Never Tell Someone To Relax

When you are upset, one of the worst things someone can say to you is “relax,” and researchers say it’s actually ineffective as well. Wendy Mendes, a professor of emotion at the University of California, San Francisco says relaxing when the body is already too stressed out is actually physically impossible. She says returning to a relaxed state can take 20 to 60 minutes, and that science has found trying to suppress emotions actually causes them to “leak out more.” Clinical psychologist and writer Joseph Burgo adds that advising someone to relax can mask a variety of motives, including the underlying message, “I can’t stand the way you’re making me feel, so stop it.” To help someone calm down who is stressed, experts say you should first acknowledge his or her feelings, show empathy, ask open-ended questions, and then maybe suggest taking a break. (Wall Steet Journal