POSITIVE WAYS OF COPING WITH GRIEF
Losing a loved one is the most stressful event anyone can endure. It is also one of the most human of events for it brings forth so many different feelings and emotions. It is a time to mourn, a time to reflect, and a time for love. Perhaps we all grieve differently, however, we all grieve.
Bereavement is a difficult journey and something we get through, not get over. Although grief is a condition everyone must endure, it is important not to let grief dominate your life, and in essence, become your life. Avoiding grieving the loss of a loved one, is not a healthy alternative to working through the grief to arrive at a new normalcy and deeper awareness and fullness of life. The following is a list of some coping strategies the survivors may find useful:
- Turning to God. Even if this means being angry at God for a short time, God understands us. Even if we blame God for our sorrows, God will help us find the inner strength to endure this time of hardship.
- Embracing one’s faith. Most major religions of the world agree physical death is not the end of our existence. Finding comfort, solace, and answers from faith may be reassuring and bring hope.
- Connecting with one’s faith community. Most faith communities will have grief share programs or other means to assist people suffering the loss of a loved one. Now is the time to seek out help from compassionate people.
- Reach out to family members and close friends. Don’t go through grief alone. This is the time to reach out to those who care for you and love you. They too may be experiencing the pain you are enduring. Facing difficulty together is better than facing it alone.
- Indulge in uplifting activities. These activities may be as esoteric as studying philosophy or as centering as planting a tree. Perhaps it is even finding a beautiful place to release the ashes of a loved one. Sometimes just walking through a garden can be uplifting. These things can be healing in nature and may bring us closer to our awareness of God.
- Meditation, centering Prayer and stress reduction techniques. These contemplative disciplines can help to control stress and allow one to find a deeper state of awareness or relaxation. Meditation and Prayer may assist in one’s spiritual development by clearing the mind of the day to day stress, and allow one to focus on the grace of God.
- Grief Counseling. (Support groups or individual therapy). It helps to be able to discuss and even vent your feelings to people who understand. Most people have experienced the loss of a loved one, and being able to “be yourself” in a non-judgmental environment can be healing.
- Consult with a health professional. Grieving is a tremendous physical drain on the human body. You may wish to consult with a health professional for information on supplements or dietary changes which may be necessary to bring the body into a healthy balance. In some instances properly prescribed medications may be beneficial.
- Avoiding stressful situations and decisions. This is important especially in the initial stages of grief when people are not always exercising their best judgment. In particular, don’t try to make financial decisions that can be postponed. Don’t sell the house for the first year and consult legitimate financial advisors and professionals to help with these and other financial details.
- Physical exercise. This is an excellent way to “take the edge” off the physical symptoms of grief. Studies show that physical exercise releases endorphins into the body which can alleviate stress and mental anxiety.
- Allow yourself to observe special anniversary dates. This may mean sharing a meal with a friend or family members on the birthday of the loved one who passed, or just saying a prayer on the day that person passed. Instead of trying to ignore dates which remind you of the loved one who passed, embrace them and use them as a time to honor the person who brought so much love into your life.
- Express your feelings in a creative way. The creative process can often help people cope with emotional pain, sadness and depression. For example, write a letter to your loved one who has passed or keep a journal of your feelings. Like physical exercise, expressing feelings in writing can also “take the edge” off of the symptoms of grief. By keeping a journal of your journey through grief, you can periodically refer back to an earlier entry to see how you have progressed in healing. Creativity is a gift from God, and when used as a means to turn a negative into a positive, it becomes a blessing from God. Some of the greatest works of art, literature, and music have been created by people who were expressing their pain in a creative fashion.
- Give yourself time to grieve. This is all too often disregarded in our society. In the United States, most employers allow 3 days leave for bereavement. The idea that one only feels grief for 3 days is unrealistic, if not absurd. The reality is that grief usually takes 18 months to 3 years, sometimes 5 years to fully process. So, don’t put unrealistic demands upon yourself to “get over it.” Instead let yourself heal according to your own time frame.
- Have a good cry! Recent medical studies have found that tears of grief actually contain stress hormones and other toxins which cause grief. Crying not only purges these chemicals from your body it also stimulates production of endorphins which are the “feel good” hormones in our body. Crying doesn’t make one weak, it can actually strengthen you emotionally and physically. So, if you feel the urge to shed tears of grief for a deceased loved one–do it! It will make you feel better.
- Making contact with your loved one who is in spirit. Contact with the spirit of your loved one can be an important therapeutic step in the journey through grief. It will help you to understand that your loved one has not ceased to exist, only that he or she has transferred to a different dimension. It can also help you to understand that your relationship with this loved one has transformed from one of a physical nature to one of a spiritual nature.
The journey through grief is a long one and it is important to give oneself time to grieve and to endure the overwhelming emotions that often accompany grief. Everyone moves at his or her own pace and along this path there will be circumstances which hinder one’s progress and circumstances which assist one’s progress. It may even take a lifetime to reach the desired goals of acceptance and inner peace.
Achieving acceptance and inner peace does not mean the survivor will feel the same way every day. As time passes, the interval of waves of grief become farther and farther apart and their intensity diminishes. As this occurs, some begin to think that it is disloyal to feel better. That is not the case. Your loved one on The Other Side sees and feels your pain and also rejoices when you eventually feel good again, even while recognizing you still love and often miss the one who has crossed over to The Other Side.
As a medium, Mark Anthony believes making contact with a loved one on The Other Side can help someone in the journey through grief. “It is therapeutic to know that the soul is immortal and we truly survive our physical death,” Mark said, “While spirit contact through a medium will not end the suffering of the bereaved, it may help that person obtain a different perspective on death. This new perspective may transform the feeling of the finality of death into the realization death is merely the transference of our energy, of who we are, to a higher realm.”
To schedule a session with Mark, click here.