Encouragement is the giving of courage, confidence, hope, support and help. It is the process of building each other up, coming alongside another, strengthening the weak and sick and consoling the troubled. It helps with restoration and rejuvenation of the body and soul, and renewal of spirit, of others and even of those who encourage, according to recent research.

Encouragement is vital to child maturation and adult optimal health. The healing benefits of encouragement outweigh criticism and can build self-confidence. Encouragement can help with self-confidence, effort, motivation, success, self-esteem and validation.

Since science has validated the proverb that “one who refreshes another will be refreshed,” let’s examine eight simple ways we can encourage others in their physical, mental and emotional health.

  1. Speaking. Our spoken words can bring healing and encouragement. Lift someone by telling how you appreciate them, how good they look or how well they are doing. When appropriate, share a Scripture that helped you in a hard time.
  2. Writing. Write an encouraging note to someone, or send a postcard or message on social media. A short note saying “I care” or “I’m praying” will mean much to someone who is lonely, grieving, or discouraged with health and life issues. Write a Scripture, a story or a poem to lift them up.
  3. Helping. Helpers use ordinary skills to encourage others. This can be anything from helping someone move, baby-sitting, cleaning their home, or helping them fix or construct something.
  4. Giving. Givers recognize situations where money, food, clothing, or the loan of equipment will better lift people out of their situation.
  5. Presence. Even when we don’t know what to say, just being there encourages.
  6. Touching. Scientists have now documented the positive effects of touch. Simply putting a hand on a shoulder or a tight hug can communicate that you care.
  7. Hospitality. Hospitality means to take care of others, sometimes simply loving people by providing a meal or bed or assisting them during a physical problem. This encouragement can help people who are hurting from health issues, marriage breakups or financial problems.
  8. Praying. Prayers always encourage others, and the research on the healing benefits of prayer is enormous.

Find which type of encouragement best fits you, then simply practice it. You’ll be lifted up as you lift up others.

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