Pondering The Power Of Encouragement

13 min read SEP 16, 2023

Have you ever had your day brightened by a kind act from a friend or stranger?

Or, have you ever received a phone call, text, or note that not only lifted your spirits but seemingly provided a source of strength to get you through a difficult time?

What about a smile? Have you ever given or received a smile that seemed to turn a negative thought into a positive one, a poor mood into an attitude of gratefulness?

Isn’t it amazing what such seemingly small acts can do for ourselves and others?

Even more amazing, seeking to encourage others doesn’t simply improve a temporary circumstance or solely brighten a few hours in any given day, spreading or sharing care, concern, kindness, and appreciation to/for others can even improve your mental and physical health.

And, anyone can do it!!

Joel Osteen once said, “Encouragement to others is something everyone can give. Somebody needs what you have to give. It may not be your money; it may be your time. It may be your listening ear. It may be your arms to encourage. It may be your smile to uplift. Who knows?”

Those are powerful words when you truly contemplate them, and that’s what we plan to do today, ponder the power of encouragement.

First we’ll jump right in and look at several ways we can offer encouragement to others, to our friends, coworkers, family, neighbors, and even strangers.

Then, we’ll look a bit deeper into the matter, examining what takes place in our mind and body when we offer such encouragement.

You may be surprised at all of the ways our body responds (positively) when we seek to make this world a better place through the power of encouragement.

10 Ways To Encourage Others

1- Speak Kindness

Possibly one of the simplest, and most underrated, ways to encourage others is simply through our speech.

Our words are incredibly powerful, though how often do we use them to build up one another?

Do you find your words to be seasoned with grace, love, and kindness, or are you quick to use the gift of language to criticize?

Instead of harsh, critical words…

  • Encourage your co-worker by telling them how much you appreciate their contributions.
  • Show support and kindness to your children by letting them know how proud you are of their academic or athletic accomplishments.
  • When you’re in line at Whole Foods, Starbucks, Lowe’s, etc, seek to be someone who looks for ways to compliment the cashier or those in line nearby.
  • Instead of thinking about how helpful someone is, tell them.
  • Instead of pondering the beauty of your spouse, speak such compliments regularly.
  • Rather than thinking (to yourself) that the latest assignment your employee turned in was overly phenomenal, seek to express this whenever possible.

And, don’t forget yourself when it comes to speaking encouragement!

We can be so critical in our internal speech. Personally, I know there are things I think of or tell myself that I would never say to another person, and this isn't good or healthy in any way.

So, express kindness and encouragement to yourself and others as often as you can.

2- Listen Well

Aside from speaking, sometimes the most encouraging thing you can do for those in your life is to listen.

When friends, family members, or colleagues come to you to explain situations, express thoughts or beliefs, or even to casually chat, you can be a great source of encouragement by simply paying attention and listening to what they have to say.

I’m sure we’ve all been in situations where we’ve expressed our hearts to others only to have them dismiss these sentiments in action by not listening or paying attention to what we’ve spoken. And, if you’re familiar with such, you know how discouraging this can be.

Avoid discouragement, instead offering kindness and encouragement to others by listening well, taking into account what is spoken, showing care and support when/where needed.

3- Write Well

Another highly effective method of encouragement includes writing.

Sometimes writing comes into play when speaking isn’t feasible, and then sometimes writing in and of itself offers a level of encouragement that speaking seems to lack.

Of course, technology has made this act overly simple, where a kind and encouraging text, message, or email is only a few keystrokes away. But, despite the simplicity here, never underestimate the power of a text or message to a friend, coworker, or loved one stating: “I’m thinking of you,” “I greatly appreciate the time and effort you put into this project,” “I hope you are doing well,” or “I’m here for you.”

Then, while many have gotten out of the habit of handwriting letters or postcards with the introduction and ease of technology, might I submit to you that there’s truly nothing more encouraging than receiving a handwritten card or note.

Pulling out a pen and some paper to encourage others may not seem like much of a difference compared to a text or email, but this seemingly forgotten act is a proven method of expressing heartfelt kindness, compassion, and encouragement.

4- Smile More

Smiling is a form of silent communication that can speak more loudly and effectively than a multitude of words.

Don’t believe me?

While standing in line at the grocery store, plan to smile at a small child or infant nearby and watch their face light up.

Smile at your spouse from across the room, in your quiet home or at a crowded event, and observe the impact this can have.

Offer a friendly smile to greet others each morning as you walk into the office, and see how this can improve both the mood and morale amongst your colleagues.

Smile and wave at your neighbors each time you walk or drive by, and enjoy the respect/care that can be established with such a gesture.

A real, genuine smile speaks kindness and encouragement without the aid of words, without the use of a pen, and it is proven to promote positivity, happiness, and an overall improvement in both your well being and those with whom you share such a wonderful treasure.

5- Lend A Helping Hand

Volunteering your time or lending a helping hand can be a powerful form of encouragement.

Most often, this doesn’t require much more than a willing heart and a few hours here and there, yet offering your efforts can truly encourage and uplift those in need.

My dad is generally a man of few words, especially words of praise. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a kind, wonderful person, the type that would do just about anything for anyone at any time, but he’s just not very chatty when it comes to compliments.

Well, he’s been especially stressed and weary of late as he’s spent most of his time in a hospital at the bedside of a dying loved one. So, a week or so ago I made him a meal and drove up to spend the day cleaning his house in his absence.

Later that evening I’d barely made it back to my home before receiving a text from him expressing his sincere gratitude for all I’d done. “It means more to me than you’ll ever know,” he concluded.

Knowing him well, such a text brought tears of encouragement to my eyes as well as a great source of gratitude, knowing the gesture was a blessing to him.

And this is generally how it goes when helping others, for when we take the time to do so, we’re often just as encouraged as those we’ve sought to be a blessing to.

6- Use Your Gifts

Aside from (generally) offering our time and effort to encourage others, don’t ever forget the fact that each and every one of us has been blessed with unique gifts and talents we can use, specifically, to uplift those around us, making the world a better place for all.

  • If you’ve been blessed with artistic talents and abilities, use those to hand paint a card or piece to share with someone to provide needed encouragement.
  • Do you have an incredibly green thumb? Share your garden bounty with those in need, or cut a beautiful bouquet of flowers to share with your neighbor as a thoughtful way to brighten his/her day.
  • Are you a skilled carpenter? Consider volunteering your talents to help a neighbor or friend in need.

Simply put, never underestimate your knowledge or unique gifts and how they may benefit or encourage those in your life.

7- Be Present

I realize this can’t be a reality for many in familial relationships or friendships due to distance, but being present in the lives of those we care about offers a level of support and encouragement that can’t be understated.

When you show up to your child’s recital or sporting event, it’s hard not to see the encouragement this brings.

At the passing of a loved one, your presence in this time of grief often offers more encouragement than words can express.

Just showing up to celebrate birthdays and holidays with friends and loved ones brings joy and encouragement where your absence would otherwise negatively impact such occasions.

Being present shows care, concern, and compassion in a number of instances, both good and bad/sad which provides needed support and encouragement to those we love.

8- Physical Touch

Have you ever been down, stressed, or weary only to receive a hug that seemed to melt away every last ounce of discouragement you were feeling?

Or maybe you’ve had times in your life when you deeply felt the need for a long, tight hug from a loved one?

Physical touch, in the form of a heartfelt hug or a kind pat on the shoulder, is a proven way to express care, complete with the proven ability to improve your health.

Hugging, in particular, has been shown to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and heart rate levels, increase the release of hormones which boost mood, and even aid in regulating emotions.

So, don’t omit a timely hug to encourage a friend or loved one, and seek to uplift via a heartfelt pat on the back when appropriate.

9- Giving

We’ve mentioned the use of your time and talents as ways to encourage others, but there’s another t-word often included in those efforts - treasure.

Our treasures can certainly include a variety of things, but when considering ways to encourage others, monetary means can often be used to brighten someone’s day/life.

Of course, this doesn’t necessarily equate to extravagance.

Simple, thoughtful gifts given can serve as a means of encouragement to many, including but not limited to the following examples or ideas:

  • Send flowers to a grieving loved one with a kind card attached expressing your care.
  • Pay for someone’s coffee order or grocery bill.
  • Send a gift card to a friend, just because. Or, hand out a gift card or two to someone in need.
  • Bring a meal to someone in need or simply as a surprise to a friend or neighbor to brighten their day.
  • Send a thoughtful gift to an employee to show your appreciation.
  • When your children grow out of their clothes, pass these down to someone in need.
  • Send a gift to someone going through a rough time, just to show you care.

Each of these examples, and so many more, are ways to express care, kindness, and encouragement to friends, loved ones, strangers, and neighbors to uplift their spirits and brighten their day(s).

10- Inclusion

Inclusion. One word, a simple concept, but it can bring great encouragement to many.

From planning a work event, to hosting a dinner party, throwing a birthday bash, or simply taking a walk around the block, including others is a great way to bring encouragement to someone’s life.

When you invite someone to an event or simply include someone in even the smallest of ways, it communicates value.

Including others says, “I value your presence, your company, your contributions,” including others says “I want you here with me, with us,” and this offers an incredible amount of encouragement.

We all want to be included. We all want a place to feel like we belong. And, including others fulfills these needs and desires, eroding loneliness and fear, then replacing these with hope, joy, and happiness.

Helping Others Helps You

When you encourage others, not only do the recipients of your kindness receive the immediate blessing of such encouragement, experts have also noted that encouraging acts can create a cascade of healthy benefits.

Upon receiving encouragement…

  • stress levels are decreased
  • moods are lifted
  • positive outlooks improve
  • blood pressure levels decrease
  • self-esteem improves
  • depression and anxiety levels decrease
  • immune functions increase
  • brain health improves

…and much more!

So, when you seek to encourage others, these acts of kindness truly go a long way.

And, while we certainly don’t believe that showing kindness to others should be self-serving, we also can’t deny the fact that offering encouragement to friends, family, colleagues, and strangers does have powerful health benefits to the giver as well.

That’s right, when you seek to incorporate any of the above listed methods of encouragement in a thoughtful attempt to improve someone else’s day, week, or life, your overall health and wellbeing is improved as well.

So, to close things out here today, let’s explore those benefits, looking at some science-backed ways your health can improve when you help (or encourage) others.

First, when you seek to help or encourage others, you are truly offering a means of connection, even if only in a small way.

Socially speaking, when you encourage someone, you are either creating, maintaining, or strengthening a bond between you and those you are seeking to encourage.

If you’re showing kindness to a friend, relative, or colleague, you may be strengthening this existing bond, for instance.

Or, if you seek to reach out and encourage your neighbors, you may be igniting a new connection that will last for years to come.

And, when we connect with others, this provides a wealth of benefits to both your body and your mind, including:

  • Reduced stress
  • Improved heart health
  • Longer lifespan
  • Reduced instances of depression
  • Improved sleep
  • Prevention of cognitive decline and associated diseases (such as dementia)
  • Stroke prevention
  • Reduced risk of all chronic disease

Then, aside from connection and the benefits brought through this element, the act of encouraging others also directly affects hormone levels in your body.

We mentioned in the list above that encouraging others can help to reduce stress, and this is due to the fact that such engagement has been shown to lower cortisol levels.

Cortisol is a hormone your body produces in response to stress. And, when we encounter stress on a regular basis (which is a problem for most people in our day and time), cortisol levels can become too high which leads to a laundry list of negative health outcomes such as an increased risk of depression, difficulty losing weight, and even an overall shorter lifespan.

But, as we seek to show kindness to others, these cortisol levels are reduced, in turn decreasing the risk of those issues linked to chronic stress (and elevated cortisol).

Encouraging others has also been linked to a greater level of physical activity, where those people who regularly seek to show kindness to those around them also tend to be more active.

Obviously physical activity brings many health benefits to your body, but encouraging others is thought to prompt such activity as cortisol levels lower, mood improves, and your general outlook on life becomes more positive.

Aside from these benefits, showing kindness to others also improves dopamine and serotonin levels, which produce feelings of satisfaction and wellbeing. And, when these neurotransmitters are produced or released in healthy amounts, you can experience greater self-esteem, confidence, happiness, and positivity.

Then, endorphins are also released when you encourage others, and this neurotransmitter powerfully acts as your body’s natural aid for pain relief, helping pain levels to decrease in intensity as well as making you less aware of aches and pains altogether.

Broadly speaking, when you encourage others nearly all of your body systems benefit from these actions.

Even your immune system is strengthened as growth hormones and oxytocin are released and natural killer cells, the infection fighters of your body’s natural defense system, increase by 50-70% when you show kindness to others.

Today and always, let me challenge you to think of others.

Look for ways to be a source of kindness and encouragement to your friends, family, and neighbors, to all you encounter at home, at work, online, even in line when you’re out and about enjoying life.

Check out Lifeboost Coffee Espresso.

Headshot of Becky Livingston Vance
Becky Livingston Vance Content writer

Becky is a mother, educator, and content writer for Lifeboost Coffee. She has had three years’ experience as a writer, and in that time she has enjoyed creatively composing articles and ebooks covering the topics of coffee, health and fitness, education, recipes, and relationships.


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