Grief is one of life’s undesirable events that can happen to anyone at any time. It is a normal part of the human experience, but it is not something we like to think about or discuss. Grief is an emotion that can be experienced in response to the loss of a loved one or a life-changing event. It is often accompanied by profound sadness, feelings of helplessness, and other reactions, such as anger and guilt. Grief can also manifest itself in physical symptoms such as fatigue or insomnia. Although grief is a natural part of life, it can be challenging to cope with, and it is essential to have an open dialogue about the grief process. Talking about grief can help us understand and accept it and provide comfort for those who are struggling. The following are some suggestions for managing grief. Some may be more common than others, yet no two people grieve the same way.
Be intentional in occupying your mind.
Try to keep yourself occupied by occupying your mind with positive things (e.g., reading books, going for a walk, playing games with family). Thinking about the loss isn’t something we should avoid. However, interrupting our thoughts by focusing on other things helps us take a mental break from such a traumatic event and prevents rumination and depression.
Take care of yourself physically.
Grief is an emotional experience that requires us to be kind to ourselves. Grief symptoms may come out of nowhere or be so subtle that they’re barely noticeable. It’s not a matter of “if” but rather “when” you start noticing yourself becoming depressed. Have a predetermined list of activities written down. Physical activities include taking a shower, eating healthy foods, exercising, etc. These activities will help you feel better and give you a sense of accomplishment.
Be aware that grief is not a linear process.
Grief does not follow a linear path from one stage to the next. The grieving process can be unpredictable and may involve periods where you feel stuck in a particular stage or experience several stages at once. The “grieving” process involves five stages: denial, anger (or resentment), bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance. Each stage will accompany overwhelming emotions, sadness, or even anxiety. Understand this is normal. Experiencing these stages is inevitable. Know that in time, it will get easier. It ‘s important to be mindful of your emotions and allow yourself to take whatever time is necessary to grieve; however, if you notice yourself getting stuck in a particular stage, try to move forward. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, seek professional help.
Permit yourself to feel.
People grieving will not just be “happy” knowing their lost loved one is now “in a much better place.” They’re going to experience feelings that they may have never felt before. And that’s okay! Recovery is a slow process; losing a loved one forever changes a person. Happiness can sit on the back burner. Right now, feelings are essential. Don’t let feelings go unnoticed. Notice the intensity of your emotions. You’ll feel sadness, loneliness, fear, guilt, anger, frustration, confusion, hopelessness, and more. Allow yourself to feel whatever emotion(s) you’re experiencing. Be patient with yourself.
Seek out activities that bring joy.
Grief can be overwhelming, and it’s important to take time for yourself. Do things that you enjoy and make you feel happy and relaxed. Spend time with friends or family members who are supportive and understanding of what you’re going through. Engage in activities that bring you joy such as playing music, cooking, drawing, or any other creative outlet. Don’t forget to take care of yourself mentally and physically. Exercise, eat a balanced diet, and get plenty of rest.
Have a support system in place.
Grieving is hard. People who are suffering often don’t want help. They don’t want friends and family members to see them as a burden. They don’t want people to feel sorry for them because they’re grieving. Furthermore, they may not realize that the sympathy of others is what they need most right now. Friends, colleagues, family members, clergypersons, and therapists play different roles in helping people deal with grief. Having a support network can make the difference between feeling alone and coping with the pain of losing someone close to you. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help when you’re feeling overwhelmed. It’s okay to not be okay. Others are here for you and want to help.
New Heights Counseling is here for you.
Grief can be hard to manage, but it doesn’t have to be done alone. Our licensed and experienced counselors are here to help you through the grieving process and provide support during this difficult time. We offer both individual and couples counseling. We aim to help you find hope and healing in your grief journey. Don’t hesitate to contact us at (850) 757-1552 for more information or to schedule an appointment, click send message
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Monday 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
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- Coping with Grief and Loss, Melinda Smith, HelpGuide
- How to overcome grief’s health-damaging effects, Harvard Health
- Welcome Video, New Heights Counseling Founder & Clinical Director Colleen Wenner
About the Author:
Colleen Wenner is the founder and clinical director of New Heights Counseling, where she provides counseling services for individuals struggling with grief and other mental health issues. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Master Certified Addiction Professional. Colleen is a certified supervisor in Florida and an EMDR trauma-certified practitioner and consultant in training. Colleen is committed to providing excellent client care and services the Fort Walton Beach, Crestview, Niceville, Destin, and surrounding communities.
Colleen has consistently advocated for mental health wellness and has dedicated her entire life to promoting awareness among the public. She is featured on various podcasts such as Practice of the Practice (The #1 Podcast for counselors in private practice), Shrink Think Podcast, and The Salty Christan Podcast, to name a few. She has also contributed to several Yahoo Best Life, Unfinished Man, UpJourney, and WebMD articles. Colleen uses compassionate and authentic communication to help clients understand themselves better and feel more confident about their ability to improve their lives.