Ways to Be Truly Supportive To Someone Who’s Feeling Stressed Out

Knowing that someone in our family or friend circle is experiencing a lot of stress or going through a hard time, we will feel the urge to help. Even if we want to refrain from offering advice or interfering, we can still be supportive in other ways. Here are five great examples of how to help loved ones deal with stress.

Men holding each other by the arms in sign of support
Sending Supportive Messages

Being under a lot of stress can take an emotional toll and the one experiencing it could end up feeling alone. It’s important to remind them that they’re loved and appreciated. Being thought of is always a good feeling and receiving a text message from a friend, be it words of encouragement or a funny image can mean a lot.

A message in a bottle
Providing a Healthy Distraction

Focusing on family issues, stressful work assignments, or difficult school projects for a prolonged period of time can give us tunnel-vision. When we’re too close to the problem, we might not be able to see a way out or a solution. That‘s when taking a break can be very supportive. Inviting that person to the movies, out for a walk, or a cup of coffee can do them a world of good.

A couple at the theater
Encouraging Exercise or Self-Care

Not only is prolonged stress bad for one’s emotional and mental state, but it can also begin to cause physical repercussions as well. Exercise is a natural way to relieve stress and it can release endorphins, causing us to feel more positive and give us a sense of accomplishment. If the friend doesn’t feel like exercising, encourage other forms of self-care such as meditation, taking time off, or speaking to a licensed psychologist.

Two women going for a run
Listening and Empathising

The therapeutic powers of simply being heard and understood can be extraordinary. If the friend who’s feeling stressed or upset wants to talk or simply vent about what they’re going through, let them know that you’re there for them. Listen to what they have to say and provide helpful feedback. If you went through a similar situation, empathize and let them know they’re not alone in what they’re feeling.

A depiction of a guy comforting a sad girl
Offering Assistance

It’s perfectly ok not to know instinctively what to do to make someone feel better or cope with a difficult situation. Sometimes, it’s truly best to tell them “I want to help you. Let me know what I can do”. It can be anything from providing company to alleviating some of the burdens by taking care of a minor task like going to the grocery store for them. In some cases, they might just ask for time alone, and letting them have that time is also very supportive.

Boy offering a hand to another boy