No doubt all of us have family members or friends that are exhibiting a lot of negativity in the midst of this coronavirus challenge.
It’s precisely during times like this that our loved ones need us most to help lift their mood. In an article from the June 2016 issue of Success Magazine, contributing editor Patty Onderko offers four strategies you can use to help a loved one live with more positivity, even in a challenging time:
1) Always empathize first – While you may want to remind a downcast friend of all of the wonderful things in their life, it’s much more effective to empathize first; otherwise, you risk shaming them with a “look on the bright side” type of platitude. Seeing things through the other person’s perspective is the first step to helping them – your empathy demonstrates understanding and sensitivity and will encourage them that they are not alone.
2) Really listen – The best motivational speech has less value than ten minutes of real listening says Scott Hammond, PhD, a professor of management in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. Don’t judge, don’t offer advice, don’t say “yeah, but..” Just listen. And be sure to make eye contact as you do. All of this sounds intuitive but most of us do not take the time to genuinely listen with our whole heart, mind and body. A good listener makes people feel respected and valued – be a good listener.
3) Validate and flip – This will work well for the glass half-empty people in your life who always are finding something to complain about. After you’ve listened, make a validating statement such as, “I can see why you feel that way” or “I know what you mean.” Then reframe their negative statement into a positive. For example, “yes she is a very detail oriented person, but she helps me become more detailed oriented so I don’t get lost in the big picture.”
4) Find your friend or loved one doing something good and tell them – Complimenting your friend or loved one on something good they’ve done will encourage them to move more in that direction. It needs to be true however – nothing manufactured. But once you’ve found that good, let them know that you see their efforts and appreciate them. When you point out good things they are doing, you retrain their brain to focus on the positive, rather than to always see the negative.
We are living in a challenging period which may continue for some time. By helping your loved ones become more positive in the midst of all of this, your world also will get brighter.
Here’s to living a great life!