frontal lobes and promoting the brain’s cognitive functioning. They propel the motivational centers of the brain into action…”
Positive words are difficult to remember. Negative words are difficult to forget
It’s interesting to note that the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC includes a display of several articles President Abraham Lincoln had with him on the night of his assassinated. One of the articles is a worn-out newspaper clipping which celebrated his accomplishments as president. It reads: “Abe Lincoln is one of the greatest statesmen of all time.”
It is amazing that even the president of the United States needed regular positive reinforcement in his life, if left unchallenged, negativity can permeate and overcome any of us.
If you’re living and breathing, you need encouragement!The truth is that if you’re living and breathing, you need encouragement! No matter a person’s age, position or stature, as human beings, we are wired with the innate desire and need for encouragement.
An encouraging word spoken at the right time can make all the difference in a person life – just it did for President Lincoln.
Proverbs 25:11(CEV) says:
“The right word at the right time is precious gold set in silver.”
There are few things more valuable than an encouraging word.
The words spoken into your life today have a tremendous impact on your life tomorrow
Frankly, it is very difficult for someone to achieve a goal without encouragement and support. Some of the greatest influencers have been those who have received support and strength from others.
Many have recalled the friendship between two of history’s great authors, C.S Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien. In fact, Tolkien was highly influenced by Lewis encouraging him to write The Lord of the Rings. The encouraging words of C.S. Lewis spurred Tolkien on toward what has become a literary masterpiece read by millions.
Encouragement is a gift that we all have the ability and resource to give.
Encouragement is a gift that we all have the ability and resource to give. There is no I.Q. requirement or special talent needed to be an encourager. All you have to do is have a desire to use your life and your words to encourage the people positioned around you.
Every day we come in contact with people who are craving encouragement. Those who are walking through their personal “dorm room” valleys. Although we may not always know what they are facing, our encouragement may be exactly what they need to make it through to the other side.
Did you know that smiling is contagious? It might not just alter a person’s mood, but could change their life.
2. Speak Encouragement
There are millions of people on the planet who feel overlooked and forgotten. And with a simple hello and encouraging word, you can let someone know that they are seen and cared about.
3. Write it out
Spoken words are powerful, but there is something special about written words – they last forever. A simple card or text reminds someone that they are valuable and being thought of.
Entering your day with the mindset of what can you give rather than what can you get.
Each of these things is very simple to do, yet they can have a profound impact on someone’s life. They could give them the courage to keep going, to pursue their dreams, to know they are not forgotten and that they have a purpose. Who comes to mind in your world that you can encourage? Is it your spouse, your child, your next door neighbor, your coworker?
One leader asked a simple question we should all consider, “If the people around you depend on your words for nourishment, are they dying of malnutrition or are they thriving?”
The truth is that our words matter. We make a choice each day how we will use our words to build up or tear down. Start today. Make a conscience choice that you are going to use your words to make a difference in someone’s life.
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Encourage People Daily — Be an Encourager
Have you ever known someone who believed in you, someone who frequently spoke words of encouragement and praise? The kind of person who made you feel you could do it, whatever “it” was? That’s the kind of person God wants us to be, people who encourage one another.
Paul gave us a good guideline when he wrote that everything we say should build up the one who is listening.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)
I always am encouraged when my wife praises me. This truth came home to me once in a graphic, although silly, way. We used to take our sons to a video arcade, and I often played my favorite game. It soon became obvious that my scores were much higher whenever my wife watched and cheered me on.
The same phenomenon, multiplied by thousands of cheering fans, becomes the home court advantage in sports contests. The book of Proverbs sums up the impact encouraging words can have when it says, “The tongue has the power of life and death” (Proverbs 18:21). Your words have an impact. May this online Bible study encourage you to be an encourager.
The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life. (Proverbs 10:11)
Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the brothers. (Acts 15:32)
We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith. (1 Thessalonians 3:2)
Therefore encourage each other with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:18)
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25)
Follow God’s example — Encourage other
You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry. (Psalm 10:17)
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4)
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus. (Romans 15:5)
Related: Encourage others with hope and trust in God
Think positively, looking for things to encourage
Do you bring sunshine or gloom into the room? If you are a negative person, don’t say, “I’m just a worrier. I was born that way.” Or, “It’s my nature to be depressed.” God is in the personality-changing business. He wants you to “be conformed to the ness of his Son” (Romans 8:29). You can change. You can become known for your encouraging words.
Life is full of problems, and we need to deal with them. But if we aren’t careful, all we see are the problems. There are lots of good things we can focus on. Instead of “catching people being bad,” catch them being good. Make your words a fountain of life. Be a positive person. Encourage one another.
Ask God to help you develop a positive thought life. Immerse yourself in his Word. Pray.
Over time, you will discover that you can control the way you think, choosing to focus on some thoughts and to reject others. The following verse can be life changing.
Write it out and post it where you will see it regularly, on your refrigerator, bathroom mirror, or the dashboard of your car.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)
When you wake up in the morning, ask God to help you look for and focus on the positive. Pray for this attitude throughout the day. Choose to meditate on the positive. Bring sunshine into the world.
Speak positively, using encouraging words
When you talk, you make a series of choices about what subjects to discuss, what memories to bring up, and what points to make.
There always are negative things you could say, but there also are positive ones. Choose the positive. Choose to specialize in encouraging others, not in critical comments.
As Paul wrote, “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification” (Romans 14:19).
Related: Encourage Your Spouse
Encourage others daily
Bring friendly speech into your relationships. Don’t start complaining as soon as you see your spouse, child, employee, neighbor or someone else. Ask about his or her day. Give a compliment. Share stories about your day, insights from a Bible study, victories on the job, or other things they may be interested in.
Voice words of encouragement, appreciation, support, and respect
Look for ways to encourage one another. Acknowledge others’ abilities and efforts. If someone feels inadequate, encourage him or her.
Monitor your positive and negative remarks
Learn to be self-aware and listen to what you say. Be sure you make many more positive comments than negative ones.
Respond to problems with hope and encouragement
When someone talks about personal difficulties, do not respond with a “gloom and doom” attitude. Listen with compassion, and avoid simplistic advice. Say something such as, “I know this is a tough time for you, but it won’t last. Let me encourage you: God will see you through, and I’m here to help, too.”[God] comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (2 Corinthians 1:4)
And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. (1 Thessalonians 5:14)
Avoid subtle criticisms
Watch out for subtle ways you may tear others down, such as pointing out how quickly you can mow the lawn when you know it takes them twice as long.
Discuss problems as a friend
There are times in every relationship—in a family, on the job, or wherever—when people discuss difficult topics. When you do, speak in a courteous, friendly manner. The way you speak usually is more important than whether your opinions are right or wrong.
Make a plan to encourage others
- List the key people in your life.
- Beside each name, write how encouraging you are with that person.
- Pray for God to help you recognize the power of encouragement and to encourage one another—to say encouraging words, not discouraging words.
Follow through — Encourage others daily
Make it a habit to encourage those around you. Consider keeping track of how you are doing on a day-by-day basis. For example, you could:
- Make a brief note on a calendar each day you encourage someone.
- Keep an encouragement journal or diary.
Helping Someone with Depression – HelpGuide.org
Depression is a serious but treatable disorder that affects millions of people, from young to old and from all walks of life. It gets in the way of everyday life, causing tremendous pain, hurting not just those suffering from it but also impacting everyone around them.
If someone you love is depressed, you may be experiencing any number of difficult emotions, including helplessness, frustration, anger, fear, guilt, and sadness. These feelings are all normal. It’s not easy dealing with a friend or family member’s depression. And if you neglect your own health, it can become overwhelming.
That said, your companionship and support can be crucial to your loved one’s recovery. You can help them to cope with depressions symptoms, overcome negative thoughts, and regain their energy, optimism, and enjoyment of life.
Start by learning all you can about depression and how to best talk about it with your friend or family member.
But as you reach out, don’t forget to look after your own emotional health—you’ll need it to provide the full support your loved one needs.
Depression is a serious condition. Don’t underestimate the seriousness of depression. Depression drains a person’s energy, optimism, and motivation. Your depressed loved one can’t just “snap it” by sheer force of will.
The symptoms of depression aren’t personal. Depression makes it difficult for a person to connect on a deep emotional level with anyone, even the people they love the most. It’s also common for depressed people to say hurtful things and lash out in anger. Remember that this is the depression talking, not your loved one, so try not to take it personally.
Hiding the problem won’t make it go away. It doesn’t help anyone involved if you try making excuses, covering up the problem, or lying for a friend or family member who is depressed. In fact, this may keep the depressed person from seeking treatment.
Your loved one isn’t lazy or unmotivated. When you’re suffering from depression, just thinking about doing the things that may help you to feel better can seem exhausting or impossible to put into action. Have patience as you encourage your loved one to take the first small steps to recovery.
You can’t “fix” someone else’s depression. As much as you may want to, you can’t rescue someone from depression nor fix the problem for them. You’re not to blame for your loved one’s depression or responsible for their happiness (or lack thereof). While you can offer love and support, ultimately recovery is in the hands of the depressed person.
Recognizing depression symptoms in a loved one
Family and friends are often the first line of defense in the fight against depression. That’s why it’s important to understand the signs and symptoms of depression. You may notice the problem in a depressed loved one before they do, and your influence and concern can motivate them to seek help.
Be concerned if your loved one…
Doesn’t seem to care about anything anymore. Has lost interest in work, sex, hobbies, and other pleasurable activities. Has withdrawn from friends, family, and other social activities.
Expresses a bleak or negative outlook on life. Is uncharacteristically sad, irritable, short-tempered, critical, or moody; talks about feeling “helpless” or “hopeless.”
Frequently complains of aches and pains such as headaches, stomach problems, and back pain. Or complains of feeling tired and drained all the time.
Sleeps less than usual or oversleeps. Has become indecisive, forgetful, disorganized, and “ it.”
Eats more or less than usual, and has recently gained or lost weight.
Drinks more or abuses drugs, including prescription sleeping pills and painkillers.
How to talk to someone about depression
Sometimes it is hard to know what to say when speaking to someone about depression. You might fear that if you bring up your worries the person will get angry, feel insulted, or ignore your concerns. You may be unsure what questions to ask or how to be supportive.
If you don’t know where to start, the following suggestions may help. But remember that being a compassionate listener is much more important than giving advice.
You don’t have to try to “fix” your friend or family member; you just have to be a good listener. Often, the simple act of talking face to face can be an enormous help to someone suffering from depression.
Encourage the depressed person to talk about their feelings, and be willing to listen without judgment.
Don’t expect a single conversation to be the end of it. Depressed people tend to withdraw from others and isolate themselves. You may need to express your concern and willingness to listen over and over again. Be gentle, yet persistent.
Ways to start the conversation:
“I have been feeling concerned about you lately.”
“Recently, I have noticed some differences in you and wondered how you are doing.”
“I wanted to check in with you because you have seemed pretty down lately.”
Questions you can ask:
“When did you begin feeling this?”
“Did something happen that made you start feeling this way?”
“How can I best support you right now?”
“Have you thought about getting help?”
Remember, being supportive involves offering encouragement and hope. Very often, this is a matter of talking to the person in language that they will understand and can respond to while in a depressed state of mind.
|Tips for Talking about Depression|
|What you CAN say that helps:|
|What you should AVOID saying:|
|Source: The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance|
The risk of suicide is real
If you believe your loved one is at an immediate risk for suicide, do NOT leave them alone.
In the U.S., dial 911 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.
In other countries, call your country’s emergency services number or visit IASP to find a suicide prevention helpline.It may be hard to believe that the person you know and love would ever consider something as drastic as suicide, but a depressed person may not see any other way out. Depression clouds judgment and distorts thinking, causing a normally rational person to believe that death is the only way to end the pain they’re feeling.
Since suicide is a very real danger when someone is depressed, it’s important to know the warning signs:
- Talking about suicide, dying, or harming oneself; a preoccupation with death
- Expressing feelings of hopelessness or self-hate
- Acting in dangerous or self-destructive ways
- Getting affairs in order and saying goodbye
- Seeking out pills, weapons, or other lethal objects
- A sudden sense of calm after depression
If you think a friend or family member might be considering suicide, don’t wait, talk to them about your concerns.
Many people feel uncomfortable bringing up the topic but it is one of the best things you can do for someone who is thinking about suicide.
Talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a person’s life, so speak up if you’re concerned and seek professional help immediately!
Encouraging the person to get help
While you can’t control someone else’s recovery from depression, you can start by encouraging the depressed person to seek help. Getting a depressed person into treatment can be difficult.
Depression saps energy and motivation, so even the act of making an appointment or finding a doctor can seem daunting to your loved one. Depression also involves negative ways of thinking.
The depressed person may believe that the situation is hopeless and treatment pointless.
Because of these obstacles, getting your loved one to admit to the problem—and helping them see that it can be solved—is an essential step in depression recovery.
If your friend or family member resists getting help:
Suggest a general check-up with a physician. Your loved one may be less anxious about seeing a family doctor than a mental health professional.
A regular doctor’s visit is actually a great option, since the doctor can rule out medical causes of depression. If the doctor diagnoses depression, they can refer your loved one to a psychiatrist or psychologist.
Sometimes, this “professional” opinion makes all the difference.
Offer to help the depressed person find a doctor or therapist and go with them on the first visit. Finding the right treatment provider can be difficult, and is often a trial-and-error process. For a depressed person already low on energy, it is a huge help to have assistance making calls and looking into the options.
Encourage your loved one to make a thorough list of symptoms and ailments to discuss with the doctor. You can even bring up things that you have noticed as an outside observer, such as, “You seem to feel much worse in the mornings,” or “You always get stomach pains before work.”
Supporting your loved one’s treatment
One of the most important things you can do to help a friend or relative with depression is to give your unconditional love and support throughout the treatment process.
This involves being compassionate and patient, which is not always easy when dealing with the negativity, hostility, and moodiness that go hand in hand with depression.
Provide whatever assistance the person needs (and is willing to accept).
Help your loved one make and keep appointments, research treatment options, and stay on schedule with any treatment prescribed.
Have realistic expectations. It can be frustrating to watch a depressed friend or family member struggle, especially if progress is slow or stalled. Having patience is important. Even with optimal treatment, recovery from depression doesn’t happen overnight.
Lead by example. Encourage the person to lead a healthier, mood-boosting lifestyle by doing it yourself: maintain a positive outlook, eat better, avoid alcohol and drugs, exercise, and lean on others for support.
Encourage activity. Invite your loved one to join you in uplifting activities, going to a funny movie or having dinner at a favorite restaurant. Exercise is especially helpful, so try to get your depressed loved one moving. Going on walks together is one of the easiest options. Be gently and lovingly persistent—don’t get discouraged or stop asking.
Pitch in when possible. Seemingly small tasks can be very hard for someone with depression to manage. Offer to help out with household responsibilities or chores, but only do what you can without getting burned out yourself!
Taking care of yourself
There’s a natural impulse to want to fix the problems of people we care about, but you can’t control someone else’s depression. You can, however, control how well you take care of yourself. It’s just as important for you to stay healthy as it is for the depressed person to get treatment, so make your own well-being a priority.
Remember the advice of airline flight attendants: put on your own oxygen mask before you assist anyone else.
In other words, make sure your own health and happiness are solid before you try to help someone who is depressed.You won’t do your friend or family member any good if you collapse under the pressure of trying to help. When your own needs are taken care of, you’ll have the energy you need to lend a helping hand.
Speak up for yourself. You may be hesitant to speak out when the depressed person in your life upsets you or lets you down. However, honest communication will actually help the relationship in the long run.
If you’re suffering in silence and letting resentment build, your loved one will pick up on these negative emotions and feel even worse.
Gently talk about how you’re feeling before pent-up emotions make it too hard to communicate with sensitivity.
Set boundaries. Of course you want to help, but you can only do so much. Your own health will suffer if you let your life be controlled by your loved one’s depression.
You can’t be a caretaker round the clock without paying a psychological price. To avoid burnout and resentment, set clear limits on what you are willing and able to do.
You are not your loved one’s therapist, so don’t take on that responsibility.
Stay on track with your own life. While some changes in your daily routine may be unavoidable while caring for your friend or relative, do your best to keep appointments and plans with friends. If your depressed loved one is unable to go on an outing or trip you had planned, ask a friend to join you instead.
Seek support. You are NOT betraying your depressed relative or friend by turning to others for support. Joining a support group, talking to a counselor or clergyman, or confiding in a trusted friend will help you get through this tough time.
You don’t need to go into detail about your loved one’s depression or betray confidences; instead focus on your emotions and what you are feeling.
Make sure you can be totally honest with the person you turn to—choose someone who will listen without interruption and without judging you.
Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A., Lawrence Robinson, and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. Last updated: June 2019.
24 Ways To Encourage Others – Giving Encouragement To People
“Most of us,swimming against the tides oftrouble the world knows nothing about,need only a bit of praise or encouragement –
and we will make the goal.”
~ Jerome Fleishman ~
What Is Encouragement?
Definition: ENCOURAGEMENT : something that makes someone feel more supported: something that makes someone more determined, hopeful, or confident
: something that makes someone more ly to do something
Yesterday when I listed the Top 41 Lessons Blogging Teaches About Life And The Ways Blogging Has Changed Me, one of the things I talked about was how I knew I was loved. Feeling loved is powerful…very powerful.
Have you ever heard of times in the news when people did things that seemed impossible? I remember long ago when a boy was trapped under a car and the boy’s mother lifted the car AND pulled the boy out from under it. Sounded absolutely impossible, but it really happened. That was some powerful love.Love is a powerful emotion that can help people do things they never dreamed they could accomplish.
One of the reasons that I talk so much about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is because when I was being tormented by it, I felt very alone.
It was bad enough teetering between feeling insane or an alien in my own skin, but to also feel lonely and alone was almost more than I could bear.
Because of that terrorizing, agonizing, depressing, scary, unhappy, sad, lonely period of my life, I think it is absolutely necessary for EVERYONE to understand PTSD.
Giving a person with PTSD encouragement helps them hang on and continue to fight the agony they feel. Most of the time it feels impossible to live another minute and the reasons to continue living don’t really feel that important. Encouragement helps a person feel more hopeful.
Even though a person may appear to be perfectly fine, they may actually be hurting inside. That is often true with people who are experiencing PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and depression.
There is something we all can do for people who are hurting.
There are many ways that we can give people hope and one of the easiest ways is to give encouragement regularly. That may sound vague and not that important, but encouragement is the emotionally equivalent to throwing a rope to a drowning man. Hope is empowering and since encouragement gives hope, you can help to empower someone who is hurting.
Here is a list of 24 easy and practical ways that you can give encouragement to people:
- Go to lunch or dinner together.
- Give the person praise publicly.
- Offer to do a task for the person.
- Spend time listening to the person talk.
- Ask the person how you can help them.
- Offer to babysit their children so they can get away for a while.
- Call the person often just to let them know you were thinking of them.
- Post a compliment or encouraging words on their wall.
- When someone is making changes in their life, notice and offer words of praise.
- Smile as you pass other people. You never know who needs to see a kind face to give them hope.
- Write a letter of commendation to the person’s boss.
- Write a note and put it in their lunch or leave a note on their desk.
- Give the person a gift.
- Give the person a hug.
- Give the person a compliment.
- Give the person an uplifting card.
- Give the person a motivational book.
- Give the person a gift card to a restaurant.
- Send the person chocolates.
- Send the person flowers/Give the person a single flower.
- Tell the person a funny joke.
- Tell the person that you love them.
- Tell the person you will pray for them.
- Tell the person that you appreciate them.
Having the opportunity to offer encouragement to another person is a privilege. Giving of yourself will not only help the other person, but a consequence of your unselfishness is that you will feel happier and better about yourself. Being encouraging doesn’t take that much time or effort for you, but it could mean the world to the person who is swimming against the tides of trouble.
Sherry Riter a.k.a. The Redhead Riter is Witty, Intelligent & Addictive. Having been to “Hell and back,” her passionate writing will inspire, motivate, educate and make you laugh. Sherry is ready to help you reach your full potential and Stop Living Comfortably Miserable.