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DEAR HARRIETTE: My friend recently started talking to this guy, and it seems to be going really well. However, he lives and goes to school in a different city from my friend. It is hard for them to make time for each other with busy schedules and long distances, but they are determined to make it work. My friend has been in only one relationship before, close in distance and for a long period of time. I think that they’re having doubts about starting up something so different from what they are used to. I think that they are a really good fit, and I would like to see it last for my friend’s sake, but I do not want to get too involved. How do you think I should reassure them or talk to them about this new relationship? Should I talk about it at all? — Far BF
DEAR FAR BF: If your friend asks you for your opinion, that’s when you share whatever is in your heart. The reality is that the two of them have to figure out for themselves whether this relationship will work. Plenty of people have managed long-distance love well, but it is not easy. Thanks to technology, they can see each other and talk more intimately than before we had video chat capabilities, but that is obviously not the same as being in each other’s physical company. Be there for your friend as needed. Keep your opinions to yourself until they are requested.
DEAR HARRIETTE: Recently, I have been extremely stressed out, and I do not know what is causing it. However, I do know that accelerated schoolwork and a busy schedule tend to make me feel more anxious than I already do. I am trying to find simple grounding techniques to help calm me down when I feel really on edge. I tried counting and deep breathing, but they do not always help me. I have read that you practice meditation, so I was wondering if you had any advice on how I could dissipate my stress. Are there any simple routines that help you when you feel overwhelmed? Are any of them silent? I don’t want to draw attention. — Stress
DEAR STRESS: It’s good that you have a sense of what stress feels like in your body. Keep paying attention to that, and do your best to notice when it first shows up. If you can pinpoint what triggered it, you may be able to adjust your behavior early on to dissipate it somewhat.
Meditation is an excellent way of calming your entire being. So is simple deep breathing. You can silently sit for a couple of minutes and take three deep, cleansing breaths. As you breathe in, invite goodness and love into your being. As you breathe out, exhale any negative thoughts or feelings that are within you. You can do this sitting in a chair, walking down the street or even ducking into a restroom stall for a couple of minutes.
Consider taking a walk or doing some form of exercise to help release the tension and negativity that you are feeling. Drink lots of water and avoid sweet drinks or alcohol. Surround yourself with people who love you and who are tender with you during this time. Get professional help if none of this making you feel better.