Whenever a person is distressed, the best way to offer them comfort and make them feel better is through understanding and validating their feelings.
According to research conducted by Penn State researchers, the “comforting process” is the best solution when it comes to dealing with someone who is in pain and stressed out. The findings (Tian, Solomon, & Brisini, 2020) on “How the Comforting Process Fails” were published on February 18 in the Journal of Communication.
Even though the research was published before the COVID-19 pandemic, the research gives valuable advice about what kind of language offers most support and comfort during this difficult time of isolation.
“One recommendation is for people to avoid using language that conveys control or uses arguments without sound justification,” Xi Tian, who is a graduate assistant in communication arts and sciences at Penn State, said in a March 25 news release.
“For example, instead of telling a distressed person how to feel, like ‘don’t take it so hard’ or ‘don’t think about it,’ you could encourage them to talk about their thoughts or feelings so that person can come to their own conclusions about how to change their feelings or behaviors.”
How you phrase your words makes all the difference. Words that are not supportive and don’t value emotions tend to fail, while supportive and loving words heal and offer comfort to a broken heart.