Quite often, we may walk past someone in the street who looks happy, glamorous,sophisticated and assume that they ‘have it all.’ What we might not see is their invisible struggles that day, battles with anxiety, or their fight with depression. Appearances can be deceptive, especially if like me, they were able to paint their face with makeup and make it look as though life is just peachy.
Sometimes we can help each-other without even realising it, often just a simple gesture or facial expression can make all the difference to someones mindset.
I have put together some easy to follow guidelines as to how you can support someone if you think they may be struggling.
- Ask how they are doing… TWICE. Its human nature to say ‘Yes good thanks’ as soon as somebody asks how we are, because these words roll off the tongue without any thought whatsoever. If you are looking them in the eyes kindly offer an ‘Are you sure?’ to open the communication channels further.
- Simply offer your support. If someone isn’t ready to talk yet, the reassurance of knowing that they have someone to turn to, can mean a world of difference. ‘I’m here if you want someone to talk to.’ Is a tried and tested phrase that lets people know that they have a safe haven should they need one.
- SMILE. A look across the street , with a smile given to a stranger could help give them a small boost when they need it most. How often have you been able to share an empathetic look with a tired mum, or an understanding glance to a fellow patient in the doctors waiting room. It gives you a temporary moment of solidarity doesn’t it!?
- Don’t feel like you need to understand. Don’t try to pretend. Someone who is struggling might not want your guidance or advice right now. They could simply just need a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, or someone to distract them from their thoughts!
- Give encouragement, if you believe that they might need some professional help or support, let them know that they can go to their gp, a counsellor or practitioner without fear of judgement. If it is someone close to you, suggest that you could go with them to their first appointment if they are scared or nervous. (Just make sure that you don’t take on someone else’s problems when you are not mentally strong enough to separate your feelings.)
As mentioned, these are very basic pointers, but hopefully can help us be more aware of the ‘invisible’ struggles around us.
I like to use mindfulness to help myself and others find a sense of calm and relaxation. I run mindfulness sessions and courses in Surrey, UK and love helping people navigate their way through the darker times to a happier place.
For more information visit http://www.emmathemadeupmom.com