Grief is a response to some form of loss. It refers to the emotional reaction to the loss of someone dearly loved. But it can refer to many other forms of loss and their effects. Either way, you must process grief and let go to stay mentally healthy. Those who are grieving go through many difficult processes as they attempt to carry on in a world with this loss.
1. LET YOURSELF FEEL
Different people tend to react to grief in varied ways. The most positive way to deal with all those reactions, though, is by allowing yourself to truly feel and experience all those painful emotions and minor details, even if it’s tough. It can be tempting to deny your emotions and repress how you feel, especially since it hurts so much. You may even think that forcing your feelings down will promote healing and recovery, but it’s very much the opposite. The more you repress it, the more it will fester and affect areas of your life in hard-to-detect ways. Sadness is not dangerous. Grief is healthy. Approach yourself and your emotions with compassion and show your brain that these feelings are natural and accepted.
2. DON’T LIMIT YOUR PERCEPTIONS OF GRIEF
There are lots of portrayals of grief in the media that paint it in a very particular light. You may believe that grief is particular and rigid in its rules and that anything outside of that no longer constitutes grief.This is usually incorrect, as grieving is so complicated and confusing. Limiting how you view grief can make you feel invalid in your emotions, causing you to struggle to recover at all. Here are some tips, so you don’t limit that perception:
3. DON’T ASSUME GRIEF IS ONLY SADNESS
It is normal to feel emotions that aren’t limited to sadness, and some of these feelings may be ones you’re ashamed of. You may feel happy because a chapter in your life feels closed, and that might make you feel guilty for not grieving correctly. You may feel angry or resentful towards someone you’re grieving over, which may cause you to wonder what’s wrong with you. Understand that these emotions are normal. There is no one way to grieve, and most people experience a colorful array of feelings during the process.
4. DON’T COMPARE YOUR GRIEF TO THE GRIEF OF OTHERS
Lots of people grieve in lots of different ways. The people who grieve for the same reason as you may appear to cope better on the surface, or they may be less debilitated, or they may exhibit a sorrow you can’t quite reach, or they may genuinely recover very quickly. Their experiences have nothing to do with yours, however. It’s normal to contrast your experiences with other people’s, but remember that you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. In addition to that, there is nothing wrong with grieving uniquely, so take your own time. Your grief is about your feelings and your unique experiences, not anyone else’s.
5. DON’T RUSH TO ERASE THE TRACES
There’s a general perception that grief involves completely removing all remnants of something for healing to occur. This isn’t true. In some cases, you may find recovery in the act of completely eradicating a memory of a subject of grief, but more often than not, preserving the memory and thinking about it is more helpful. Here is how to do this:
6. TALK ABOUT IT
Whether your grief is from the loss of a loved one, a missed opportunity, or something else, it doesn’t have to be pushed aside and forgotten. Sometimes, people believe that moving on entails leaving behind all traces of what hurts, but that’s not true. Those traces can keep things alive. Talk about what happened with others, reminisce and reflect, and find support in others dealing with similar grief. Share memories of lost loved ones, and you’ll be able to find peace in a world without them.
7. THINK ABOUT IMPACT
If someone you love is now lost, reminisce on the way they’ve changed your life. Think about the lessons they taught you, whether intentionally or inadvertently, and about the good and bad times you shared. If the grief comes from something that’s a missed chance instead of someone gone, then reflect on how it has changed your life and how you can learn from the loss.
8. SEEK SUPPORT TO HELP PROCESS GRIEF
Grief isn’t something you have to go through alone. You can find positive thinking from being supported, encouraged, and comforted by others. The right kind of social support can play a significant role in recovery and moving on from grief. Here are some ways to find support: The people closest to you will likely want to comfort you for your loss. If you feel ashamed or embarrassed about your need for this comfort, it’s time to learn to accept that help graciously. You can and should also voice your needs to those trying to help you so that they understand how to help you.
There is nothing wrong with needing extra support due to grief. Therapists, counselors, and other mental health professionals are equipped with the tools and knowledge necessary to help you work through your emotions and move on. They can also help you to unpack the more complex intricacies of how you feel.
9. TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTH & SLEEP ENOUGH
When you’re grieving, it’s easy to forget to take care of your physical health. But the state of your body can play a significant role in your grief, and poor health can make it harder to cope, process, and move on. While you can’t be expected to be the perfect picture of fitness while grieving, make sure that your body is kept in a relatively flattering shape. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Grieving individuals may get too little or too much sleep, depending on their unique response to their emotions. Seek a doctor’s help if you’re unable to sleep or unable to wake up, as you need good sleep to keep up the energy required for healing.
10. GET SOME PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
You don’t need to crush it at the gym while grieving – though doing so may work off some of the stressed energy. Instead, focus on getting a little movement into your day. Go for walks, do some stretches, and don’t sit or lie still for too long.