When is it a bad idea to tell someone, “Just breathe”?

 A lot of times it’s a bad idea.  I find we often say that when someone’s going through a difficult time, and we don’t know what else to say.   But it can feel very condescending to the person receiving.

What to do instead? Listen to the person and acknowledge what they’re going through. “That sounds really difficult.” And, you might even ask them specific questions about what they’re going through.

Don’t change the subject. Just be there with them and hear them. Don’t give them advice

At the end you might ask permission, “Would you like any suggestions of things that I do to take care of myself when I’m going through a hard time?”  Then you could say, “I just breathe.” That’s it Karen Valencic.



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