There’s some great advice in this online webinar from Emotional Intelligence Coach (and also dyslexic!) Monique Wintle Camp.
Be alert to signs of stress in younger children such as irritability, crying, and trouble sleeping. At older ages, children or adults may show lack of confidence, avoidance of ordinarily pleasurable activities, unexplained angry outbursts, negative comments.
If you are seeking to help someone who is showing signs of stress or anxiety, first do a check-up of yourself. Are you experiencing anxiety or stress yourself?
Be curious about the experiences of the other person. Try to see things from their perspective. Listen and try to really empathize with what they are going through.
Monique recommends the book, The Whole Brain Child, and one of the techniques in that book includes:
#1. Name it, to tame it. Encourage them to tell their story (don’t force)
#2. Don’t just say, “How was your day?”, but change it at times, for instance, “What was the best part of your day,” or “What was a challenging part of your day?”
#3. If you trying to help a child, explain stress and anxiety in child-friendly terms. Helpful strategies may include, strategies like mindfulness and slow breathing, regular exercise, and principles of positive psychology like realistic optimism.
One quote Monique shares in her talk is, “Optimism is not, “I know things will get better”, but the conviction that “I can make this better.”
Optimism can be improved and continually grown, even as adults.
Her top tips for building resilience: fostering strengths, unconditional love and acceptance, and joint problem solving. Although this advice is given in the webinar in the context of a parent helping a child, these tips would also work for any age of a person seeking to help another.