Have you been called to provide emotional support to a friend or a family member?  In this article, we discuss the three steps to help you shift their emotional state and empower them to find a clear path forward.

It is difficult to see someone suffer, especially if they happen to be a close friend or a family member.  One of the side-effects of supporting someone emotionally is becoming emotionally drained yourself.   So how do you maintain your own emotional center while supporting someone in need? In my coaching sessions, I use a three-step process to help individuals transition from feeling sad, depressed and defeated to a feeling of ease and appreciation – and sometimes joy. 

Before delving into the process, let us briefly explore the nature of emotions and understand how it plays out in our bodies.

Emotions such as sadness, depression and grief, interrupt the flow of information between your heart and your brain reducing your ability to think clearly.  Conversely, emotions such as joy, compassion and love have the opposite effect; you gain more clarity and become more optimistic about life in general.

Emotions such as sadness, depression and grief, interrupt the flow of information between your heart and your brain reducing your ability to think clearly.

Therefore to help your friend you need to help her shift her emotional state from grief and sadness to that of appreciation and joy.  Once in that state her heart and brain are fully engaged and communicating coherently.  Her enhanced intuitive capability will enable her to chart a path forward with clarity.  You also get to experience joy and appreciation in the process – a win-win scenario!

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The 3 Step Process for Emotional Support

In this section, we discuss the three steps of providing emotional support to others.

1. Take Care of Yourself First

If you have ever been on an airplane, then you know that in case of cabin de-pressurization you should always place the oxygen mask on yourself first before lending a hand to others. The logic behind this is that if you are rendered unconscious, you will be of little use to those you seek to serve.

Before you can serve the emotional needs of others, take a few minutes to get yourself into a state of coherence by taking slow, deep breaths and experiencing positive emotions such as love, joy and appreciation.  If you are unable to experience these positive emotions, you are effectively unable to support others in a constructive and meaningful way.

Before you can serve the emotional needs of others, take a few minutes to get yourself into a state of coherence

Scientists at the Institute of HeartMath have published numerous studies demonstrating the benefits of building coherence. Some of these benefits include improved intelligence, reduced stress and anxiety and enhanced intuition.

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2. Listen Generously

A glass must first be emptied of dirty water and then washed before filling it up with clean water.  An emotionally distraught person must be allowed the opportunity to express his grief and sadness; in other words, he must be allowed to purge the dirty water from his system before clean water can replace it.  Your role is to provide an empathetic ear and acknowledge the pain he is expressing and most importantly – making this moment about him.  Listen generously and continue to maintain your coherence as discussed in Step 1.

An emotionally distraught person must be allowed the opportunity to express his grief and sadness

By maintaining your coherence, you are actually sustaining an energetic field that can not only be felt by others but can act as a catalyst to shift their emotional state.  Sometimes this is all that is needed in a given situation.

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3. Reach for Appreciation

In this last step, you are ready to shift your friend’s emotional state to one of appreciation, compassion or love.  By experiencing positive emotions, your friend will be inspired to find the appropriate action to take or an attitude to maintain in order to manage her current situation.  Your role is not to find a solution for her but to help her shift her emotional state.

Begin by asking her to find something to appreciate.  Perhaps she can appreciate that she has a friend in you – start there.  If she can’t think of anything significant, reach for the insignificant items.  Appreciate the color of the paint on the wall, the cleanliness of the carpet, the bright colors found on your sweater, etc.

By experiencing positive emotions, your friend will be inspired to find the appropriate action to take or an attitude to maintain in order to manage her current situation

At the end of this step, there are two individuals who are feeling appreciation in their hearts instead of both feeling drained from the exchange. Follow the three steps anytime you are honored with the opportunity to serve another in this way.

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Want one-on-one coaching to help you with emotional regulation? Contact or call (587) 432-7604 for a free consultation

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