How to Support a Stressed Out Friend

Everyone goes through stressful times in their lives. With empathy and compassion, you might feel the urge to step in and do something to ease their pain. But perhaps you’re not exactly sure how to best approach the situation. If this sounds like a scenario you’re experiencing first hand, take a look at these five ways you can support a stressed out friend, without crossing lines. 


Communicate your presence and ongoing support. 


When stressed, people more than likely feel alone and isolated. It is important that you communicate to your friend that you are by their side and will be there for them whenever needed. Send them a text and remind them that you’re just a call away and can help them out however they need. 


Ask if your friend needs is feedback or a listening ear.


Before jumping into a lecture on how everything will soon be okay, take a step back and first ask your friend how you can best be of support for them in the moment. It might be that what they need in the moment is not feedback, but a listening ear and an outlet for them to unload. 


Surprise them with their favorite snack/drink.


While this may not necessarily remove the source of stress out of your friend’s life, it can put a smile on their face and trigger positive emotions. Think of your friend’s favorite snack, drink, or donut flavor. Surprise them with it and leave it in their locker, on their desk, or simply hand it to them with a hand-written note and a hug. 


Offer company for a walk in the park.


Nature can be very calming and relaxing. Head to a park or beach and have a chat with your friend. A stroll surrounded by nature might ease your friend’s anxiety and take their mind

 off their worries. You can suggest this or offer your friend to join if they would like that.  


Practice together a gratitude meditation exercise.


A gratitude meditation has the potential to shift your friend’s entire emotional state by focusing their thinking on the positive aspects of their current condition. You can consult this 10 minute Gratitude Mindfulness exercise, outlined by our friends at the Greater Good Science Center at U.C. Berkely. 


If you want to help out your stressed out friend, you’re halfway there. All it takes is a little effort and you will soon helping out your friend in more ways than you know.