Everyone needs sleep, and it can’t get any more perfect when you’re snuggled deep under comfortable blankets and sheets. Yet, most couples who share a bed with each other will reach a point of having to cope with the issue of one or the other hogging the sheets in the middle of the night. The sooner you’re aware of what to do, the sooner you’ll get back to a comfortable night’s sleep!
Focusing on the Covers
- Steal back those monopolized sheets and covers. Try to pull the sheet or covers back onto you gently but firmly. A few tugs back toward your side of the bed might suffice. If not, perhaps getting out of bed and lifting up the entire sheet and covers and draping them back over both of you might be all that’s needed. If your partner is well asleep, they may simply subconsciously rearrange their sleeping position to cope with the restored covers arrangement.
- Be prepared for difficulties, however! There are several potential downsides to attempting this “gentle shift” of the covers back toward you:
- Depending on how they have managed to end up with all the sheet and covers, you might find out that they wrapped themselves in a “burrito wrap”. Unfurling this is probably about as easy as unwrapping a mummy, only weightier. Unless you’re strong and gentle in just the right balance, this could end up in a tangle, with a grouchy awoken partner alongside you.
- You may also find your partner stealing the sheet and covers back after you’ve shifted them. This can go on repeatedly, ending up in a “gimme back my covers” struggle throughout the night. Hardly conducive to a good night’s sleep!
- Purchase a bigger flat sheet and cover, or even multiple covers. Discuss the issue with your significant other first and explain what has been happening at night; be kind, as many people don’t realize their strength when asleep and cold! Buying flat sheets and covers that are larger than your mattress size is not unusual by any means and is an excellent way around the problem of both bed users wanting to snuggle into lots of the cover. Indeed, bedding suppliers often stock separate flat and fitted sheets, just for this reason, to allow you to fit the mattress correctly but use a larger flat sheet on top.
- For example, if you have a queen size bed, purchase a king size flat sheet and duvet/blanket/other bedding covers. All that extra length at the sides turns into separate snuggle zones!
- Alternatively, buy separate covers. This solution means that both of you will have your own covers, even if the sheet is hogged. Extra covers ensure you that the other person won’t be able to steal the entire amount of warm bedding and you will still have something left to cover yourself with.
- Snuggle up with your partner. Try to wedge yourself inside the sheets behind them, so that you can actually get some cover. This is great for free heat exchange, and it’ll keep both of you snug. Be sure to pull your pillow close too, so that you’re not pushing your partner’s head off their pillow.
- If your partner is in a deep sleep, be careful! They may not realize you’re so close and might accidentally elbow you when shuffling in their sleep.
- Overheating, pins and needles or difficulty with breathing can ensue if you’re stuck in an awkward position or up too close with your partner under all those covers! Shuffle back to your spot if you’re uncomfortable.
Nudging Your Partner
- Wake up your partner, but not in a way that disturbs their sleep. You may give them a gentle nudge, just to help shift them out of their deep sleep. Then, quickly take your chance at getting the sheet and covers back while they’re shuffling and drifting back to sleep.
Rearranging the Beds
- Push two smaller beds together. As the very last resort, if you’re both experiencing severe bed issues, this may be the way to go to solve it. Each one of you will be guaranteed the same bed area needed for a perfect night’s sleep and you’ll each successfully have the exact amount of sheet and covers without having to worry about any more hogging.
- If you’re not into getting separate sheets, tuck a good amount of sheet underneath you and use your body weight on it. This will make it harder for the other person to steal back the covers.
- Always talk about the issue when it first starts out. Don’t wait until it becomes a severe issue and then finding yourself using, “Well, this has been going on for some time”, as a defensive ploy in your favor. Many people don’t realize it happens in the first place.
- Consider keeping a sleeping bag on standby for really cold nights!
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It’s often not obvious that a person is drowning. In reality, many people who get into trouble in the water usually lack the strength or time to shout, wave arms or do the usual things that you might think a drowning person would try to do to draw attention. Instead, an involuntary reaction known as the Instinctive Drowning Response kicks in to try and gain air and leverage for the drowning victim, but in a very quiet way that often goes unnoticed by those watching on. For the sake of your own family, friends and community, it’s useful to know how to spot a potentially drowning person in time.
Understanding the Instinctive Drowning Response
- Wipe the Hollywood version of drowning from your memory bank. Television and movie portrayals of drowning tend to overplay the actions of the drowning person, showing shouting, arm waving, splashing and other active means for drawing attention. In reality, drowning happens quickly and often quietly, with most headlines about victims reading “companions/parents failed to notice”. The silent, fast and non-splashing reality of most drownings is due to the “Instinctive Drowning Response”, which causes a drowning person to focus solely on trying to breathe, leaving no time for calling out or arm waving. The person does not usually look as if he or she is drowning to onlookers, and sadly, this reality has resulted in people (especially children) drowning right in front of potential rescuers.
- Understand the Instinctive Drowning Response. This response was summarized by Mario Vittone and Francesco A. Pia, PhD in their article “How to Recognize the Instinctive Drowning Response”. The Instinctive Drowning Response will cause the following actions in a drowning person:
- Breathing as quickly as possible whenever the mouth actually manages to go above water. This means there is no time to shout, only time to breathe as fast as possible. The breathing action takes precedence over any vocal ability.
- The arms will extend to the sides, in an attempt to try and get above the water. Then the arms will actually press down, to try and gain lift up and out of the water for the mouth to breathe. This doesn’t leave time or energy for waving arms above the head.
- A drowning person is not in control of his or her motions. The arms and the attempts to breathe are both involuntary actions to save the victim from drowning. This means that there is no time to think about voluntary actions to draw attention to the act of drowning. In fact, this even excludes the ability to voluntarily reach for a piece of rescue gear!
- If the Instinctive Drowning Response takes over, the drowning person won’t kick to support their body. The body is upright in the water, and the arms are doing all the work to try and stay afloat. Within 20 to 60 seconds, the person will submerge if not rescued.
Print this image out and take it on vacation; teach everyone on your vacation these signs while in the car/plane/bus on the way to your destination.
Spotting a Drowning Person
- Be able to tell the difference between the Instinctive Drowning Response and Aquatic Distress. While still potentially life threatening and requiring a rescue response, aquatic distress is not involuntary. The person recognizes that he or she is in trouble, is worried about drowning, but at this stage still has the ability to make noise, grab rescue equipment if offered and will likely be kicking to stay afloat. This phase won’t last long but if you can get an object to the victim or get to the victim during this phase, the victim will likely be responsive to the help.
- Aquatic distress may or may not be visible in children. The reality though, is that children tend to struggle less than adults and may even appear to be doing the “dog paddle”. Don’t be lulled into expecting a child to make any response if he or she is drowning!
- Know how to spot a drowning person. Now that you understand the Instinctive Drowning Response, be aware of the following signs that may indicate a person is experiencing it when in the water (note, the depth does not matter, drowning can occur in shallow water as much as in deep water):
- The victim’s head is constantly low in the water and his or her mouth stays at water level
- The head may be tilted backward, with the mouth open
- The eyes may be glassy, empty-looking and failing to focus; or, they may be closed
- Hair may flop over the face, forehead, eyes (and the victim makes no attempt to remove it)
- The victim fails to kick with or move their legs; he or she is vertical (not swimming or floating)
- The victim may be breathing very quickly (hyperventilating) or gasping for air
- Attempts to swim may be noticeable but the victim fails to get anywhere
- The victim may try to roll over on his or her back
- It may seem as if the person is trying to climb an invisible ladder–-this is the attempt to get above and out of the water
- The victim is quiet––this is especially relevant to children as most children are noisy during water play
- Be aware that toddlers/small children are top heavy and may lose their footing very quickly in shallow water (such as wading pool depth), which will cause them to float.
Rescuing a Drowning Person
- If you are near a person showing any of the above signs, talk to them. Ask quickly: “Are you all right?” An answer will mean that they are probably okay, although they may be panicking and you can still go to their aid. No answer, a blank stare or continuation of any of the actions from the above list mean that you need to respond immediately to get them to safety, within 30 seconds.
- Even if the person seems to be treading water and looking up at you, ask them if they are they okay. This upright state is a classic position prior to submerging!
- Put safety before concerns about embarrassment, offense or inconvenience. It is better to seem overly cautious than to avoid asking a simple question.
- Rescue the drowning victim. For details on what to do to rescue a drowning person, see further How to save a drowning victim.
This video shows just how fast and quiet drowning really is.
- If you pursue water sports (diving, swimming, water skiing, sailing, etc.), have children under your care, teach or marshal water activities/events, or undertake activities (work or leisure) near or on water, you need to memorize the above signs of a drowning person. This knowledge can mean all the difference between the victim surviving or drowning, and there is a very small window of rescue of time, between 20 to 60 seconds once the person submerges.
- Be aware of local conditions. Currents, rips, king tides, eddies, snags, etc., are all signs that the water is not safe to enter. If someone has entered with such conditions, help them to get to safety quickly if possible.
- Be vigilant if you are rescuing people by directing them to get into water. In some situations, you may require people to get into water for their safety, such as when a boat is on fire or sinking, or for similar reasons. In this case, someone must be tasked with keeping an eye on those in the water, especially where shock, panic, injury or illness affects the swimmers. Always try to get life jackets onto people being rescued in such a situation.
- Without fail, always investigate why a child (infant to teen ages) has gone quiet when near or in water. Most children make noise when playing in water, and going quiet (including failing to splash about) is a sign of danger.
- Fence your pool. If you have a backyard pool, keep it fenced so that children cannot wander in unattended. There is nothing to alert you to a toddler who wanders out the back door of the house while you’re inside and goes into the pool; the fence is your only safety measure.
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It is very easy to hypnotize a person who wants to be hypnotized because all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. The hypnotist merely functions as a guide or a personal trainer to help you to focus the power of your imagination more effectively. The progressive relaxation method presented here is one of the easiest to learn and to use.
- Make sure that your partner clearly understands what you are going to do and what he or she is going to get out of it.
- Keep in mind what you say to the partner before. The introduction is just as important, and perhaps even more important, than what you say during the hypnosis itself. How well people respond to hypnosis depends not only on their ability to respond to suggestion, but also on their beliefs and expectations about hypnosis and their trust and confidence in the person providing the suggestions.
- Ask your partner if he or she has been hypnotized before, and inquire what the experience was like. If they have, ask them what they had been told to do and how they responded. This will give you an idea of how responsive the partner is likely to be to your own suggestions, and perhaps what things in the procedure that you should avoid.
- Tell the partner ahead of time that he or she will clearly remember everything that happens. This serves as a “waking suggestion” which defines the experience in such a way that the partner is likely to remember everything, even if they otherwise might not. It is very useful in building trust, and in obtaining feedback when the session is over.
- Reassure the partner that they cannot be made to do anything under hypnosis that they do not want to do.
- Ask your partner to sit or lie down in a comfortable position in a dimmed room where you are not likely to be disturbed for a while. Turn off cell phones and pagers. Make sure that your partner is not so tired that he or she will be inclined to fall asleep.
- Ask your partner to close his or her eyes, and imagine being in a “happy place” where one can feel comfortable and secure, such as relaxing in a meadow beside a gently running stream. Elaborate on calming details of the place and make sure to note how calm and comfortable they feel in their place.
- Speak slowly, in a low, soothing, “hypnotic” voice timed to your partner’s breathing, with considerable elaboration and repetition far beyond the point of boredom in an ordinary conversation.
- Ask your partner to relax all over, using words like these: “Just let your feet relax, and your legs relax. Feel your hips relaxing, and your waist relaxing. Feel your chest relaxing, and your arms relaxing. Your shoulders relaxing, and your neck and head relaxing. Feel your entire body relaxing, all over.”
- Gradually change your instructions into suggestions which increase the strength of the feeling of relaxation. “You can feel yourself relaxing now. You can feel a heavy, relaxed feeling coming over you. And as I continue to talk, that heavy relaxed feeling will get stronger and stronger, until it carries you into a deep, peaceful state of hypnosis.”
- Using your partner’s breathing and body language as a guide, gradually make your suggestions more directive, using suggestions similar to the following. Repeat the suggestions a few times, much as you might repeat the verses and choruses of a song, until your partner appears to be totally relaxed.
- “Every word that I utter is putting you faster and deeper, and faster and deeper, into a deep, peaceful state of hypnosis.”
- “Sinking down, and shutting down. Sinking down, and shutting down. Sinking down, and shutting down, shutting down completely.”
- “And the deeper you go, the deeper you are able to go. And the deeper you go, the deeper you want to go, and the more enjoyable the experience becomes.”
- You can conclude your induction with words like: “Now you are resting comfortably in a deep, peaceful state of sleep, going deeper and faster and deeper and faster all of the time, until I bring you back. You will only accept those suggestions which are for your benefit, and that you are willing to accept.”
- Provide positive suggestions which are specifically geared to achieving the goal. This will allow the partner to try out new attitudes, feelings, and behaviors which often are not voluntarily attainable. If the suggested changes are more adaptive than the old patterns after everything is taken into account, they will be retained. More than one hypnosis session may be necessary until the suggested changes are firmly rooted in the partner’s life. Don’t try to “scare” somebody into achieving their goal by dwelling on the consequences of failure, or by using “shoulds,” “oughts,” or “musts” in your suggestions. Research has conclusively shown that fear is a poor way to motivate people, and the side effects usually outweigh any possible benefits. Here are some examples of simple positive suggestions that you can elaborate on:
- “You will look back on this experience as a game-changer in your life which will turn each day into a thing of wondrous beauty.”
- “As a result of these suggestions, you will feel as if you are headed for a certain and pre-determined success..”
- “You will be able to act, think, and feel as if it were impossible to fail.”
Concluding the Session
This is easier than inducing it, because all you have to do is essentially ask your partner to stop imagining.
- Begin by saying, “I’m going to count from one to five, and at the count of five you will be feeling wide awake, fully alert, and completely refreshed.”
- It’s also helpful to suggest, “And as a result of this hypnotic experience, you will find many exciting changes taking place in your life, some of which you may already be aware of and some of which you may not yet realize.” This provides the partner with an extra measure of encouragement to process and complete any constructive changes they are already working on.
- Repeat for emphasis, “And as you continue to explore these deeper dimensions of experience, you will discover even more exciting changes taking place in your life, some of which you may be aware of and some of which you may not yet realize.”
- Suggestions of this type tend to serve as self-fulfilling prophecies, because the mind acts upon them in such a manner as to bring about the outcomes which have been suggested.
- Start counting, interspersed with suggestions to the effect that the partner is waking up more and more, “and by the time I get to the count of five, you will be fully awake and feeling wonderful!”
- Discuss highlights of the session with the partner, and ask if there are any questions or if there is anything they would like to change.
- Now you should be able to re-induce hypnosis more easily. If your partner has responded well, repeat the session using a shorter induction and go over the positive suggestions you gave previously.
- A series of two or three short inductions is usually more effective than a single longer one. This also allows more opportunity for the partner to provide feedback.
- At the conclusion of each session, suggest that whenever your partner is willing to be hypnotized by you in the future, they will be able to enter hypnosis faster and go deeper each time because of the practice they have had.
- Always be sure to emphasize how good the partner is going to feel when the session is over, to insure that the experience is an enjoyable one.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Prepare by familiarizing yourself with questions which are frequently asked by people who are about to experience hypnosis for the first time and the answers to them. It’s good to have a general idea about how to answer questions like these ahead of time, because confidence and trust are so important in determining how a person is going to respond to your induction.
- What are you going to do? I will ask you to visualize some pleasant scenes, while I talk about how to use your own mental abilities more effectively. You can always refuse to do anything that you don’t want to do, and you can always come out of the experience yourself if an emergency should come up.
- What does it feel like to be in hypnosis? Most of us experience changes in our conscious awareness several times a day without realizing it. Any time you let your imagination go and just flow along with a piece of music or a verse of poetry, or get so involved in watching a movie or a television drama that you feel like you a part of the action instead of a part of the audience, you are experiencing a form of trance. Hypnosis is just a way of helping you to focus and define these changes in consciousness, in order to use your mental abilities more effectively.
- Is it safe? Hypnosis is not an altered state of consciousness (as sleep is, for example), but an altered experience of consciousness, which is brought about by using suggestion to re-configure the properties of the imagination. And anything that can be imagined can be un-imagined just as easily.
- If it’s all just your imagination, then, what good is it? Don’t be confused by the tendency in English and many other languages to use the word “imaginary” as opposite in meaning to the word “real” — and neither should it be confused with the term “image.” The imagination is a very real group of mental abilities, whose potential we are just now beginning to explore, and which extends far beyond our ability to form mental images!
- Can you make me do anything I don’t want to do? When you’re using hypnosis, you still have your own personality, and you’re still you — so you won’t say or do anything that you wouldn’t do in the very same situation without hypnosis, and you can easily refuse any suggestion that you don’t want to accept. (That’s why we call them “suggestions.”)
- What can I do in order to respond better? Hypnosis is very similar to letting yourself become absorbed in watching a sunset or the embers of a campfire, letting yourself flow with a piece of music or poetry, or feeling like you are part of the action instead of part of the audience when you are watching a movie. People who do not feel that they have been able to respond very well, on the other hand, sometimes find it difficult to relax in new situations. It all depends on your ability and willingness to go along with the instructions and suggestions that are provided.
- What if I enjoy it so much that I don’t want to come back? Sometimes you might not want a movie to end, because the movie is so enjoyable — but you still come back to the real world, because you know it’s only a motion picture. Hypnotic suggestions are basically an exercise for the mind and the imagination, just like a movie script is. But you still come back to everyday life when the session is over, just like you come back at the end of a movie. However the hypnotist might need to try a couple times to pull you out. It is enjoyable being completely relaxed but you can’t do much when hypnotized.
- What if it doesn’t work? Did you ever become so absorbed in your play as a child that you didn’t hear your mother’s voice calling you in for dinner? Or are you one of the many people who are able to wake up at a certain time each morning, just by deciding the night before that you are going to do so? We all have the ability to use our minds in ways we are not usually aware of, and some of us have developed these abilities more than others. If you just allow your thoughts to respond freely and naturally to the words and images as your guide, you’ll be able to go wherever your mind can take you
- Don’t try to use hypnosis to treat any physical or mental condition (including pain) unless you are a licensed professional who is properly qualified to treat these problems. Hypnosis should never be used by itself as a substitute for counseling or psychotherapy, or to rescue a relationship which is in trouble.
- Though many people have tried, post-hypnotic amnesia is notoriously unreliable as a means of protecting hypnotists from the consequences of their own misconduct. If you try to use hypnosis to get people to do things they would not normally be willing to do, they will usually just come out of hypnosis. If you are going to venture down this road, get them to agree to what you are going to do before the induction. Otherwise, they may never trust you again, tell everyone what you did, take you to court, or worse.
- Don’t try regressing people to when they were young. If you want, tell them to ‘act as if they were ten.’ Some people have repressed memories which you really do not want to bring up (abuse, bullying etc.). They shut out these memories as a natural defense. Oddly, these people are often good at being hypnotized.
- Don’t just sidle up to someone at the mall, or someone who is asleep, and try to hypnotize them on the sly. Though not impossible, it is extremely difficult to hypnotize someone covertly or against their will. Although covert approaches can work occasionally with an unsuspecting person who is caught by surprise, much more often than not, people will catch on to what you are trying to do. They will either laugh at you, or become angry for insulting their intelligence, and/or suspect that you have an ulterior motive and report you as a suspicious person.
- Don’t suggest anything that is against a person’s morals or value systems, or that might be embarrassing to the partner, or anything that you wouldn’t want someone to suggest to you.
- Don’t allow yourself to be fooled by the sensationalism and commercial distortion of advertisers, or by false and misleading portrayals of hypnosis in the mass media, which commonly leads people to believe that hypnotism allows anyone to make other people act like fools with a click of the fingers.
- Ask your partner if he or she has any questions about what has happened, and be prepared to answer them.
- Don’t get hung up on technique. When something works dramatically with some people, and not as well as you want it to with others, this creates a “partial reinforcement” effect which may cause people to go from one book to another, or one training program or conference to another, in search of a “magic bullet” that is going to work with everyone. But despite claims to the contrary, most induction procedures work about equally well, and the differences in responsiveness are due to other factors. Decades of laboratory research involving hundreds of investigators have conclusively demonstrated that for everyone who responds poorly, you are statistically certain to find someone who responds so well that your perseverance in the use of hypnosis will be amply rewarded over time.
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Are you stuck with a lease or loan for a few more months but you just don’t want the vehicle any longer? Many leases, and some loans, allow a new person to assume the remaining term of the lease, taking over the vehicle and the payments on it. To get someone else to take over your car payments, follow the steps below.
Making Sure a Lease or Loan Takeover is Permissible
- Check your lease or loan agreement to ensure it will allow another party to assume the lease or loan. If you are unsure if your lease or loan agreement allows assumption of the obligation, consult an attorney or the lease or loan company.
Finding Someone to Take Over
- Find someone willing to take over your loan or lease. Ways to find someone wants to take over your payments include:
- Use an online listing. Several websites offer listings of vehicles whose owners are looking for someone to assume the lease. Lease Trader and Take My Payments are two reputable companies offering listings to owners who are looking for someone to take over their car payments.
- Run an ad in your local paper. The classified section of your local paper is a good place for an ad seeking potential drivers to assume your lease or take over your loan. Run an ad with a photograph of the vehicle, mileage, general condition, amount of monthly payment, and term remaining on the lease.
- Use social media websites. If you use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or any other social media site, post an ad on it. Be sure to include a photograph and the amount of the monthly payments, as well as the remaining term of the lease.
- Talk to friends, family, and co-workers. Let friends, family, and co-workers know that you are looking for someone to take over your loan or lease.
Transferring the Vehicle
- Contact your lease or loan company. Each financial institution has its own procedure for lease or loan assumption. The procedure generally includes:
- Submission of credit application by the new owner. When taking over a loan or a lease, a potential owner/lessee will have to fill out a credit application and be approved for the total amount remaining on the loan or lease.
- Payoff or transfer of the current loan or lease. Once the new owner/lessee is approved for purchase/lease of the vehicle, the lease or title will be transferred to him or her or your loan paid and a new loan given to the new owner.
- Creation of new lease or loan in new lessee/owner’s name. When a loan or lease for the vehicle has been opened or transferred, the new owner/lessee becomes responsible for the remaining payments on it.
- Prepare the vehicle for its new owner. When turning over a vehicle to a new owner, you will want to be sure to:
- Remove all personal items. Get your iPod, gloves, charger cord, and any other items of personal property out of the vehicle.
- Clean the interior of the vehicle. Wipe down the dash, doors, and steering wheel, and clean the inside and outside of all the windows.
- Wash the car. Take the vehicle through the car wash or wash it yourself. Be sure to put a nice wax on it when you are through.
- Turn over the vehicle to the financial institution holding the loan or lease. Follow the instructions you have been given by your lease or loan company to turn the vehicle over. Most companies will pick up the vehicle if you so choose.
- If you are in possession of the title to the vehicle, you will need to sign it over to the new owner or your financial institution. Check with the loan or lease company for instructions on whom to sign over title to.
If you know someone close to you that is suffering from depression, it can be difficult, confusing, and saddening, not just for him or her, but for you as well. You want to be able to help your loved one, but need to make sure you also say and do the right things. If you’re looking for some ways to help someone cope with depression, these tips are for you.
Recognize the Problem
- Learn everything you can about clinical depression. Find out about symptoms of depression and how to tell if your loved one is depressed or just going through a rough patch. Educate yourself on the issues that you should be careful about, and learn how to support your friend in the best way.
- You can learn more about depression by reading about it online.
- If you have a friend or family member who suffered from depression in the past, then talking to a real person about it can help you understand if your loved one is dealing with the same problems.
- If you know any doctors who are experts in depression, talk to them to gain insight into the problem.
- After your research, the most important thing to understand is that your loved one is not “just sad” but suffering from a serious, and in many cases debilitating, medical condition.
- Recognize the signs of depression in your loved one. After you’ve read up on depression, you will have a better sense of whether or not your loved one is truly suffering from the condition. Still, you don’t have to be a doctor to be able to recognize many of the signs of depression. Here are some ways to tell if your loved one is truly suffering from depression:
- If he or she has become a completely different person. If six months ago, you were always having fun with your friend, and now he speaks in monosyllables and you can barely have a conversation without having a sense of his sadness, then chances are, he is suffering from depression and can’t channel his real self.
- If the person feels generally sad and hopeless about everything in his or her life. If the person expresses no excitement when speaking about the future because he can’t believe that things will ever get better.
- If the person never wants to do anything or go anywhere. If the person doesn’t want to leave the house or interact with others.
- If the person has completely stopped caring about his appearance, proper grooming, or can’t remember the last time he showered.
- If he used to be an active person and now spends most of his time sleeping or in bed.
- If you can’t remember the last time your loved one laughed or said something positive.
- If he is in a constant state of despair.
- Have a conversation about your loved one’s depression. Once you’ve recognized that your loved one is suffering from depression, you should be honest and have an open conversation with that person. If he or she doesn’t admit that there is a real problem at stake, then your loved one will never get better. Here’s how to do it:
- Be firm. Make it clear that you’re worried about your friend and think he or she has a real problem. Don’t let him or her brush it off by saying he’s just having “a bad month” — don’t let the person you care about change the subject.
- Don’t be confrontational. Remember that your loved one is suffering from an emotional problem and is in a very vulnerable state. Though it’s important to be firm, don’t come off too strong in the beginning. Instead of saying, “You’re depressed. How are we going to deal with it?” start off with the words, “I’ve noticed that you’ve been pretty down lately. What do you think has been going on?” Try to get the friend to reach the same conclusion before you do.
- Discuss the next steps. Once your friend has admitted to having depression, you can talk about ways to start addressing it. Does your friend want to address a major problem in his life, or just try to spend more time with loved ones and put himself out there again?
Turn to Others For Help
- Recognize when your friend should seek professional help. Before you two try to tackle the problem on your own, you should understand that untreated depression is very serious and that while you can help, your friend should also see a doctor.
- A medical professional will have a better understanding of your friend’s condition, and a stronger sense of steps that should be taken, especially if your friend is in need of medication. You can accompany your friend to see the doctor so he is more comfortable.
- If your friend is having suicidal thoughts or talking about suicide, he or she should seek professional help immediately. This is no joke. Don’t take your friend’s hints at suicide lightly and make him or her see a doctor right away. You should also alert people in your loved one’s circle about the severity of his or her feelings.
- Communicate with other people in the person’s support network. You shouldn’t be the only person who is trying to help your friend. Contact family, friends, or clergy. By talking to other caregivers, you will pick up additional information and perspective about your loved one and will feel less alone with the situation.
- You could even arrange for all of the caregivers to meet together for a brainstorming or support session, if you feel it is appropriate. Then you will be working as part of a team—and be encouraged that you are not alone.
- Be careful when you tell other people about the person’s depression. People can be judgmental if they do not understand the issue fully, so choose carefully as to whom you tell.
Provide Emotional Support
- Be a good listener. The best thing you can do is listen to your loved one talk about the depression. Be prepared to hear anything that he or she may say, and try not to look too shocked even if he or she is saying something truly awful, because that will shut them down. Be open and caring.
- When your loved one tells you something very upsetting, encourage him or her by saying, “It must have been very difficult for you to tell me that” or “Thank you so much for opening up.”
- Give your loved one absolute attention. Put away your phone, make eye contact, and show that you are giving 100 percent of your effort to your conversation.
- If your loved one won’t talk, ask the right questions. Ask a few gently-phrased questions to get your loved one to open up, even if you just ask about how he or she spent the week.
- Know what to say. What a person suffering from depression needs most is compassion and understanding. Not only do you have to listen well, but you have to be sensitive about what you say when you talk about the depression.
- Telling someone to “snap out of it” or “lighten up” is an awful, unhelpful thing to say. Be sensitive. Think about how you’d like it if someone told you to pull your socks up when you feel as if the world is against you and everything is falling apart. Realize this is a temporary but very real and painful state for the sufferer.
- The best things to say are, “How can I help you?” or “I will always be here for you. I won’t leave you to face this on your own.”
- Be aware that your loved one may not be honest about how bad he or she is feeling. Many depressed people are ashamed of their condition and lie about their depression, so if someone says, “Are you okay?” they will say “yes,” but you have to make sure they can tell you how they really feel.
- Don’t try to talk the depressed person out of his or her feelings. The depressed person’s feelings may be irrational, but saying that he or she is wrong or arguing with him or her is not the way to go. Instead, you might try saying, “I’m sorry that you’re feeling bad. What can I do to help?”
- Stay in contact. Call your loved one, write him or her an encouraging card or letter, or visit him or her at home. This will show that you will stick by him or her no matter what. There are many different ways to stay in contact with the person you care about.
- Make a point of seeing your loved one as often as you can without overwhelming him or her.
- If you’re working, email him or her to check in.
- If you can’t call every day, communicate through texting as often as you can.
- Step back every so often. You may become frustrated when your well-meaning advice and reassurance are met with sullenness and resistance. Importantly, don’t take your loved one’s pessimism personally––it’s a symptom of the illness and isn’t a reflection of you. If you feel that this pessimism is taking up too much of your energies, take a break and spend time doing something that you find inspiring and enjoyable––this is especially important if you live with the person and find it hard to get away otherwise.
- Direct your frustration at the illness, not the person.
- Even if you don’t hang out, make sure to check in at least once a day so you know your loved one is coping.
Provide Physical Support
- Get your loved one out of the house. If your loved one spends some time outdoors instead of being holed up at home, he will feel better, even if only a little bit. Offering to do something together can help your friend to even get outside in the first place, in itself something that can be monumentally difficult for a person suffering from depression. Do whatever you can to get your loved one to spend time getting some fresh air. Here’s what to do:
- Enjoy the sun. Sunshine will improve anyone’s mood, and just stepping out to enjoy the sunlight can make your loved one feel better.
- Go for walks. You don’t have to train for a marathon together, but if you try to go for 20-minute walk with your loved one, or to engage in low-stress activities such as taking a walk, your loved one will feel better after engaging in some physical activity outdoors.
- Encourage your loved one to do yoga outdoors, or to swim, or do any other activity that keeps him outside. Remember that if your friend is very depressed, these activities would cause more stress than they would relieve. But if your friend is amenable to trying new things and is having a relatively good day, ask him or her to try an outdoor activity.
- Encourage your friend to pursue new interests. Your friend will be less depressed if he or she has something to engage in and look forward to. While you shouldn’t force your friend to take up skydiving or learn the entirety of the Japanese language, encouraging your loved one to have some interests can help take the focus of his or her depression.
- Find some uplifting literature for your friend to read. You can read together in a park, or discuss the book when he’s done.
- Bring over a movie by your new favorite director. Your friend can fall in love with a new range of movies, and you can keep your friend company while you watch.
- Suggest that your friend try to express his or her artistic side. Drawing, painting, or writing poetry can help your friend express him or herself. Just make sure that the depression is not the only thing your friend can think about.
- Just be there to improve your loved one’s everyday life. You can encourage your loved one to try new things and get outside, but sometimes the best thing you can do is be there for all of the mundane things. This can help your loved one feel less alone.
- Being there for low-key activities like making lunch or watching TV can make a big difference.
- You can ease the depressed person’s burden by helping with the small things — running errands, shopping for food and necessities, cooking, cleaning, or doing your loved one’s laundry.
- Depending on the situation, giving your loved one healthy physical contact, like a hug, can help him feel better.
Don’t Forget About Yourself
- Take good care of yourself. It is easy to get wrapped up in your friend’s problems and lose sight of yourself. You may also experience “contagious depression,” or you may get your own issues triggered. Recognize that your feelings of frustration, helplessness, and anger are perfectly normal.
- If you have too many personal issues of your own to sort out, you may not be fully able to help your friend. Don’t use your friend’s problems as a means to avoid your own.
- Recognize when your efforts to help the other person are keeping you from enjoying your life or taking care of the things that matter the most to you. If your depressed loved one has become too dependent on you, that is not healthy for either of you.
- If you feel that you’re getting seriously affected by your friend’s depression, seek help.
- Make time for life away from your depressed loved one. Though you’re being an incredible friend by providing emotional and physical support, remember to make time for “me time” so you can enjoy a healthy and relaxing life.
- Hang out with plenty of friends and family members who are not depressed, and enjoy their company.
- Be healthy. Get outdoors, train for a 5K, or walk to the Farmer’s Market. Do what you have to do to retain your inner-strength.
- Make time to laugh. If you can’t make your depressed loved one laugh a little bit, take the time to hang out with funny people, watch a comedy, or read something hilarious online.
- Don’t feel guilty about enjoying your life. Your friend is depressed, but you are not, and you are allowed to enjoy your existence. Remind yourself that if you’re not feeling like your best self, you won’t be able to help your friend.
- Be patient. Things like this take time.
- Never, ever, ever tell your friend, “Don’t be a drama queen,” “Get over yourself” “Stop being selfish” or anything of the sort. This will push your friend further over the edge and cause more pain.
- Try to hold as much positive conversation as possible. Don’t be forcefully perky, but show your friend a better angle of their life and situation.
- Remind your friend that depression is treatable and they will feel better again.
- Try to cheer your friend up and make him or her laugh, but don’t overdo it. People don’t appreciate being told to “laugh” or “cheer up!” when they feel extremely depressed, though if they seem better than usual, you can carefully try to improve their mood or distract them.
- Take care of yourself as well. You’re entering a highly stressful situation, and it could can put you under lots of emotional strain. Know when to pull back.
- Monitor possible suicidal gestures or threats. Statements such as “I wish I were dead,” or “I don’t want to be here anymore” must be taken seriously. Depressed people who talk about suicide are not doing it for the attention. If the person you care about is suicidal, make sure that a doctor or trained professional is informed as soon as possible.
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Love is so special precisely because it has the ability to hurt us when it fails. Don’t take the failure personally. Relationships fail every day, and not always because there isn’t enough love to go around. Whatever the reason, learning how to move on from a person you loved deeply is an extremely difficult process, and one that takes time. Luckily, it’s done every day, and done with success. Learn how by reading on!
Part One: Changing Your Mindset
- Realize that you may still love this person. If it feels as if you can’t let go, it’s for a reason. You shared wonderful times with this person, and you gave them a big piece of your conscience and your heart. Now that you’ve decided to move on, start looking at the person not as you want them to be, but as they truly are.
- If they lie or deceive you or change their mind about their feelings toward you, realize that it’s not a healthy relationship for you. You may feel misunderstood and angry. Forgetting this person may be very hard, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t move on in life.
- Realize, too, that moving on doesn’t mean you have to stop loving the person. It just means that your love for them changes. You’ll still look out for the person, wish the best for them, and hope they find happiness in life. Moving on doesn’t mean you have to forsake them as a person; it just means you have to do better for yourself.
- Believe in yourself. You have so much to offer. Love is often about learning about yourself through others. You’ll continue to learn as you grow and as you experience more love. How will your next potential love believe in you if you don’t believe it yourself?
- Understand that there are other people out there — you just can’t see them. You obviously have been in love with this person so much or so long that it has gotten you to the point where there’s no other person in the world but them. Moving on is the hardest part and it can take a long time, but life is too short to live it down in the dumps.
- We’d like to live in a fairy tale world where everything goes exactly according to plan and there’s no adversity, but that’s not real life. Plenty of people date more than a handful of people in their lives before settling down. That’s a handful of opportunities to explore love.
- Try to be optimistic. Look at the glass as being half-full. Think “I’m single now!” instead of “I lost my partner”. Think “I get to meet so many new people now” instead of “I lost the person I knew.” Being optimistic helps you recover quicker.
- Realize you may have loved that person more than they loved you. This one may be hard because most chances are that the person doesn’t know how deeply in love you are (or were) with them. But this is OK. It doesn’t mean you’re not lovable, or attractive, or captivating. It just means that there’s another opportunity to find someone who will love you just as much as you love them.
- If you think that you may have loved the other person more than they loved you, use that as motivation. Think about it: would you rather have someone who loved you less than you loved them, or someone who loved you just as much?
- Don’t succumb to the “I might not find anyone better” idea. Don’t settle for something that’s not working for you. Go out there, believe in your standards, and try to find the person you want. It’s better to be independent and happy than it is to be in a relationship with someone you have to settle for at the end of the day.
- If you told the person you love how you feel and there’s no response, understand that there is little point in further contact. The ship has already sailed, and it’s probably for the best. If the person you love doesn’t dignify you with a response, you have to dignify yourself by moving on.
- Talk to someone neutral who has been through the same situation. Maybe a best friend, or a parent, or a mentor. If you have to, go see a therapist. Venting your emotions and thoughts with someone neutral can be naturally healing and can help the ‘letting go’ process move along.
- Deal with pain in constructive ways. Don’t pretend it’s not there. Find creative outlets, such as art or communication, to channel your pain into. Try to keep your mind off it most of the time, as fixating on your pain may make it worse.
- Decide if you want to remain friends. It’s up to you. It’s very hard to juggle the friendship of a former lover with your newfound independence. Most people think it’s easiest to fall into a friendly, but distant, friendship after you’ve moved on, but only you can decide for yourself.
Part Two: Regaining Your Independence
- Take a trip somewhere. It doesn’t have to be fancy — although a trip to Tahiti or India might be nice! — so long as it’s a change of scenery with something to keep you busy and make you feel refreshed. Many people think that the change of scenery helps to put things into perspective.
- Interact with the locals. What’s the use of going someplace new if you keep to entirely to yourself? Unless you’re going camping or on an expedition by yourself, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t interact, share stories, or just hang out with them. Remember what Eleanor Roosevelt said: “Do one thing that scares you every day.”
- Set aside some “me-time.” Start feeling encouraged about being independent. If you can’t learn to live with and be happy by yourself, how is another potential lover going to live with and be happy with you?
- Lean on your friends and family. Your friends and family are there for you unconditionally — use them! When you’re feeling down, plan a trip back home or a get-together with a friend. Your friends and family love you just as much as a romantic partner might, only in a different way.
- Confide in your best friend(s) about what’s going on. If you’re open to being given advice, ask for it. Your best friend sees you in a way that you probably can’t, and may give you a really fresh perspective. If nothing else, your best friend will give you an opportunity to express yourself and make you feel valued.
- Remove all the mementos of your former relationship from your eyesight. It doesn’t sound all that fun, but it’s essential. Moving on is all about living in the future, not the past. Take all pictures, notes, movie stubs, stuffed animals, etc., and place them in storage. It will hurt, but then it will feel uplifting.
- Remember that remove doesn’t mean destroy. You probably want to hold on to all the mementos. Just as you probably don’t want to completely forget the person you loved, you probably don’t want to completely forget the relationship you once had. You may even want to look at the mementos once you’ve completely moved on.
- As you grieve, remember to express yourself. A lot of people decide to start a journal in which to write down their feelings. Whenever you feel inspired, grab a piece of paper and jot down your thoughts. Leave a trail of self-expression so that when you come across it after you’ve healed, you’ll know how strong you needed to be to get through it all.
- How are you feeling? What are you feeling? What might you have felt in a similar situation five years before? What might you feel in a similar situation five years from now? Reflect on what the relationship meant to you, even if you just think it over in your head.
- Self-expression doesn’t have to be writing. It can be painting, drawing, dancing, building, sculpting, or running. Whatever it is, put your heart and soul into it, and whatever comes out will be rewarding.
- When you are ready, starting looking for love again. This process could take several months, or even a year. Don’t force it if you’re not ready; it’s not fair to you, and it’s certainly not fair to the other person. Know that there are plenty of other people out there who would value and respect you if given a chance.
- Many people choose to go on “rebound” dates to make the loss of the loved one easier. If you choose to do this, try to do it for the right reasons: you want to feel affection, your interested in meeting other people, you think you have something to offer. Don’t do rebound dating if you’re just trying to make the other person jealous; it’s not worth it.
- Learn from your mistakes. When you search for a new person to share your love with, don’t invite another heartbreak by making the same mistakes all over again. Take the flaws in your past relationship and improve them. Take the flaws in your last partner and look for more maturity in the next one.
- Be yourself. No matter who you meet, be yourself. In order for someone to be loved, they have to give their all to someone else. They have to be willing to accept their flaws, present them to their partner, and know that their partner will accept them too.
- Don’t make someone a priority who only makes you an option.
- If you get feelings of anger or depression, don’t try and get revenge, just talk to one of your friends about it. No one is worth feeling that much pain over.
- Remember that you will forget them eventually but you’re going to have to stop doing things that constantly remind you of them. Life is way too short to be worrying about this. Live it to its fullest.
- If you get hurt over and over again, it’s not the end. Just realize that you may be making the same mistake, and try to correct it if possible.
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One of the thorniest and most difficult things we humans are ever called upon to do is to respond to evil with kindness, and to forgive the unforgivable. We love to read stories about people who have responded to hatred with love, but when that very thing is demanded of us personally, our default seems to be anger, angst (dread or anguish), depression, righteousness, hatred, etc. Yet study after study shows that one of the keys to longevity and good health is to develop a habit of gratitude and let go of past hurts.
Want to live a long, happy life? Forgive the unforgivable. It really is the kindest thing you can do for yourself. Your enemy may not deserve to be forgiven for all the pain and sadness and suffering purposefully inflicted on your life, but you deserve to be free of this evil. As Ann Landers often said, “hate is like an acid. It damages the vessel in which it is stored, and destroys the vessel on which it is poured.”
- Realize that the hate you feel toward your adversary does not harm him or her in the slightest. Chances are, your enemy has gone on with life and hasn’t given you another thought. “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for it to kill your enemy.”
- Understand that the best revenge against your enemies is to live a successful and happy life. Want to get even with someone who tried to destroy you? Show them and show yourself (and the world) that the obstacles they tried to create were not significant enough to disable you and/or destroy you.
- Realize that the second best revenge is to turn the evil into something good, to find the proverbial silver lining in the dark cloud. Think of your enemy as someone who has helped you to grow. Even though unfortunate things happen to us, the best thing we can do is take those opportunities as tests that will either destroy or strengthen us. If you’ve been through something, it didn’t destroy you – take what you learned and become a better person because of it.
Look at the situation from an eagle’s eye.
Make a list of the good things that emerged as a result of this awful experience. You’ve probably focused long enough on the negative parts of this experience. Look at the problem from a completely new angle; look at the positive side. The first item on that list may be long overdue because you have focused on the negative for so long. See if you can identify 10 positive outcomes of this experience.
- Look for the helpers. Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers) related that, as a little boy, he’d often become upset about major catastrophes in the news. His mother would tell him, “look for the helpers.” In your own nightmarish experience, think back to the people who helped you. Think about their kindness and selflessness Practice what you have learned from them.
- Was someone your “Good Samaritan”? In this biblical story, a traveler helps a poor soul who was beaten up on the road to Jericho and left for dead. Perhaps this isn’t all about you. Perhaps your trial provided an opportunity for others to rise to an occasion to provide you with help and support.
- Be compassionate with yourself. If you’ve ruminated over this problem for a long time, steering this boat into a new direction could take some time, too. As you try to make a new path out of the dark woods of this old hurt, you’ll make mistakes. Forgive yourself. Be patient and kind to yourself. Extreme emotional pain has a profound effect on the body. Give yourself time to heal – physically and emotionally. Eat well. Rest. Focus on the natural beauty in the world. Give yourself permission to feel the emotions and process them. Don’t bottle up the pain.
- Learn that the Aramaic word for “forgive” means literally to “untie.” The fastest way to free yourself from an enemy and all associated negativity is to forgive. Untie the bindings and loosen yourself from that person’s ugliness. Your hatred has tied you to the person responsible for your pain. Your forgiveness enables you to start walking away from him or her and the pain. Forgiveness is for you and not the other party. Freeing yourself through forgiveness is like freeing yourself from chains of bondage or from prison.
- Learn how to balance trust with wisdom. It’s a fact that not all of our fellow humans are trustworthy. Painful memories can serve to protect us from future hurts. As author Rose Sweet writes, “A lack of trust is sometimes simply recognizing another’s limitations”.
- Forgiveness is not acceptance of wrong behavior. If you must continue to interact with someone who has wronged you, who has offered a lame apology only to follow it up with more bad behavior, nothing requires you to trust such a person. This person isn’t likely to ever be trustworthy — you must keep a distance. While it’s fruitless to torment yourself over this person’s actions, you should not be his or her willing victim. Acknowledge; move on.
- An offender who wants reconciliation must do his or her part: offer a sincere apology, promise not to repeat the offense (or similar ones), make amends, and give it time. If you don’t see repentance, understand that according forgiveness to that person is a benefit to yourself, not to the offender.
- Unless those who have harmed us have truly repented of whatever they have done, we need to use wisdom in avoiding repeating the hurt. This may require avoiding those who are unrepentant of the harm that they have inflicted upon us. It would be wise to balance forgiveness against the certain knowledge that evil exists, and some people enjoy harming others.
- Stop telling “the story.” How many times this week did you tell “the story” about how badly you were hurt and how horribly you were wronged? How many times a day do you think about this hurt? It is a stake driven into the ground that keeps you from moving away from this hurt. Rather, forgive your enemy because it’s the kindest thing you can do for your friends and family. Negativity is depressing – physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.
- Tell “the story” from the other person’s perspective. Actually imagine that you are the other person (the one who offended you) and use the word “I” when saying what that person would say. You, most likely, don’t know exactly what s/he was thinking when this event unfolded but pretend that you do, and just go with the story that comes up in your head. Sit down with a friend, or maybe even the person you are trying to forgive, and tell the story as though you are that person. It is important to do this verbally and not just in your head. Realize in advance that this is not an easy exercise, but it holds great power. Your willingness to tell the story from the offender’s perspective requires an effort at forgiveness. Also, realize that this is not a contradiction to the preceding paragraph since this perspective will change your story.
Retrain your thinking. When your enemy and his or her evil actions come to mind, send him or her a blessing. Wish your enemy well. Hope the best for him or her. This has two effects. One, it neutralizes that acid of hate that destroys the vessel in which it is stored. The evil we wish for another seems to have a rebound effect. The same is true for the good that we wish for another. When you make yourself able to return blessing for hatred, you’ll know that you’re well on the path to wholeness. The first 15 – or 150 – times you try this, the “blessing” may feel contrived, empty, and even hypocritical but keep trying. Eventually, it will become a new habit and soon thereafter, the anger and pain that has burned in your heart will evaporate, like dew in the morning sun. This technique forces your mind to overcome the cognitive dissonance between hating someone and acting with compassion toward him or her. Since there is no way to take back the kind gesture to agree with your hatred, the only thing your mind can do is change your belief about the person to match. You will begin to say to yourself, “S/he is deserving of a blessing, and indeed, must need one very much.”
- Maintain perspective: While the “evil” actions of your “enemy” are hurtful to you and your immediate surroundings, the rest of the world goes on unaware. Validate their meaning in your life, but never lose perspective that others are not involved and do not deserve anything to be taken out on them. Your enemy is someone else’s beloved child, someone’s employee, or a child’s parent.
- Keep the following quotes in mind if you’re finding it hard to generate positive feelings for the person:
- “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” – Lewis B. Smedes
- “Those who are the hardest to love, need it the most.”
- “Follow peace with all men, and holiness,” -Hebrews 12:14.”
- “As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.” -The Desiderata by Max Ehrmann
- “Hating someone is drinking poison and expecting the other person to die from it.”
- “If we could read the secret history of our enemies we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
- “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” – The Golden Rule
- “Correct and courteous words accompanied by forgiveness are better than charity followed by insulting words.” – The Qur’an 2:263
- “Be kind, for all you meet, are fighting a great battle.”- Philo
- “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. But whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble.” 1 John 2:9,10-The Bible
- “Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.” 1 John 3:15- The Bible
- “The hatred you’re carrying is a live coal in your heart – far more damaging to yourself than to them.” Lawana Blackwell, The Dowry of Miss Lydia Clark, 1999.
- “The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.”
- “But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Mark 11:26.
- “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” Matthew 6:14
- Put your best mental energies (perhaps first thing in the morning) into visualizing the new life you want. See yourself – in the future – as free of this pain and suffering..
- Sometimes it helps to think of how others have forgiven under incredible circumstances. Ask friends for support and examples to motivate you toward forgiveness.
- Forgiveness is a choice. When you say, “I can’t forgive that person,” what you’re really saying is, “I’m choosing not to forgive that person.” If you say, “I can forgive”, you’ll find yourself forgiving soon.
- Forgive him or her, don’t tell them, that’s the answer! Forgiveness is yours and only yours , to live without forgiveness is a life full if hurt.
- Forgiveness is hard, but living with a grudge is even harder. Keeping grudges bottled up can be very dangerous, and can hurt people in ways you might have not imagined.
- True forgiveness is unconditional and not predicated on any act or request from the offender. The type of forgiveness discussed here is intended to free you from the impotent rage, depression, and despair that nursing a grievance causes.
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Everybody gets sad from time to time. Cheering someone up is all about taking the time to listen to them, empathizing with what they’re going through, and helping them get a bit of perspective. If you want to know how to cheer someone up, here are some simple steps to help you get them started on the way to healing.
Part One: Listening and Relating
- Listen to them. Half of the time, sad or stressed people aren’t really looking for an answer; they just want to be listened to and have a chance to vent. Do you know why they’re sad? Do they seem like they might be in a talkative mood? Pull up a chair, offer a smile, and give them a shoulder to cry on.
- Never interrupt them in the middle of their story. Unless there is a pause that tells you commentary is okay, keep your side comments to “Oh” and “Man”. Otherwise, you could come off as very rude, making them feel even worse.
- Seem genuinely interested in what their problem is, even if you couldn’t care less or don’t really know how to relate. The more interested in their problem you are, the more interested in them you seem, and isn’t that the very heart of the issue? People want other people to care for them and be invested in their success. Try to communicate that.
- Don’t let them feel like a burden. A lot of times, people are hesitant to trust other people with their problems because they don’t want the listener to feel saddled with responsibilities. If necessary, assure the person who needs cheering up that they aren’t in any way a burden, and that you’re happy to listen and offer advice if you can.
- Ask them relevant questions. There’s no better way to get invested in the conversation than asking questions, especially questions about how the other person feels. Relevant questions, however, are the key here. Asking questions that have nothing to do with the problem will confuse them, discouraging them from opening up.
- Here are some great general questions to ask the person in need of cheering up. Hopefully, they’ll motivate the person to talk about their feelings, helping them vent:
- “How does that make you feel?”
- “Has this ever happened to you before?”
- “Is there anyone specifically who you could turn to who could give you advice?”
- “What do you think you’ll do when it comes time to act?”
- “Is there any way that I can help?” (Be prepared to help them!)
- Relate to them, if appropriate, making sure not to take the spotlight from them. Don’t steal the attention away from them, but offer a similar story or experience that you’ve gone through if you think it might help. Any lessons that you learned can be really helpful, even if they’re ultimately not appropriate for the other person.
- Relating to someone else is all about the way you say something, not what you say. If someone tells you their father has just been diagnosed with cancer, it’s not really helpful to say: “Well if it makes you feel any better, my grandpa was just diagnosed with cancer too.” Instead, say something like: “I know how devastating this kind of thing can be. My grandpa was diagnosed with cancer last spring, and it was gut-wrenching for me to deal with it. I can only imagine what kind of pain you’re going through right now.”
- After listening, give them advice if they ask for it. After figuring out just what the problem is, take a little bit of time to deliberate over what their best course of action might be. Tell them if you have an idea of what they could do.
- Remember, there’s rarely a single, perfect fix for a problem. Be sure to offer the person you’re comforting one option, and make sure they understand that they have other options. One way to do this is to give them advice by using words like “perhaps,” “maybe,” “might,” etc. This way they won’t feel guilty if they decide not to follow your advice.
- Try to be honest to them, too. The worst thing you can do to someone in such a fragile state is outright lie. If you’re talking about subjects with serious consequences, try to tell the truth, even if it might hurt. If your girlfriend is asking advice about her boyfriend who dumped her, however, it’s okay to call the boyfriend a scumbag even if he’s alright. In that case, making her feel better is more important than telling the truth.
- Be careful about giving unsolicited advice, or advice that people don’t ask for. The other person may not want it, and if they follow it and fail (by no fault of your own), they could blame you.
- Be optimistic. Look on the sunny side of life. Focus on the half-full, not the half-empty. Being optimistic is a mindset, and it can be infectious if used in the right way. Be on the lookout for interesting, exciting, or uplifting opportunities that your friend might have overlooked while they were busy being pessimistic.
- There’s almost always a silver lining to a problem. We sometimes don’t want to look at it, but it’s usually there. Here are some upsides to the problems that people typically want cheering up for:
- My partner/significant other broke up with me. “Don’t worry about someone who doesn’t value you completely as a person. If s/he doesn’t get how special you are, they probably don’t deserve you. There are plenty of other eligible people out there who will.”
- Someone in my family/social circle died. “Death is natural byproduct of life. While you can’t bring the person back, you can celebrate how much they affected your life, and perhaps how much you changed theirs. Be grateful for the time you did get to spend with them.”
- I lost my job. “Your job is an important reflection of who you are, but it’s not the whole picture. Think of the lessons you learned while at your job, and try to find ways to apply them to your next job in the future. Finding a job is all about working harder than everyone else. Be motivated to show employers how much more qualified you are than everyone else.”
- I don’t have confidence in myself. “You have so much to be confident about. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses; it’s what makes us unique and beautiful. I like you just the way you are. I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t have just as much confidence as the person next door.”
- I don’t know what’s wrong, I just know I feel bad. “It’s okay to feel blue. Our happy moments are made even brighter by the darker ones. Don’t force it if you don’t feel like it, but think of how lucky you are compared to other people. That always manages to help me.”
Part Two: Offering Gestures of Kindness
- Give them a gift. Can you remember a time when someone gave you a gift without an obligation to do so? How warm and fuzzy did you feel inside when it happened? Giving a gift to someone can brighten their whole day, helping them understand that the gesture of the gift is more important than the gift itself.
- Think about what that person loves the most in the world and see if you can’t surprise them with it. Maybe they love food; so surprise them with dinner, or get them cooking classes. Maybe they love musicals; so surprise them with a movie night or tickets to a show.
- A gift doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, or even be a physical thing, to have an impact. Take them to your secret thinking spot, or show them how to fold an origami crane. Small gestures like these are often more priceless than something you can buy in a store.
- Offer them something old and cared for. An old heirloom or keepsake is emotionally resonant because you’ve held on to it for a long time, and therefore cherish it. Old items are also symbol messages that life moves on, even when we can’t imagine that it will.
- Try to make them smile. Make them smile by reminding them how much you care about them and smile a reassuring smile yourself. Or maybe, if you know they’ll be okay with it, you could even tickle them!
- Jokes and funny stories are always good ice-breakers after you’ve talked about a problem for a long time. The joke doesn’t need to be a knee-slapper, but if it’s said at the right time, it’ll have a huge effect.
- Don’t be afraid to make fun of yourself. Making fun of the person you’re cheering up is hard. Making fun of yourself is easy: Highlight a time when you embarrassed yourself, did something stupid, or got caught in a situation where you were way over your head. Your friend will appreciate the humor.
- Try to take their mind off it. Now that you’ve listened, offered advice and extended a hand of kindness, try to make sure they don’t let their problem/s weigh them down or depress them. Don’t say something like “Anyway, blah blah” or “Get over it, it’s not that bad” because that undoes everything you’ve just worked for. Instead, give them some time to get their bearings, and then try saying something like “Want to hear a funny story?” and see how they respond to it.
- Don’t be sad yourself. If you are down in the dumps, how are you going to cheer up your friend? Strike a good balance between concerned — you want them know that you’re not happy that they’re not happy — and optimistic — being a happy-go-lucky, glass-half-full kind of person. It’s a lot of work, and it can be emotionally grinding, but your friend is worth it, right?
- Help them out and do as much as you can for them, so they still know that someone cares. This builds trust. They know they can rely on you. Do this, always, with a smile.
- Offer to take their mind off of it with an activity, like going to the movies, going on a hike, swimming, or gaming. If they don’t want to be distracted, don’t pester them about it: You can’t help people who don’t want to help themselves. Stay happy, stay dedicated, and stay available until they want to sort things out or forget about it.
- Some ideas for gifts:
- One of those scented stress relief candles.
- Chocolate! (If the person/people in question are not allergic.)
- A humorous certificate of some “achievement.” For example, if they broke up with someone and are sad about that, give them a certificate labeling them “Sob Story Of The Year.” (Only do this if they’re in a state able to accept it, however. See Warnings, below.)
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This is an emergency guide designed to quickly give you information you need to help you assist someone who falls through ice into water. Other wikiHow articles provide more detailed information on assessing the safety of ice and surviving a fall through ice on your own.
Talking the victim out
- Remain calm and do not run out onto the ice. Would-be rescuers frequently become victims when they fall through the ice as well. You should avoid approaching the hole in the ice unless the victim is unconscious or in imminent danger of slipping into the water and drowning, either from weakness or an inability to swim.
Ice rescue drill: Rescuers need to proceed with care when heading across the ice.
- Call for help. Dial your country’s emergency number (911 in the U.S./Canada, 999 in the UK, 112 from other European areas and mobiles in Europe), or your local emergency dispatcher to have trained rescuers/paramedics sent to the scene.
- Try to talk the victim out. If the victim just fell in and remains conscious, he or she can most likely get out without physical assistance.
Ice rescue drill: Talking to and reassuring the victim.
- Tell the victim to keep calm. Reassure the person that you know what to do and that you will come to them if necessary. Let them know, truthfully, that as long as they stay afloat, they have plenty of time. They’ll experience a “cold shock” for the first 1-3 minutes, during which they’ll hyperventilate, so the important thing is for the person to keep their head above water.
- Encourage the victim to control their breathing. They will most likely be hyperventilating. Advise them to take deep, slow breaths through pursed lips.
- Tell the person to swim to the edge of the ice and use their elbows to lift themselves partially out of the water. Have them go to the edge of the ice where they were coming from, since it held their weight up until that point, whereas the ice around the other edges might be weak. The weight of their wet clothes will probably make it impossible for them to lift themselves up out of the water––the main objective is for them to just get a grip on the edge of the ice, so don’t let them waste energy trying to pull themselves out. If they have any keys or sharp objects to use as picks, encourage them to use them, or if you have them, slide them to the victim.
- Instruct them to kick their legs and to try to get as horizontal as possible while using their upper body to drag themselves out. They should kick their legs as they would if they were swimming and come out of the hole in a horizontal position (belly against the ice).
- Once they are out of the water, advise them to roll away from the hole to avoid breaking the ice again. Don’t let them stand up or get on their knees, as that could break the ice.
Pulling the victim out
- Throw the person a line if they are unable to get out of the water on their own.
Ice rescue drill: Throw the victim a line.
- Get a rope, extension cord (unplugged), or any other sort of strong line that you can find.
- Since the victim’s cold hands may not be able to grip the line, tie a loop (not a slip knot—preferably a bowline knot) at the end of the rope and tell them to put their arms through the loop and then bend their arms to touch their shoulders so that the rope is inside the bend of their elbows. Alternatively, they can put the loop over their head and slide it down under their arms.
- If you can’t find a line, extend the victim anything that can they can grab on to, such as a long, sturdy branch or a hockey stick.
- Remain at a safe distance from the weak ice, and keep a strong grip on the rope or object. If you must approach, always spread your weight as much as possible. At a minimum, crawl on your belly––never walk. Another easy way to move with your weight spread out is to lay down with your hands above your head and roll on the ice.
- Pull the victim out. Stay low, stay off the thin ice and pull hard. If you have helpers, have them use their strength to assist with pulling (also staying away from the thin ice).
Ice rescue drill: Pull the victim out.
Ice rescue drill: Staying low while pulling out victim.
- Get the victim away from the hole and weak ice. If you have a sled or other item to drag the victim on, this can help you shift them quickly to safe ground.
Ice rescue drill: Rescue sleds for moving victim quickly.
- Perform CPR if necessary. If the victim has stopped breathing or has no pulse, either from drowning or from sudden cardiac arrest, perform CPR (only if you know how).
- Warm the victim. If the victim is breathing and conscious, bring him or her inside or somewhere warm. Remove wet clothes and immerse the person in lukewarm water that’s no warmer than 90° Fahrenheit, 32° Celsius at first; gradually warm the water up later. Immersing a victim of hypothermia in water that is too warm can cause dangerous heart rhythms. If warm water is not immediately available, wrap the person in blankets.
An emergency blanket is very helpful.
- Get medical attention as soon as possible. Even if the victim feels fine, he or she should still be examined by a medical professional.
- Infants and toddlers who fall into frigid water may go into a diving response, in which they may appear dead even though they are not.
- Your own clothes could serve as a line if all else fails (yes, it means you’ll have to tolerate the bitter cold for a few minutes, for the sake of saving the person in distress…) If you wear a sweater, or some other item not as bulky as overcoat, attempt to use it first. Tie a knot at the end of each sleeve, hold on to one and throw the other to the victim.
- Use a flat-bottomed boat out if you must go out to the victim. Professional rescuers have a variety of tools to safely aid in ice rescues, but if you don’t have these things available, a flat bottomed boat can also be slid out on the ice. If the ice breaks around the rescuer, the rescue can further proceed from the boat.
- An ice awl or similar sharp device can help you move about on the ice and secure yourself during the rescue attempt. If you can throw the victim such a tool, he or she may be able to more easily extricate themselves from the water. It is possible to use an awl or screwdriver in each hand to thrust into the ice and create handholds to pull oneself out of the water.
- Try sliding a ladder towards the victim by spreading your weight over a large surface.
- Many popular skating or ice fishing areas have emergency rescue kits, including rope and buoyancy aids, available.
- Never go close to the thin ice without being secured or having proper gear for the task. Remain calm and resist the impulse to approach the victim without protecting yourself. A person in decent shape will usually maintain the strength and coordination to extricate themselves for 2-5 minutes, sometimes longer. Even after this, if a person remains conscious and can hold themselves partially out of the water, hypothermia is not a major concern, so wait for professional rescuers to arrive unless there is imminent danger of drowning.
- Note: Many of the images show a professional rescue drill. Do not attempt to get into the water yourself to rescue unless you are a strong swimmer of excellent fitness (no heart, circulatory, etc. problems), you have a flotation suit on and you have been trained in basic rescue techniques. While some of the images show rescuers very close to the edge, they are doing so during a drill and know the limits. When you are rescuing someone from thin ice, be exceptionally careful about getting too close to the ice hole.
- Do not warm the victim up too quickly. This will cause shock which can be deadly.
Edit Things You’ll Need
- Cell phone
- Rope, branch, scarf, ski pole, anything long and strong
- Warm items for wrapping up victim
- Knowledge of CPR helpful
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