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How to comfort someone: 9 tips straight from the experts

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Summary: Unsure of how to comfort someone in need? Find out expert-backed strategies and tips to offer genuine support.

Life sure knows how to throw some curveballs. The loss of a loved one, heartbreak, anxiety… And when it happens to those we care about, our natural instinct is to want to console them.

However, you may feel awkward, or you may be unsure of what to do in these situations. Knowing how to comfort someone with love, kindness, and compassion can make a world of difference, and here are a few expert-backed tips on how.

How to comfort someone who lost a loved one

The pain that comes with grief is unexplainable. It’s emotional, it’s mental, it’s physical… What’s more, everyone’s experience with it is unique.

So being there for someone going through such a grappling life event takes not only a shoulder to cry on but compassion and empathy. Here are a few tips on how to comfort someone who is crying or dealing with grief in their own way.

1. Validate their feelings

Emotions can run high after losing someone. There’s denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance, all of the above, and everything in between.

As a person who cares, it’s tempting to want to “fix” things or minimize their pain. But here’s the thing: respect for their feelings is more important than a quick fix.

In every human being,” says Mahatria Ra, a spiritual leader and trainer of Mindvalley’s A Journey to Infinitheism, “the need to feel respected is far greater than the need for growth.” 

So, how do we translate this into action? Focus on validation, not correction. Phrases like “It’s okay to feel this way” or even simply “I understand” acknowledge their emotions without judgment.

This doesn’t mean sugarcoating reality, but it does mean creating a safe space for them to express themselves freely.

How to comfort someone when you’re next to them: Your presence can be a powerful source of comfort, so sit with them and offer a listening ear. If they’re receptive to it, use gentle touches, like holding their hand or offering a hug, to provide physical reassurance. 

How to comfort someone over a text: Send thoughtful messages that validate their feelings, such as “I’m here for you” or “It’s okay to feel this way.” With that being said, be mindful of giving advice or trying to fix their emotions.

2. Offer practical help

For some, grief can be paralyzing. You may find moments when they’re in a thousand-yard stare. Even moments where crying is their only form of relief from the numbness.

That makes everyday tasks, like cooking, cleaning, or running errands, seem overwhelming. Offering practical help can provide immense relief.

Mahatria explains that one of the expressions of love is that whenever a person is with you, you’ll do everything in your capacity to make them feel beautiful. “It’s not what I feel for you; it is what I make you feel when you’re with me that makes all the difference in relationships.”

So when you help with everyday tasks, you show respect for their feelings and make them feel less alone. And that kind of grief support can create a sense of belonging and security during such a vulnerable time.

How to comfort someone when you’re next to them: You can help by making sure they have something to eat, getting their errands done, or even just tidying up their space. You don’t have to go above and beyond, but little things may give them ease.

How to comfort someone over a text: Offer specific help through text, like “Can I bring you dinner tonight?” or “Do you need anything from the store?” Let them know you’re available to support them in practical ways, even if you’re not physically there.

3. Create a safe space to honor their loved ones

Many of those who have lost someone feel alone. So your willingness to listen and remember their loved ones can provide them with immense comfort.

As Mahatria highlights, it’s about the importance of making people feel “beautiful” in your presence. During grief, where the person might feel vulnerable and exposed, you can create a safe space for them to express their emotions, share stories, and celebrate the life of the person they lost. 

How to comfort someone when you’re next to them: Give them your full attention and avoid interrupting. If you have positive memories of the deceased, you can share them to show you were part of their life and to potentially spark more stories from your friend.

How to comfort someone over a text: You can start a conversation with “Tell me a story about [loved one’s name]” or “What was a special time you shared?” This invites them to reminisce and celebrate the life of their loved one.

How to comfort someone after a breakup

Oh, heartache—it truly can be a relentless ache. Research even shows that the emotional pain that comes with a breakup lights up the same part of the brain as physical pain.

So if you have a friend or a loved one who’s going through some sort of love rejection, here’s how to lend your emotional support:

1. Be present and listen

Having someone to talk to who will listen deeply and actively without distraction, ask their opinion, and even provide eye contact to demonstrate engagement is a powerful experience,” says Gahmya Drummond Bey, the founder of KidYouNiversity, in her Creating Friendship and Deep Connections Quest on Mindvalley.

That’s what active listening does, though. It’s just simply being there and allowing them to speak about their feelings and memories. 

You don’t have to feel pressured to find the right words. Your goal, really, is to create a safe space for them to express their emotions without judgment.

How to comfort someone when you’re next to them: You can nod, make eye contact, and avoid interrupting. It’s more about being there for them and listening to them as they go through the post-mortem of their relationship.

How to comfort someone over a text: The person might not want to be around people post-breakup. So sending messages, like “I’m here if you need to talk,” can let them know that someone still cares about them.

2. Spend time with them

The brutal part about a breakup is that, one minute, you’re part of a team. The next, you’re facing a solo journey. This sudden shift can trigger a vulnerable feeling of loneliness. 

Loneliness is an issue that we should all take a lot more seriously,” says Gahmya. Research shows it’s actually an epidemic, one that’s more harmful than obesity and smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

So, what can you do on your end? The answer might seem simple, but it’s incredibly powerful: spend time with them.

This sort of distraction helps break the cycle of negative thoughts and provides a much-needed mental break. And your presence reassures them that they are not alone.

How to comfort someone when you’re next to them: Do things that’ll take their mind off the breakup. This could be anything from trying a new hobby, exploring new places, or even just having fun together.

How to comfort someone over a text: Technology is wonderful. You can text, you can video chat, and you can even play games together—any kind of interaction online when you can’t be there physically for them.

3. Show them your support

When someone we know is hurting, many of us automatically provide solutions to the problem. Our intentions might be genuine, but there’s a chance they’re not really what that person needs.

Going through a breakup is essentially mourning the death of a relationship, and everyone grieves in their own way.

So let them lean on you, yes. But one productive way to really show them your support is to ask them straight up, “How can I support you?

You give them an opportunity to share some of their needs with you,” explains Gahmya. “And receiving and giving—not only just giving, but receiving and giving—is part of the beautiful cycle of friendship.”

How to comfort someone when you’re next to them: The fact of the matter is, they may not necessarily know how you can support them. But what you can do is simply sit with them in silence and allow them the space to think about it. There’s comfort in knowing that there’s a person there, even if it’s without the need for words.

How to comfort someone over a text: Again, if they don’t know how you can support them, you can fill that space with positive affirmations. These can be a way to lift their spirits until they’re able to think more clearly.

Two woman hugging

How to comfort someone with anxiety

Fact: Anxiety disorders affect more than 300 million people, according to the World Health Organization.

Also fact: There are ways you can help them in terms of reassurance and support.

Let’s look at a few.

1. Show kindness

The root of anxiety can stem from some form of trauma bond. And that’s something no one can get over just like—snap—that.

So knowing how to comfort someone in this predicament takes extra patience and understanding. What’s more, showing kindness, according to Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, an expert in positive psychology and leadership, can be incredibly powerful.

Just being nice and kind to someone is an act of giving that has value for the receiver, the giver, and the world,” he explains in his The 5 Elements of Happiness Quest on Mindvalley. “Being kind is among the most important characteristics of thriving relationships and, consequently, of happiness.”

How to comfort someone when you’re next to them: Small gestures like giving a warm hug or bringing over some food can make them feel valued and respected. These acts can create a sense of security and confidence, helping to reduce anxiety.

How to comfort someone over a text: It’s no secret that music can be therapeutic. So send them a link to a song that you think might help soothe them.

2. Remind them of the power of mindfulness

If you mindfully engage with life, everything becomes a miracle, a spiritual experience,” Dr. Ben-Shahar points out. What’s more, research shows there are tons of pros to benefit from, like lower stress levels, better emotional regulation, a more positive outlook, more self-awareness, and increased resilience.

The best part? They don’t need to spend hours meditating to see a difference. Even short, daily practices, like focusing on breathing while washing dishes or paying attention to their surroundings, can be effective.

How to comfort someone when you’re next to them: Go on a walk, a yoga session, or a dance class together. The key is to gently bring their attention back to the present moment whenever their mind wanders. And by knowing how to comfort someone in this way, you can help create a sense of calm and peace for them, which can be a powerful tool in managing anxiety.

How to comfort someone over a text: Share simple guided meditations or mindfulness exercises they can do. You can even suggest doing them together, virtually.

3. Suggest professional help

While you can be a great source of support, anxiety can be complex and can lead to prolonged stress. This, as we all know, can have serious impacts on mental and physical health.

Dr. Ben-Shahar suggests that the way we’ve looked at reducing stress may be counterintuitive. He highlights research by psychologist Kelly McGonigal, who found that those who see stress as helpful rather than harmful tend to be healthier, be happier, live longer.

The problem, therefore, is not the stress,” Dr. Ben-Shahar explains. “The problem, rather, is the lack of recovery.”

What would that entail? Anything from breathing exercises to getting a good night’s sleep to taking a vacation to shadow work. And it’s that lack of recovery that can lead to stress and anxiety. 

But here’s the thing: even with healthy recovery habits, anxiety can sometimes feel overwhelming. If their anxiety persists despite your support and self-care efforts, encourage them to seek out a professional who’s trained to help.

How to comfort someone when you’re next to them: While this one would technically be out of your hands, one thing you can do is volunteer to take them to their appointments. Some people are apprehensive about counseling, but if there’s someone there to encourage them, it could be a major stepping stone on their road to recovery.

How to comfort someone over a text: Words of encouragement often help when trying to convince someone to seek help. You can provide a researched list of professionals they could go to so that it can ease the burdens of doing it in their state of mind.

Become a changemaker 

You may not realize it yet, but you have more influence than you know. And knowing how to comfort someone with love, compassion, and kindness can make all the difference in someone’s life, even in the world.

The great thing is, there are experts you can learn from at Mindvalley. For starters, you can check out…

  • Mahatria Ra in The Journey of Infinitheism Quest, where you’ll learn to love yourself unconditionally as well as cultivate deep connections with those around you,
  • Gahmya Drummond-Bey in the Creating Friendship and Deep Connections Quest, where you’ll discover your unique connection language so you can connect with anyone around you, and
  • Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar in The 5 Elements of Happiness Quest, where you’ll explore the science of happiness and what it truly means to live a happy, fulfilling life.

When you sign up for a free Mindvalley account, you can gain access to quest previews and join a community of people who are also discovering how to forge their own unique path.

As Dr. Ben-Shahar once said, “Choice is creation. To choose is to create. Through my choices, I create my reality.” And when you choose Mindvalley, you choose to create a life of greatness.

Welcome in.

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Written by

Tatiana Azman

Tatiana Azman is the SEO content editor for Mindvalley and a certified life coach. She brings a wealth of experience in writing and storytelling to her work, honed through her background in journalism. Drawing on her years in spa and wellness and having gone through a cancer experience, she's constantly on the lookout for natural, effective ways that help with one's overall well-being.
Picture of Tatiana Azman

Tatiana Azman

Tatiana Azman is the SEO content editor for Mindvalley and a certified life coach. She brings a wealth of experience in writing and storytelling to her work, honed through her background in journalism. Drawing on her years in spa and wellness and having gone through a cancer experience, she's constantly on the lookout for natural, effective ways that help with one's overall well-being.
Tal Ben-Shahar, internationally renowned teacher and author in the fields of happiness and leadership
Expertise by

After earning a Ph.D. in organizational behavior from Harvard, Tal Ben-Shahar became renowned for teaching two of Harvard’s most popular courses: positive psychology and the psychology of leadership. He is a prolific speaker and consultant, advising executives at multinational corporations like Microsoft and Google.

Tal’s books, which delve into happiness, leadership, self-esteem, and resilience, are international best-sellers and have been translated into over 30 languages. He continues to share his insights worldwide and through his debut Mindvalley program, impacting audiences globally with his research and teachings.

Mahatria Ra, spiritual teacher, bestselling author, and global speaker
Expertise by

Mahatria is a spiritual teacher, bestselling author, and global speaker renowned for his unique approach to spirituality and self-mastery. His philosophy, Infinitheism, merges over 25 years of spiritual study with Western science and Eastern wisdom, guiding people of all backgrounds towards self-mastery, abundance, and wellness.

Mahatria is celebrated for his ability to simplify complex spiritual concepts into practical steps that empower individuals to enhance their lives and achieve their full potential. His influence extends to top CEOs and high performers in India and around the world.

Gahmya Drummond-Bey, trainer of Mindvalley's "Be Extraordinary for Teens" and "Creating Friendships and Deep Connections" Quests
Expertise by

Gahmya Drummond-Bey is an educator, curriculum designer, and coach focused on enhancing learning experiences for children worldwide. This goal, her “moonshot,” drives all her work, whether it’s creating innovative programs for companies like Mindvalley, teaching in classrooms, or training educators.

She’s designed curriculum in over 30 countries and taught through three pandemics, gaining invaluable insights into global educational practices. Additionally, Gahmya founded KidYouNiversity to ensure kids globally have access to lessons on emotional health and personal growth. Her mission is always to empower educators and improve education at its core.

At Mindvalley, Gahmya extends her impact through the Be Extraordinary for Teens and Creating Friendships and Deep Connections quests, where she continues to shape the future of education and personal development for young people.

How we reviewed this article
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Mindvalley is committed to providing reliable and trustworthy content. We rely heavily on evidence-based sources, including peer-reviewed studies and insights from recognized experts in various personal growth fields. Our goal is to keep the information we share both current and factual. To learn more about our dedication to reliable reporting, you can read our detailed editorial standards.

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Fact-Checking: Our Process

Mindvalley is committed to providing reliable and trustworthy content. 

We rely heavily on evidence-based sources, including peer-reviewed studies and insights from recognized experts in various personal growth fields. Our goal is to keep the information we share both current and factual. 

The Mindvalley fact-checking guidelines are based on:

To learn more about our dedication to reliable reporting, you can read our detailed editorial standards.