Grief Due To Loss Of A Loved One
How to Deal with the Loss of a Loved One?
Q: Sadhguru, I lost my wife five weeks ago. She was such a good person. Why did this have to happen to her?
Sadhguru: When we lose someone who is dear to us – either by death, disease, or desertion – whichever way we lose them, the biggest problem is that they leave an empty space that they had occupied in our lives. We need to understand, the very nature of life is such that you and your loved ones have to die at some point. The only question is who will die first.
It is important for us to know that we and those around us are not going to be here forever.
This may sound brutal, but that is not the intention. It is very important to come to terms with these things. Otherwise, we will tell ourselves pretty things that will solace us for today, and tomorrow morning, reality will torment us again. We will do the same things again and again.
It is important for us to know that we and those around us are not going to be here forever. When we are here, we must show everyone our best face.
The problem is only that, if a doctor tells you that you are going to die tomorrow, then everyone comes and shows you their best face. If you say, “I’m going to die after fifty years,” most people will not care.
But we do not know whether it will be in fifty years or tomorrow. You know you will die and they will die. You just do not know when, so shouldn’t you show your best face to them?I am showing my best face to you because I know you will die. Sometimes, I know when you will die. Many times, I do not know when you will die. I am just making sure I show my best face to you because you are a dying person.
This is true for every human being. This is true for every life. Who knows when the tree outside your house will die, or when you will die? You do not know.
Tears of Joy, Not of Grief
So, when people dear to us pass away, one thing is, they are dear to us because they have enhanced our lives in some way, maybe in many ways. If people around us have enhanced our lives and we cherish them, we must cherish them joyfully – we should not rue their exit.
We should value them for the enhancement they have brought to our lives; for the sweetness and tenderness they may have shared with us. In some way, at least sometimes, they made you feel complete; they made your life feel complete.
Let their memory always bring tears of joy and love to you, not of grief.
If they have meant many wonderful things to you, please express that to those who are still living around you.
They mattered to you because in some way, they were wonderful to you. Let the memory of them bring back those wonderful aspects to you, rather than drive you into grief and depression. Driving yourself into grief and depression means you have not come to terms with the most fundamental aspect of life – mortality. Whether they are good or bad, they all will die.
This is not to ridicule your loss. I understand what your deceased loved ones mean to you. But I want you to remember them for all the wonderful things that they were. Not for making yourself feel terrible about their exit. If you had died before them, you would have left them in a bad place – so, please stand up as a human being.
Whatever wonderful things that happened to you, in some way have to find expression. If they have meant many wonderful things to you, please express that to those who are still living around you. This is how life goes on.
Pieces of the Collage
When I say “life”, I am talking about life per se, not what you do. You generally think life is your family, your work, your business, your wealth, whatever else you possess. But these are all accessories of life.
You brought in money, wealth, relationships, children, thinking it will enhance your lives in some way.
You gathered so many accessories, and you got so involved, attached, and identified with these accessories that you never experienced this life that you are.The reality is the piece of life that you are is still there – the accessories are falling off over time.
Most people believe life is the collage of things that they have gathered. When a piece of the collage falls off, you suddenly feel as if life is gone, which is not true.
Even before certain people came into your life, you were alive, you laughed, you knew joy. You added people believing it would enhance your life, or maybe there was some need to fulfill.
All that is okay, but now, because of your identifications, you think a piece of life is gone when a certain person is gone.
The reality is the piece of life that you are is still there – the accessories are falling off over time. As you age, your grandfather will die, your father will die; sometimes, your spouse will die.
Some people will lose their hair. Some people will even lose their head – this is not a joke. Some people will lose parts of their bodies. Some people will lose relationships.
Some people will lose things, power, position, or money.
This is all in preparation for your exit. Your load gets reduced a bit, so that when you go, you will go more easily. This is not some philosophy – this is the way life is happening. Because you refuse to look life in the face, you make up your own images in your mind.
And you want to make these psychological pictures into a reality. The psychological drama you create will never become reality. You have to draw the curtain someday. The sooner you are disillusioned, the better. You may come to your senses, or you may become depressed.
That is your choice.
When Life Disillusions You
When life disillusions you, you may sit up and become enlightened, or you may become depressed. If all the illusions go away, that is called self-realization. Right now, you are hanging on to illusions, valuing them and being identified with them so much that you are fighting to keep them. This is maya – it goes on as if it is real, until suddenly, it is gone.
If you do not put down your illusions, the most profound dimensions of life will never touch you.
In a way, you always knew it. From the moment you were born, your clock has been ticking, and one day, it will stop. Well, we try to stretch it. We try to slow it down.We try to make best use of the time we have. We try to make it as profound as possible. It is very important that life touches you.
If life should touch you on a deeper level, you have to put down the world that you have made up in your mind.
If you do not put down your illusions, the most profound dimensions of life will never touch you. Only drama will go on. This is not only a question about someone’s death – this is about your fundamental ignorance about life.
It is time you come to your senses. If all your illusions break right now, if you are absolutely disillusioned, you are also enlightened. But you do not allow yourself to be disillusioned.
If one illusion breaks, you make up the next one.
Grief and Loss
CMHC Business Hours:Monday thru Friday, 8:00am — 5:00pm
Phone: (512) 471-3515 — Student Services Building 5th Floor
Sudden versus predictable loss
How long does grief last?
Normal grief reactions
Grief as a process of healing
Culture, rituals, and ceremonies
Coping With grief
Supporting others who are grieving
Readings on grief and loss
Life after loss: Dealing with grief
Loss is an inevitable part of life, and grief is a natural part of the healing process. The reasons for grief are many, such as the loss of a loved one, the loss of health, or the letting go of a long-held dream. Dealing with a significant loss can be one of the most difficult times in a person's life.
Different kinds of loss
Feelings of loss are very personal, and only you know what is significant to you. People commonly associate certain losses with strong feelings of grief.
These can include:
- Loss of a close friend
- Death of a partner
- Death of a classmate or colleague
- Serious illness of a loved one
- Relationship breakup
- Death of a family member
Subtle or less obvious losses can also cause strong feelings of grief, even though those around you may not know the extent of your feelings. Some examples include:
- Leaving home
- Illness/loss of health
- Death of a pet
- Change of job
- Move to a new home
- Graduation from school
- Loss of a physical ability
- Loss of financial security
Sudden versus predictable loss
Sudden or shocking losses due to events crimes, accidents, or suicide can be traumatic. There is no way to prepare. They can challenge your sense of security and confidence in the predictability of life.
You may experience symptoms such as sleep disturbance, nightmares, distressing thoughts, depressed mood, social isolation, or severe anxiety.
Predictable losses, those due to terminal illness, sometimes allow more time to prepare for the loss.
However, they create two layers of grief: the grief related to the anticipation of the loss and the grief related to the loss itself.
How long does grief last?
The length of the grief process is different for everyone. There is no predictable schedule for grief. Although it can be quite painful at times, the grief process should not be rushed. It is important to be patient with yourself as you experience your unique reactions to the loss. With time and support, things generally do get better.
However, it is normal for significant dates, holidays, or other reminders to trigger feelings related to the loss. Taking care of yourself, seeking support, and acknowledging your feelings during these times are ways that can help you cope.
When experiencing grief, it is common to:
- Feel you are «going crazy»
- Have difficulty concentrating
- Feel sad or depressed
- Be irritable or angry (at the deceased, oneself, others, higher powers)
- Feel frustrated or misunderstood
- Experience anxiety, nervousness, or fearfulness
- Feel you want to «escape»
- Experience guilt or remorse
- Be ambivalent
- Feel numb
- Lack energy and motivation
It is important to note that the grief process is not linear, but is more often experienced in cycles. Grief is sometimes compared to climbing a spiral staircase where things can look and feel you are just going in circles, yet you are actually making progress. Being patient with the process and allowing yourself to have any feelings about the loss can help. If you feel stuck in your grief, talking to a counselor or a supportive person may help you move forward in the healing process. Your cultural background can affect how you understand and approach the grief process. Some cultures anticipate a time to grieve and have developed rituals to help people through the grief process. Grief rituals and ceremonies acknowledge the pain of loss while also offering social support and a reaffirmation of life.
You may not be aware of how your own cultural background affects your grief process. Talking with family, friends or clergy is one way to strengthen your awareness of possible cultural influences in your life. Friends and family may be able to help you generate ideas to create your own rituals. Some have found solace in creating their own unconventional ceremonies, such as a funeral or ceremony with personal friends in a private setting.
Coping with grief
Each one of us has an individual style of coping with painful experiences. The list below may help you generate ideas about how to manage your feelings of grief.
- Talk to family or friends
- Seek counseling
- Read poetry or books
- Engage in social activities
- Eat healthy, good foods
- Seek spiritual support
- Take time to relax
- Join a support group
- Listen to music
- Be patient with yourself
- Let yourself feel grief
You may want to experiment with these ideas or create a list of your own. Talking to friends who have dealt with loss in the past can help you identify new ways of coping. Only you know what works best with your personality and lifestyle. One way to examine your own style of coping is to recall the ways you've dealt with painful times in the past. It's important to note that some ways of coping with grief are helpful, talking to others or writing in a journal. Others may be hurtful or destructive to the healing process, abusing substances or isolating yourself. Healthy coping skills are important in resolving a loss and helping you move forward in the healing process.
Supporting others who are grieving
As the shock of the loss fades, there is a tendency on the part of the griever to feel more pain and sadness. Well-meaning friends may avoid discussing the subject due to their own discomfort with grief or their fear of making the person feel bad.
As a result, people who are grieving often feel more isolated or lonely in their grief.
People who are grieving are ly to fluctuate between wanting some time to themselves and wanting closeness with others. They may want someone to talk to about their feelings. Below are some ways that you can help a friend experiencing loss.
- Be a good listener
- Ask about their feelings
- Just sit with them
- Share your feelings
- Ask about their loss
- Remember the loss
- Make telephone calls
- Acknowledge the pain
- Let them feel sad
- Be available when you can
- Do not minimize grief
- Talk about your own losses
Let me come in where you are weeping, friend,And let me take your hand.I, who have known a sorrow such as yours, can understand.Let me come in — I would be very still beside you in your grief;I would not bid you cease your weeping, friend,Tears bring relief. Let me come in — and hold your hand,For I have known a sorrow such as yours, And understand.
-Grace Noll Crowell
UT Counseling and Mental Health Center: 512-471-3515
CMHC Crisis Line
(24 hours/day, 7 days/week): 512-471-CALL (2255) (UT Students Only)
American Cancer Society: 800-ACS-2345
First Candle (grief support following the death of an infant): 800-221-7437
Austin Center for Attitudinal Healing (support for individuals and families experiencing serious illness, grief, or loss):
The Compassionate Friends (grief support after the death of a child): 877-969-0010
For the Love of Christi (grief support program for those that have lost a loved one): 512-467-2600
Hospice Austin (end-of-life care): 512-342-4700
Project Transitions (serving people with HIV and AIDS): 877-969-0010
Samaritan Center for Counseling and Pastoral Care (interfaith counseling center): 512-451-7337
South Austin Hospital Spiritual Care Department: 512 816 7198
Many of the books listed below can be found at UT Libraries and/or the Longhorn Wellness Center, located in SSB 1.106. The Longhorn Wellness Center provides a lending library of self-help books, audiotapes, videocassettes, and brochures on a variety of topics.
HPRC Lending Library
How to survive the loss of a love by Colgrove, M., Bloomfield, H. & McWilliams, P. Prelude Press (1993)
Companion to Grief by Kelley, P. New York: Simon & Schuster (1997).
When Someone You Love is Dying by Kopp, R. & Sorenson, S. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan (1985).
When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Kushner, Harold Schocken Books (1981).
Learning to Say Good-bye: When a Parent Dies by LeShan, Eda New York: Avon (1988).
Remembering with Love: Messages of Hope for the First Year of Grieving and Beyond. by Levang, E. & Ilse, S. Minneapolis, MN: Deaconess Press (1992).
Mind over Mood: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think by D. Greenberger & C.A. Padesky (New York: The Guilford Press, 1995). (Available at the Longhorn Wellness Center.)
Seven Choices: Taking the Steps to a New Life after Losing Someone You Love by Neeld, E. New York: Delacorte (1992).
How to go on Living When Someone You Love Dies by Rando, Therese New York: Bantam (1991).
Beyond grief: A Guide for Recovering From the Death of a Loved One. by Staudacher, C. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger (1987).
Necessary Losses by Viorst, Judith New York: Fawcett Gold Medal (1986).
Understanding Grief: Helping Yourself Heal by Wolfelt, Alan Muncie, IN: Accelerated Development (1992).
The Journey Through Grief by Wolfelt, Alan Ft. Collins, CO: Companion Press. (1997).
Where can I find help?
UT's Counseling & Mental Health Center (CMHC)
Call 512-471-3515 for information on setting up an appointment with a counselor.
CMHC also offers the CMHC Crisis Line: 512-471-CALL for a telephone counselor.
What Every Man Should Know about Losing a Loved One
Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Brian Burnham. Mr. Burhham holds a Masters of Education in Counseling from the College of William and Mary and is an In-Home Therapist for the Hampton-Newport News CSB.
In the beginning of February 2009, I was just entering my last semester in my Masters program for counseling when after a brief illness, my father died. I had thought of myself as a well put together guy — at the top of my class, with a fiancée and strong prospects for the future, but this put me into a complete tailspin.
I swung from fits of intense rage, to depths of deep depression, to cold and distant numbness. What made matters even worse was that I had no clue what was happening to me, and my classmates and mentors, despite being in the counseling field, seemed just as bewildered.
What was happening to me was grief, and many men in our society, I was woefully unprepared for it.
Unfortunately, the death of a loved one is something that everyone will experience at some point in their life. Modern American society, however, does little to prepare us for the inevitable loss of a loved one.
We need only look at our TV commercials with their emphasis on staying young and healthy in the hope of living forever to see that we live in a culture that prefers not to think about or even acknowledge the existence of death. This is why when the death of a loved one does occur, many men do not understand the experiences they are having and how grief is affecting them.
So in an effort to better understand my own experience and to help my fellow men, I’ve put together some research on the way men experience and cope with grief.
Symptoms of Grief in Men
Research shows that after a loss men experience greater changes in mood than do women and experience more consequences for their physical health. However, we tend not to associate typical grief symptoms such as sadness and crying, depressed mood, and a sense of hopelessness with men or manliness.
While men do experience these “typical” symptoms of grief, they may display less of them. This is due at least in part to the fact that there are a number of symptoms that are common in men but relatively rare in women, giving the male experience of grief a unique character.
These symptoms include:
- Anger: often directed at someone or something seen as responsible for the loss, but sometimes directed at the self or at nothing in particular.
- Irritability: grieving men may be easily irritated and annoyed and may overreact to small annoyances.
- Withdrawal: grieving men may withdraw from social contact as well as withdraw emotionally, experiencing an emotional numbness.
- Rumination: persistent thinking about the deceased or death in general.
- Substance Abuse: grieving men may attempt to cope by abusing alcohol or other drugs.
It’s possible for a grieving man to display any and all of the gender specific symptoms described above and relatively few of the typical symptoms.
This can cause anxiety in some men because they feel they’re “not grieving enough” or “not grieving the right way” and confusion in those around them who don’t understand why the grieving man is reacting the way that he is.
However, the way men grieve will vary widely from man to man and what they are experiencing is normal.The length of the grieving process will also vary widely from man to man. While most HR departments only grant 3 days bereavement leave, if they give it at all, grieving typically takes much longer. Two months is considered the “standard” length of symptoms after which a person should be evaluated for more serious problems.
However, recent research suggests that the process may be much longer and that even well adjusted men may still have some mild symptoms, such as sadness on the anniversary of the deceased’s passing, as much as twenty years later.
The important fact to remember is that every man will grieve at his own pace and should not worry about “being over it by now.”
The degree of symptoms men experience will also vary widely. Research has shown that some men experience resiliency and experience only mild symptoms of grief for a short period, while others experience much stronger symptoms for a longer period.
Surprisingly, research shows that the intensity of symptoms is not related to the quality of relationship the grieving person had with the deceased.
Men who had a difficult relationship with their wives and fathers were just as ly to experience prolonged and intense grief at their deaths as those that had good relationships with them.
How Men Cope
Now that we have a sense of what grief is for men, the inevitable question is “What do we do about it?” Most men deal with grief using the same strategies that they use to deal with everything else: by controlling their emotions and relying on their own internal strengths.
Men therefore do not respond well when asked to do “grief work” which typically involves talking about the emotions associated with the loss. Research supports this, showing that emotional expression does not lead to reduced grief symptoms in either men or women.
However, simply avoiding thinking about the loss is not helpful either.
According to research, those who coped with a loss most effectively were those that alternated between “loss oriented coping” which involves thinking about the loss and what it means for the person and “restoration oriented coping” which includes planning for the future and problem solving.Since men tend to be planers and problem solvers, restoration oriented coping often comes naturally to the grieving man. But a grieving man also needs to address issues and emotions associated with the loss itself.
Often these issues will challenge the grieving man’s identity and sense of masculinity.
Coming to terms with these challenges, as well as resolving regrets related to the deceased are all part of a man’s long term coping with loss.
While every man’s experience of grief and coping style will vary, there are some things that all men who are grieving have in common and so the following tips are presented for those men who are grieving and those that are trying to help them.
Tips for the Grieving Man
Experience your grief in your own way. As long as you are not harming yourself or others, there is no wrong way to grieve. Grief is a unique experience for every man and the way you grieve may not be what others expect or what you expected for yourself. Permitting yourself to honestly experience grief is an important step towards healing.
Give yourself time to grieve. After the passing of a loved one, there are often many arrangements to be made and others mourners to be supported and cared for. While no man wants to shirk his duty, it is important to allow time for yourself to grieve as well.
Watch out for harmful behaviors. While experiencing anger is normal, it is important to manage that anger so that it doesn’t harm others. Also, grieving men are much more ly to develop problems with alcohol or other substances. Their use should be carefully monitored.
Call on your man friends. Other men, especially other men who have had a similar loss, can be some of your strongest sources of support.
Know when to seek help. For most grieving men, psychological counseling may be helpful but is not necessary. However, if you experience serious thoughts of suicide or self-harm or develop an alcohol or other drug problem, seek psychological care immediately.
Tips for Helping a Grieving Man
Be there. Simply knowing that you are available to support him has a positive impact on a grieving man. Even if you think it goes without saying, make it a point to tell him that you are available and willing to help.
Listen. A grieving man may or may not want to talk about his experiences. If he does, listen openly. Generally, the less you talk the better. Avoid giving advice or problem solving unless asked.
Allow him to experience his grief his way. Don’t set timetables for his grief or expect him to grieve in a certain way. Follow his lead in how you can help.
Take care of yourself. Seeing a friend in the depths of grief is difficult and takes its toll mentally. Make sure to provide for your own care so that you have the energy required to help your friend.
Know when to seek help. Most men will proceed through the grieving process without need for psychological counseling, however, if your friend threatens or attempts suicide, harms or threatens to harm themselves or others, or develops an alcohol or drug problem, advise them to seek psychological care immediately.
Listen to our podcast about what it’s to become a widower:
My grief feels too painful to bare—if you’re struggling with the loss of a loved one, consider these tactics or grief counseling
- Grief is an incredibly difficult as well as unpredictable process—which means that it looks different for everybody.
- We must all learn how to grieve effectively, through strategies that work specifically for us and our situation.
- That being said, there are healthy tactics that are important for any grieving individual to employ such as eating well, prioritizing sleep, and talking with a grief counselor.
- Grief counseling provides us with healthy coping skills and also serves as a healthy outlet for expressing/working through the painful emotions we experience.
- Furthermore, grief counselors can help us to address and manage potential issues—behavioral, cognitive, physical, and spiritual—that may arise as a result of the loss.
Up until a few years ago, I couldn’t quite grasp the concept of grief. Not even remotely.
I was fortunate enough to have never experienced the loss of a close loved one. All of my immediate family members, friends, even pets, remained in virtually good health for the majority of my childhood. Then, in the fifth grade, my best friend called me bawling. Her mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Throughout our middle and high school years, it was a struggle. It was a struggle for Anna’s mom to care for her five girls (let alone, do anything) in sickness.
It was a struggle for Anna to watch her mother lose strength. And it was a struggle for me to watch my friend lose hope.
But still, I didn’t yet understand what grief looked … what it meant and felt to suffer from losing someone so incredibly close and important to you.
Flash forward to my freshman year of college: I receive a phone call from my best friend—she’s calm. Anna informs me that her mother passed away that morning. Relaxed and nonchalant, she says she’s doing just fine, but has to go. She’ll talk to me later and hopes I have a great day.
Over the next few months, Anna came undone.
She went through periods: there were times when she insisted (and truly believed) she was just fine; there were times when all she could do was cry; there were times when she went to school and work without issue; there were times when she drank herself into oblivion and cursed God for “doing this to her.”Anna was a lost, reckless ball of emotions. She didn’t know how to feel, how to act, how to continue on without her mom.
Through the next couple years of holding her, consoling her, checking up on her, and worrying every single second about her—I began to grasp just how truly difficult loss can be. I saw the pure agony loss brings. I saw how truly painful grief is.
But more importantly, I saw someone climb that low level of despair and move forward with their life after a devastating loss.
Tactics for Grieving Effectively
Anna clearly went through some rough patches (and still does, five years later), but she ultimately decided to take control of her life again.
As sad and hopeless as she felt, she knew she had to address those emotions more effectively and take productive steps toward healing. So, she swapped the bottle of alcohol for a glass of green tea each morning.
She started exercising again and scheduling time with friends. And she took a much-needed month’s break from work.
These simple changes created a solid foundation for Anna. They helped her begin to heal and set the tone for grieving more effectively. That’s not to say, however, that this is the right course of action for every person struck by grief.
Kriss Kevorkian, PhD, MSW—expert in grief, death, and dying—explains that every grieving process differs from the next.
You ultimately have to find what works best for you… but a great place to start is creating a healthy routine and talking with a mental health professional:
“Our grieving process is going to be different from another, but while life goes on, so must we. You might not feel it, but you have to go on. Do your best to stick to a routine, but be gentle with yourself.
If you don’t feel you can go to work or school, give yourself another day off, but don’t overdo it. Keep moving forward as best you can, gently, while allowing yourself time to grieve and share with others.
Continue, or begin a routine of eating healthy and getting enough sleep while seeing a grief counselor. There isn’t a “one size fits all” model to grief. This is a life lesson that we need to learn because life is filled with grief and loss as we age.
It’s best to learn as much as we can about it so we’ll be able to cope well when it happens again.”
Deal with Difficult Emotions in Grief Counseling
I plead with Anna to see a grief counselor, but she insisted she would be okay without it.
And while that might be true—as she’s back to her happy, motivated, hard-working self—talking with a mental health professional would’ve helped her deal with all of those troubling emotions as well as identify a healthy plan for moving forward. Kevorkian explains just how grief counseling can help us learn healthier coping skills and save us from potentially harmful side effects:
“The impact grief has on us often depends on the relationship we had with the decedent. If the person who died was a person that you were very close to, I’d recommend grief counseling to help make sure you’re grieving process is healthy and that you have someone to talk with about it.
Furthermore, losing a loved one can cause behavioral, cognitive, and physical issues not to mention spiritual, especially if you lose a child. In that case, the bereaved might not want to eat, perhaps sleep, all day.
They may also have feelings of despair and anger towards a religious figure, which is another reason why grief counseling is recommended.”
13 Ways to Handle Grief After the Loss of a Loved One
Grief and loss are never easy to deal with. But by doing some or all of these simple steps, you will discover that life has a way of healing your pain. Living with and loving someone for many years, through the joys and difficulties, has already made you stronger than you realize.
1. Pray for Strength
Grief is one of the hardest things anyone can face in life. It is very painful and can take a long time to process. This is why you must rely on your faith to carry you through. Pray when you need help and strength. Trust that your prayers will be answered. God will give you the strength you need to face anything. All you have to do is ask for help and you will be helped.
Know that you are loved every minute of every day, and you are never alone. Whatever your religious beliefs are, now is the time for faith. Ask for help in dealing with your sorrow, and pray for the strength you need to endure.
2. Cry When You Feel it
Pain is something that hits you on and off, no matter what you are doing. No one expects you to act nothing has changed in your life. If you need to cry, just cry. It’s ok to let your feelings out, and it’s healthy to express your emotions. Understand that your sadness will lessen as time goes by and allow yourself the time and space you need to cry about what has happened.
3. Keep a Journal
Whatever you are feeling, it’s a good idea to write it down. Buy a nice journal and make it part of your day to spend time thinking and writing about what’s going on. It’s amazing how much it helps to express your thoughts, and then if you need to, you can read over what you have written.
It will help you to process your emotions and sort out what you want to do next. Try to think positive and surround yourself with positive thoughts and prayers that you . Pin positive thoughts on the wall around the house.
4. Call or Write to Friends and Family
One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to just talk to your friends and family. Make some phone calls or write to the people in your life that you are closest to.
Avoid being isolated from friends. You need to see them and they need to see you, to know that you are okay. Talking with your friends is a good way to talk about all the good memories you have made together, and that will make you feel better.
Find ways to do things for your friends and family, because that will make you feel good. Help someone else, and you automatically help yourself.
5. Remember to Stay Busy
One of the most important steps you can take is to just stay busy. Fill your days with activities. Do the things you enjoy. Find new things to do.
Spend time doing the things that need to be done around the house. Organize your belongings. Clean out closets. Go through and sort out things that need to be sorted.
This will give you a feeling of accomplishment, which will raise your spirits. Avoid spending time being inactive.
6. Set Simple Goals
Every day, or every week, you can make a list of some of the simple goals you want to do for that week. It can be anything at all. Ask yourself what you would to do. Decide what is important for you to get done. You can even list things that might be easy, doing some exercises, or planning your meals.
As long as you have goals, you will have things to look forward to. Life goes on, and this way you will feel you can do what needs to be done to take care of yourself.
7. Go Somewhere New
Think of somewhere you would to go. Getting the house is a great way to help you change your focus. Think of places you want to see and make some plans to go somewhere you have never been, but always wanted to go. Take a trip, when you are ready, because traveling lets you explore new places and experience new things and feelings.
8. Live in The Moment
It is very important not to let yourself get stuck in your past memories. The past is over and gone. The only thing real is right now, this moment, and what you are doing.
Let yourself experience the moment. Slow down. Stop to experience the beauty of your surroundings. Find something to appreciate, whether it’s listening to your favorite music, watching the birds, playing with your pets, or watching water flowing over a fountain. Things watching the flames in a fireplace, or enjoying beautiful scenery, are great ways to live in the moment.
Get outside and breathe the fresh air. Go for walks in some of your favorite locations and you will learn to live in the moment and appreciate the beauty of life. The simple things in life are some of the most beautiful and the most soothing to your soul.
9. Be Good to Yourself
This is one of the most important things you can do. Just be good to yourself. Find simple ways to appreciate who you are and love who you are.
This can be as simple as shopping for a new pair of shoes, or going out to dinner at a fancy restaurant. Reward yourself, because you deserve it. Love yourself because you are loved. Be good to yourself in even the smallest of ways, and it will help ease your sorrow, and help you learn to live without the person who has passed away.
You took care of them, and now it’s time for you to take care of you. Grief comes from trauma, so you need therapy, and being good to yourself is good therapy.
10. Start a Creative Project
Find something creative that you to do. Start a new hobby, or take up an old hobby that you enjoy. Do something that requires your attention to be focused.
This doesn’t have to be something complicated or hard. In fact, the simpler it is, the better it is. Just do something to stay busy. Make something, bake something, or create something fun. Art is great therapy. Choose something you and you will be amazed at what you can accomplish.
Being creative is an excellent way to stimulate the feel good hormones in your brain. Plus, you will have something to show for your efforts when it is finished.
11. Learn Something New
When you feel ready, you can take another step that will help you tremendously: learning something new. This can be anything you want to learn. Whether it is learning to play a musical instrument the piano or guitar, or taking a class of some sort, or learning a new computer program. Whatever you do, it will benefit you in more ways than you can know.
When you get into learning mode, it allows you to focus your energy away from your pain and onto something else. Don’t make it something hard. Just make it something you really want to learn. Then your desire and your ability will help you get the positive motivation you need to accomplish your goal. All you have to do is decide what your goal is and get started.
12. Treasure Your Memories
Take the time you need to treasure your memories. For instance, you can organize all your photos of all the time spent with your loved one. This will help you feel good about everything in general. Plus, it can be enjoyable too review photos.
But, do this only when you are ready to do it. If you do it too soon, it will be too painful, so wait until you are really ready to see the photos. Treasuring your memories will help you feel grateful for all the good times you spent with your loved one. Gratitude is a very beneficial attitude.
13. Spend Time With Loved Ones
Getting out and doing things with your family and friends is a very important way to deal with grief. Understand that everyone who loves you is willing and ready to help you get on with your life.
This will take time, of course, but just making the effort to spend time with others will keep you active, and help you face any emotions you need to express. Reach out to everyone around you, because you need those connections.
You are loved and needed by your friends and family. This never changes, and the good feelings that come from spending time with those you love are the most wonderful feelings in life.Everything you do from now on needs to be focused on taking care of yourself and learning to move on with your life.
Remember to pray for strength, cry when you need to, keep a journal, call or write friends, stay busy, set simple goals, go somewhere new, live in the moment, be good to yourself, be creative, learn something new, treasure your memories, and spend time with those you love. These simple steps will help you deal with your loss and move ahead with your life in positive and constructive ways.
Featured photo credit: Photo by Karen Bresnahan via .com