We all experience moments of stress from time to time. From experiencing the loss of a close loved one to daily work dress, these things are a normal part of life. When we experience stress, our mind feels like it’s in overdrive. Anxiety pushes us to the edge, and these thoughts can feel like they have a huge effect on our overall mental health.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What to Say to Someone Who’s Stressed During a Tragedy
- What to Say to Someone Who’s Stressed About Work or School
- What to Say to Someone Who’s Stressed About Family
- What to Say to Someone Who’s Stressed About Life
If you’ve ever been in a stressful situation, you know how frustrating it is. You also know how difficult it is to hear people tell you to “calm down” or “get over it.” If you’re in the presence of someone who is stressed, it’s important to help in a supportive way.
Even small acknowledgments of their feelings go a long way. Here are 16 helpful things to say to someone experiencing stress in one way or another.
Hint: Sometimes the right thing to say is nothing at all! Don’t underestimate the power of silence.
What to Say to Someone Who’s Stressed During a Tragedy
Tragedy strikes often at unexpected times, leaving people struggling to pick up the pieces. It’s not always easy to sympathize during times like these, especially if you haven’t experienced a tragedy of your own. However, you should still support them through these messages.
1. I’m so sorry for your loss.
If you’re not very close to the individual, this is the best way to let them know you’re thinking of them. Not everyone knows how to console someone, but you can still say something helpful.
2. Is there anything I can do to help?
If you’re closer to the individual who experienced a tragedy, ask how you can help. They might not need you, but it’s still nice to know you’re willing and able. However, make sure you’re willing to follow through before you offer.
3. Do you need to talk about it?
While your loved one might not be willing or ready to talk about their particular tragedy, it never hurts to ask. Having an option to talk through your feelings and experience with someone you trust does wonder in times of need. Don’t be offended by their answer, just be prepared to listen if you need to.
4. I’m here for you during this difficult time.
Even if you can’t take away their pain, you can still be there for them while they’re facing a crisis. This is a kind way to say you’re sorry for their loss without going too in-depth into your own feelings.
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What to Say to Someone Who’s Stressed About Work or School
While work and school are a part of life, they’re also a source of anxiety and stress. It’s important to not minimize this stress but to listen with empathy. This is the type of anxiety we can all relate to in some shape or form.
5. You are strong and capable
Sometimes we all need a reminder that we’re strong. A little bit of assurance goes a long way when someone feels burnt out and unwilling to continue. Even if it feels impossible, moving forward is possible.
6. Can you tell me the problem?
It’s not always easy to articulate how you feel if you’re overwhelmed with stress. Working through these feelings together is a great way to find the source of the problem, potentially finding a solution.
7. I understand why this is frustrating.
Many times, people just want to feel heard. They might just need to vent about their problems, and letting them know that you understand their feelings of frustration helps them feel less alone.
8. This all must be really hard for you.
Again, it’s all about sympathizing and lending a listening ear. This is a sign of genuine support, and it shows you’re paying attention to their words and feelings.
What to Say to Someone Who’s Stressed About Family
Family troubles come in all shapes and sizes. They might have a disagreement with their partner or a complicated situation with their siblings. No matter the situation, diffuse their anxiety with some words of kindness.
9. Be gentle with yourself. You’re doing your best.
Family issues can quickly grow out of control, and sometimes we can’t handle them on our own. Let your loved one know they’ve done the best they could, and that they don’t need to handle everything themselves.
10. Focus on your own progress, not perfection.
Family life isn’t perfect. Even if things don’t go according to plan, we can make the most of where we are in our journey by focusing on the smaller steps along the way.
11. You don’t have to answer for other people’s mistakes.
When things go wrong, how do we avoid placing blame on ourselves? Let your loved one know that they don’t have to be accountable for the choices of others.
12. Let’s think of a plan for what to do next.
It helps to have an idea of how we’ll move forward. A lot of our anxiety comes from not knowing what’s happening. Thinking creatively about how to make a positive change is a great way to help.
What to Say to Someone Who’s Stressed About Life
Life is a complicated experience, and things don’t always go according to plan. Whether you need to know what to say when someone has a sick family member, or you’ve run out of ways to say “how can I help." try these powerful phrases.
13. I’ve got your back no matter what happens.
It’s easy to feel compelled to take action when something bad happens to a loved one. Instead, they likely just need a shoulder to cry on. Letting them know that you’re there for them even for the challenging days strengthens your connection.
14. This isn’t your fault.
One way to be supportive is to listen to what someone has to say and let them know they don’t have to shoulder the full burden of this anxiety. We don’t have to allow for greater fear when we can relieve them of this pain.
15. Do you want to talk about something else?
Sometimes people just need a distraction. Open the door to a lighter conversation by prompting if it’s time to think about something else. From there, engage your loved one in something more comforting.
Last but not least, sometimes the best thing you can say is nothing at all. At times, you just need to listen to your loved one about their concerns. Let them talk through their stress and worries. The act of talking to others is a stress-reliever in itself.
Finding the Right Words in a Stressful Situation
Stressful situations aren’t supposed to be easy. If you’re trying to help a loved one work through their own anxious feelings, you have an opportunity to say the right thing. These messages above are a kind, thoughtful way to respond without increasing their stress.
Nobody likes to be told to “stay calm” or “move on.” No matter how simple the situation seems from the outside, feelings are valid in their own way. Be mindful of your own response and be a strong listener. As long as you’re focusing on acknowledging their experience and feelings, you’re making a positive step in the right direction.