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January 25, 2024
Nurturing Positivity: Words of Encouragement on Challenging Days

Stefania Oliveti

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Encouraging Words for Your Worst Days

Life has ups and downs, and sometimes, we just need a little boost to get through the challenging moments. A boost can look, feel and sound different for everyone, but whether it’s you that’s riding a wave, or a friend who could use some verbal support, words of encouragement can be quite grounding, comforting and honestly, they could totally be an ‘ah-ha’ moment too!

On dark days, finding a glimmer of hope can be hard. And when we’re trying to help a friend who’s feeling down, we might not have the right words to say to them, or there isn’t much we can do. You’re not alone and this is more common than you might think. Offering words of encouragement and validating emotions, as opposed to sweeping them under the rug can make a difference, and best of all, give a boost when it’s needed the most!

Here’s a list of what you can offer yourself, a friend, a loved one or a family member when it’s needed. Put it on a sticky note, send it as a text, or say it out loud.

Remember, if you or a loved one needs immediate support, in crisis, immediate danger, or feeling unsafe towards yourself or others, help is available 24/7 - call Talk Suicide Canada (1-800-448-3000) anytime.

Need a boost? Here are 15 words of encouragement that may help you...

  1. You are not alone in your thoughts, feelings, emotions and behaviours. You don’t need to and should not have to go through this alone.
  2. I admire you ability to (insert something open, honest and optimistic).
  3. You’re going through a big change, I’m so proud of you!
  4. First times are tough. You don’t have to be great at it when you start, you just have to start and give yourself the time to be great.
  5. Progress and growth, not perfection.
  6. Courage starts with showing up, and letting ourselves be seen - Brene Brown.
  7. This is what you’re going through, not who you are.
  8. You took a chance, and that, in and of itself, is brave and courageous. You did the hard thing.
  9. Take some deep breathes. Inhale, exhale. Exhale what no longer serves you. let it all out.
  10. You are worthy and deserving of the good in the world.
  11. What if it actually works out? What is everything turns our to be okay?
  12. We’re human. Trying out best is the best we can do.
  13. When in doubt, walk it out.
  14. You don’t always have to keep it together.
  15. Asking for help is a sign of courage and self-respect. Have you thought about therapy?

5 Bonus ones: from you, to them…

  1. I see you. You’re hurting and that’s valid. I’m holding space for you, without judgement, so that you can feel valued and heard. (validate their emotions, and let them know you care).
  2. I can’t imagine what you’re going through, but I’m here to listen. (this acknowledges that you may not fully understand their situation, and that’s okay, you’re willing to listen and that is helpful in and of itself).
  3. Do you want to spend some time together doing something enjoyable? (if you have the time and chance, you could encourage activities that might provide a boost and some relief).
  4. You may not want to talk much right now, and that’s okay. Can I check in on you later? (or maybe another day).
  5. I believe you. ( it’s their story and experience, not yours. Be curious, and believe people when they tell you how they experienced something).

Sometimes, the most impactful thing we can do is be there for a friend and hold space for them to talk without feeling judged. Even if you don’t have the perfect words to say to them, your presence and willingness to listen can provide so much comfort during their difficult times.

Hard days are inevitable, they happen and we can’t always fix them or avoid them. Good news it, these hard days don’t define who we are or what we are capable of. Even better news, we can use words of encouragement to highlight inner strengths, build resilience and push towards the other side of it all.


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