Everyone experiences stress; some more often than others, and we all react in different ways. Unfortunately, we often don’t know how to deal with our own stress and emotions when they pile up and cause us to break down. As a result, it’s important for everyone to know how to help one another. In a stressful period, a person often needs someone to check-in with them. Here are some suggestions on how to help.
- Make eye contact as they speak to you, and acknowledge how they feel. Say something along the lines of “that sounds very difficult for you,” or what feels appropriate. Listen without advice or judgement.
- Put a hand on their shoulder, or give them a hug! Physical closeness is a natural, human need in times of distress.
- Tell them that you’re there for support. Everyone needs a reminder from time to time.
Acknowledge Their Feelings and Move Forward
- Offer them a drink of water.
- Encourage deep breathing; in fact, do it with them! The 4-7-8 technique is a popular choice, and all it asks is to breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 7, and exhale for 8, and repeat as many times as necessary.
- Go for a walk, and point out things that are beautiful or neat! This is a nice grounding tool, as you’re offering solace in the environment.
- Make them laugh or smile!
These techniques may help them defuse in the moment. Being present in the situation also helps. Make it a habit to check-in with this person when you can! But, always be sure to take care of yourself as well!
If you find yourself needing someone to do these things with you, surround yourself with the people you love, and teach them how to be there for you when you need it!
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