- Be an encouragement. Going through a breakup, it’s easy for individuals to take on many negative messages about themselves. Encourage the individual with the qualities that you enjoy or appreciate in them. While they may be receiving negative messages from their ex or themselves, they need to hear positive messages around them. (examples of negative messages might include some of the following: "I'm worthless", "I'm unloveable", or "there's something fundamentally flawed with me).
- Encourage your loved one to engage in healthy coping skills. Negative coping skills, while they work in the moment, tend to create more anxiety or depression in the long run, and they don’t actually help heal their heart. Try to encourage your friend or family member to try out some of these healthy coping skills.
- Help distract the individual in healthy ways. Things that may be helpful include: taking a walk, going hiking, going fishing, going to a movie, watching a sport game, take a cooking class, or some other activity that the individual usually enjoys.
- Encourage healthy behaviors. Eat regular & balanced meals, exercise regularly, sleep well, find ways to reduce stress, etc… Staying healthy will help the individual to heal faster than if they become unhealthy instead.
Remember that you can't FORCE your friend to engage in healthy behaviors or coping skills, but you can model healthy behaviors and coping, and you can encourage them to try some of them out. Be careful how hard you push, however, because many people are stubborn and will push back.
Now it's your turn!
What are some healthy ways that you like to distract yourself? When you're upset or hurting, what's the first health behavior you let go of? How do you encourage those around you who are hurting?