How to Overcome Grief
Most people will experience grief over the loss of a loved one at some point in their life. The causes may differ, but the emotional pain associated with the loss of a mother, father, child, dear friend or spouse can be extremely debilitating.
Everyone grieves in his own way, but support and advice are available to ease the grief process.
5 Steps to Overcome Grief
1. Give yourself time to heal.
Grieving is a very individual process. According to the Hospice Foundation of America, some people express grief through anger, by experiencing guilt, or through feeling bouts of sadness or loneliness. Whether it takes a few weeks or months, it is essential to take the time you need to come to terms with your particular loss for your own emotional and physical well-being.
2. Allow your emotions to surface; don’t suppress them.
Feeling bereft after a loss is entirely natural and a necessary component of the healing process. Just as a physical wound needs nutrients to heal, fully expressed emotions bring the grieving individual through grief to the eventual state of peace and acceptance.
According to Judy Tatelbaum, MSW, of the Hospice Foundation of America, “Expressing your feelings will help you heal, as feelings expressed disappear. Feelings repressed don’t. So give vent to your feelings.”
3. Confide in a counselor, minister or friend.
Many times a loss brings with it an overwhelming sense of despair. In order to gain a better perspective, it might help to see a counselor or a minister to discuss what you are experiencing. If a dear friend is available, share your thoughts with her to help alleviate some of the stress you may be feeling.
4. Join a support group.
Often, when people experience a loss, they feel very much alone in their experience. Joining a support group may comfort you in the knowledge that you are not alone in what you are feeling. Funeral homes and hospitals often have affiliations with bereavement support groups, as do many faith communities. Reach out and share with those in similar circumstances.
5. Develop a plan for coping with anniversaries or holidays, when you are likely to significantly feel the loss of your loved one.
Realize that you can’t recreate the past; make slight changes in your usual holiday traditions, just enough to honor your memories while recognizing the change in your life. Daily, try to live in the present moment as much as possible. Dwelling on the past will tend to remind you of your regrets or sense of loss. Dwelling on the future may cause anxiety.
Tips and Warnings
- Become involved in outside activities, such as joining volunteer groups or learning new skills. The emotional stress of grief can take its toll on your body, so eat right, and get enough rest and physical exercise.
- Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed.
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