If you have a friend or loved one who’s facing a stressful challenge in their life – anything from taking an exam, to having surgery - what’s the best way to comfort them and help them relax? Researchers say send your loved one a text highlighting something positive that has NOTHING to do with their stress. So, for example, text something like: “Remind me to tell you about a new recipe I tried. I know you’ll love it”… or even something mundane, like: “Can you believe how awesome the sky looks today?”… The more mundane the better!

A new study in the journal Computers in Human Behavior found messages like that will calm people significantly MORE than something like “Good luck with your test” or “I’m thinking good thoughts about your surgery today.” The reason?

Because when you call attention to the thing that’s stressing someone out, it can INCREASE their stress and blood pressure. But when you highlight something positive and mundane – like how beautiful the sunrise looked – it distracts people from their stress just enough to help LOWER their blood pressure, and calm their nerves.