When you've had a major loss, whether it's parent, a child, a partner, a close friend, even a job, it's easy to feel like life will never be the same. You may be flooded with regrets for what did (or didn't) get said or done. You might feel resentment (whether justified or not). Many people feel hopeless or helpless about continuing with that loss hanging over them, knowing that they can't control change. Know that it's normal to experience despair, denial, feelings of failure, guilt, being out of control, insecurity, confusion, panic, even numbness.
In Dr. Louis LaGrand's helpful book Healing Grief, Finding Peace 101 Ways to Cope With the Death of Your Loved One, he says that emotional wounds heal if we don't keep them raw and flowing by refusing to release them and that your past does not determine your future, unless you allow it to. You grieve because you loved well. So let grief run its natural course through you.
Your logical mind may tell you that you can get through this, but your mixed emotions of fear, sadness, hurt, anger, etc. may have taken over. Though you may agree with Tolle in The Power of Now, "How insane to resist what already is," you may find it hard to let reality win over feelings. I found this article very helpful.
When we really get that it's not what happens that causes us pain, but what we tell ourselves about it, we can move forward. Thinking and telling ourselves that something is awful is what causes our negative reaction to it. Remember that grieving for a loss is natural. Do let the tears flow. Take the time you need to be with what is so right now. Below are six ways to help you deal with grief.
1, Don't Be Afraid To Seek Support
If you don't know where to start, talk to friends and family — they will probably feel good about the opportunity to be helpful. Seek support from your church and community. Look up grief support groups. You will experience that you are not alone — and your presence and sharing may be a boon to others.
2. Journal About It
Check out Grief And Healing for some ideas, and follow these grief journaling prompts that suggest you start with "I want," "I feel," "I miss," "What would you like people to know or do?" and others. Or see what nurtures your process. You'll also find many helpful ideas here.
3. Walk Or Exercise
It will help your body and mind. Go to a park or lake or anywhere you can feel connected to Nature. Meditate. Listen to soothing music. Spend time on an activity that you enjoy. Good self-care will be as useful in your healing process as anything else. Eat healthy, get enough sleep, listen to your body and your heart — do what gives you peace and comfort. You may find that establishing new routines is helpful. Join a Meetup group. Join a birding or trail-walking group. If there's a particular time of day that brings up the loss of your loved one, feel the sadness briefly and move physically or emotionally to a new place. Always remember to breathe slowly and deeply and calmly.
4. Be Restoration-Oriented
Consider what you've done in the past to deal with sadness and loneliness. Think of what others have done in their grieving process. Know that you will get to a place of peace and acceptance. As LaGrand suggests, focus on being restoration-oriented rather than loss-oriented. You're working toward resilience, and daily action will be immensely helpful as you transform grief into acceptance. That might include looking at family photos, sharing memories with family and friends, reading novels that include loss, gardening, a short trip with a friend, a community center activity, and an awareness that it's not what you did in the past, but what you do today that counts. Perhaps it's writing down 1-3 things each day that you want to complete.
It may include affirmations, which ask a question that prompts the brain to find an answer. An affirmation may say "I choose to accept and love myself." An affirmation might ask "How did it get so easy to love and accept myself as I am grieving?" Or "What makes it so natural for me to seek peace and comfort?" Think of how you want to feel and act, and turn it into a positive question. You might ask "What makes it so matter-of-fact for me to know that I'll make it through this process with ease and grace?" Sacred Self includes "Why do I feel increasingly happy and healthy every day?" Keep Reading ...
More stories from YourTango: