I have a friend with anxiety and depression, let's call him "Bob". As someone who deals with anxiety as well, I found that mindfulness meditation has significantly helped me. It didn't solve all my problems by any means (yet), but I know it's improving my life and I've only been doing it for a few months. It's mainly helped to lower my anxiety and make me feel less depressed about it. Seeing thoughts as mere objects really does do wonders.

I want to recommend this practice of meditation to Bob, but I don't want him to think that I believe there's "something wrong with him". As someone who's dealt with anxiety I know what it feels like, and it's even more extreme with him. However, I do know that he probably wants help, since many of his online posts complain about being alone, having no friends, people betraying him, and so forth. Many/most of his online posts are also about how his anxiety and depression are really difficult to deal with. It should also be noted that I used to know Bob for a few years in person, but now our only communication is almost purely limited to online (and it is quite rare -- maybe I chat once every few months, at best).

Question: How do I recommend a treatment that's worked for me (and is scientifically accepted) to a friend with anxiety and depression without making him feel like I'm harshly judging his condition? At the same time, I would like to put forth a convincing argument for practicing meditation, so that a person with anxiety and depression would be motivated to try it.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Astralbee, avazula, Alina Cretu, TheRealLester, Flo Aug 13 '18 at 12:10

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 3
    I'm voting to close this question because I feel that the recommendation of a particular kind of treatment or therapy is off-topic for the site and actually quite dangerous. We don't know that meditation is a good idea for this person. – Astralbee Aug 13 '18 at 10:02
  • It might help to include your age. From my experience, the older people get, the less likely they are going to implode when facing what might be interpreted as judgement, criticism and in general being addressed because of their shortcomings. If you are both say 15, I get that you have to touch him in the least offensive way possible – Raditz_35 Aug 13 '18 at 10:02
  • I suggest rephrasing the question. As Astralbee stated, we cannot know what treatment is good or going to work for your friend, but we could help you talk to him about accepting treatment in general. – Elmy Aug 13 '18 at 10:45
  • 1
    Just to back up @Yelm's comment, this article is quite interesting psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-science-behind-behavior/201604/… It isn't saying Mindfulness meditation is a bad thing, but it does discuss reasons why 'participants should be screened carefully for their suitability before undertaking this practice, and its teachers should be properly trained and supervised'. – Spagirl Aug 13 '18 at 13:01

In order not to sound like you're telling them what to do, you might want to speak about your own experience. Reminding them that you've been through yourself would help them feel less ashamed and they are more likely to be receptive to your advice if you're simply telling an anecdote related to your anxiety issues and that meditation helped you go through it.

For instance you could say something like:

Man, I've been struggling a lot with my anxiety issues these days. Things aren't great at work, this project really stresses me out and it triggers anxiety attacks. I'm glad I discovered mindfulness meditation, otherwise I'd be way more anxious.

This way you disclose you found something helpful without imposing your views to your friend. It'll plant the seed of reflexion in their mind and they'll then decide what to do with the information, so you won't sound patronizing.

I've been through depression and anxiety myself after surviving an event that caused me PTSD. I've healed since but I discovered that speaking from your own experience and what helped you during your tough times could help in making them interested in it.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.