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Six Steps for Helping a Friend in Distress

It can feel challenging to watch a close friend suffer as they fight their demons or hit a rough patch caused by an unexpected major life change that results in feelings of anxiety, panic, stress, or a full-blown crisis. It’s hard knowing what to say or do. So how DO you help? 
First, know your own boundaries. People experiencing extreme anxiety and depression may make seemingly onerous requests: expecting you to drop everything to run to their aid. Don’t worry. Set your boundaries. Do what you can. And don’t beat yourself up for not being able to do or give more.
If, for instance, you cannot give a huge block of time to your friend, what can you give? A quick check-in phone call or a short walk and chat can be as helpful and appreciated as it is invigorating. You can listen. You don’t have to take on their crisis. You simply need to be present. 
Listening is in short supply in our lives. Someone in crisis is not seeking advice so much as they are looking for a listening ear. They need t…

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