AEE 1217: Don’t Dwell On it! How to Respond Appropriately When Someone Is Stressed in English

Do you have a hard time letting go of something?

If something disturbs you, maybe you have a bad day or a bad conversation with someone, is it hard to stop thinking about what happened?

If you couldn’t stop thinking about something then someone may say this phrase to you : “Don’t dwell on it.”

We’re going to look at this phrase, how to use it, and why it’s such an important way of connecting overall.

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Learning To Talk About Letting It Go

What does it really mean when you say not to dwell on something?

To dwell on something is to keep thinking about it, almost obsessively.

It means that you are not be able to get out of that cycle of thoughts and get over the disruption.

You can’t seem to move forward because you keep thinking about this thing that disrupts you.

So today we are talking about how to use this phrase in a conversation, because it’s likely to come up a lot.

This is so important because it applies whenever you notice someone can’t just “let something go.”

You don’t want to use this when it’s something serious, but otherwise it has a very distinct purpose and is common.

Examples:

L: Oh my gosh I still can’t believe I lost my phone. It’s eating me up inside.

M: Oh Lindsay–don’t dwell on it. Who hasn’t lost their cell phone? I know it’s irritating but it happens to everyone so don’t feel bad!

M: Why didn’t he call me back? I thought we had a great time on our date!

L: Don’t dwell on it, Michelle. If he’s not interested that’s his loss!

Using It The Right Way

So we’ve said that you don’t want to use it for serious situations, and you therefore want to be really sure of the right way to use it.

This phrase is great for connection because it snaps people out of what may be bothering them.

It’s like saying “don’t worry about it” but in a more unique way.

It’s comforting and friendly, and since it’s intended in this way it’s usually received well.

There are other ways you can use it that will sound a bit more abrupt, and so you want to be careful about using this phrase in that way.

Like if you were to say “stop dwelling on it” this is not as friendly.

If however you just nicely said “don’t dwell on it”then it can be really helpful to someone.

This is another instance where tone of voice matters, and can make a huge difference in the way that this phrase is heard and received.

Putting This Into Practice

Knowing how to use this phrase in conversation is part of it.

Another big part of it however is learning how to actually put this into practice.

There are times where we all need to take a step back and figure things out calmly.

So how do you stop dwelling on things?

Here are some tips to help you to calm down, relax

  • Breathe: This sounds simple enough, but when you are stressed it’s easy to forget. Taking a minute to slow down and just take a deep breath can make a huge difference.
  • Write It Down: If you need to remember something or just get it out of your head, then writing it down can help tremendously. It’s well worth a try!
  • Meditate: This goes along with taking a deep breath and ensures that you focus on nothing but your breathing. It allows you to get away from whatever is stressing you out.
  • Exercise: Though this may sound unusual, getting away from things and getting in some exercise can work wonders in clearing your head.

These are great for stress relief to avoid “dwelling on things.”


Other Phrases To Use

Though saying “don’t dwell on it” can be helpful, there are other phrases that can work quite well too.

You may want to try to use some of these and practice them in conversation to see what feels right.

Some other phrases you can use:

  • Try to let it go: We used this earlier, and this one where tone of voice is very important. It can help but be sure that you come across the right way.
  • Get it out of your head: It’s more of a directive and so it’s something that works but again it’s all about the delivery. You are trying to help the person to disconnect, so be sure you are perceived the right way.
  • Don’t let this get the best of you: This is a kinder one that means that you have to rise above this source of stress.

All of these phrases work quite well in helping you to rise above stress or help somebody close to you to do so.

Takeaway

It’s easy to “dwell” on things sometimes, but it’s important to learn how to stop thinking about things that upset you or stress you out.

The phrase “don’t dwell on it” can help you connect with others.

It’s important to know when to use this. If something REALLY bad happens, it may annoy someone to hear this as it could be dismissive.

It’s best for things that aren’t quite as serious, and it can really help you to comfort and connect with the other person.

Try using these phrases to offer support and see how it helps them and you to maintain a connection.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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