How to Help Someone Dealing with Emotional Pain

Supporting loved ones when they are dealing with emotional pain is a crucial part of relationships. Whether this person has dealt with a significant loss in their life or is just going through a rough time, supporting loved ones when they are hurting can be difficult to navigate. If you are hoping to find ways to support people you care about during rough times, try some of the following ways to help people who are dealing with emotional pain.

1. Reach Out

People who are feeling down or dealing with emotional pain may not always speak up about their emotions. Reaching out to that person and letting them know you are there for them is a concrete thing you can do to show your support.

Psychologists recommend reaching out by calling, texting, or emailing that person. While everyone has different ways of dealing with emotional pain, letting someone know you care about them and are thinking of them will show your support even if that person is not ready to see or talk to others. Some tips to help you navigate reaching out to people going through a hard time include:

  • Ask them if they need anything and if there are simple things you can help them with
  • Empathize with them, but avoid offering advice unless they ask you directly
  • Give this person the option to talk but do not pressure them to speak up if they are not ready to voice what they are feeling

2. Listen

Listening to what your loved ones are experiencing is another way to support someone who is dealing with emotional pain. When going through difficult times, some people may want to talk all about what they are experiencing, while others may prefer not to voice their feelings.

Actively listening to this person if they do wish to talk can give them a way to examine what they are feeling and make sense of it in their mind. If the person you are hoping to support does not want to talk at the moment, consider telling them you are ready and willing to listen if they decide they would like to talk down the line. Some pro-tips for active listening include:

  • Give that person your full attention by putting away devices and distractions and focusing on them
  • Acknowledge what they are saying with simple communication signals such as nodding and making eye contact
  • Do not interrupt this person while they are speaking
  • Avoid judging what they are saying, just listen!

3. Offer a Tangible Way to Help

Those who are dealing with emotional pain may also benefit from having someone who can support them in fulfilling their day-to-day responsibilities. While this may not be necessary in all cases, individuals who are going through hard times may need assistance with practical aspects of their life.  

For example, if your friend has children but is also caring for someone who is going through an illness, consider offering to babysit their kids. Then, that person can devote energy to supporting their loved one and know their kids are in good care. Some other ways you may help someone dealing with emotional pain include:

  • Bringing over a home cooked meal
  • Helping with responsibilities at work if applicable
  • Pet sitting, if this person needs has pets but needs to travel to be with family
  • Taking this person to a movie, on a hike, or any activity they might want to do to clear their mind and take a break from thinking about what is bringing them down.

Supporting those who are dealing with emotional pain is a crucial part of relationships. For more mental health tips from The Yoga Warrior, check out our thoughts on the art of letting go.

Megan Herndon

Megan is a Seattle-based writer who covers health and wellness. She has worked in content marketing and journalism for a number of organizations including The Seattle Globalist, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and The Jakarta Globe. She has a BA in journalism from the University of Washington and is currently working on her second UW degree, a Master of Communication and Digital Media. Born and raised in Hawaii and currently embracing the Pacific Northwest lifestyle, Megan loves all things active and outdoors including hiking, camping, outrigger canoe paddling, and yoga.

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