Understanding Grief and Positive ways to Cope with it

Because we all have to heal at some point

Photo by Anastasia Zhenina on Unsplash

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of those depths.” ~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Grief is the emotional distress we experience followed by a significant loss. It is all part of the human experience — similar to many other emotions, it exists across beliefs systems, cultures, races, and languages. However, it may differ in how it is expressed, in terms of intensity, duration, etc.

Most often, grief is associated with the death of a loved one. This type of grief doesn’t only lead to a state of deep mourning for the deceased soul, but also the significant life changes, because of the loss. So in other words its also a loss of a life that was planned.

Although this form of grief is arguably the most painful, individuals experience grief in response to losses that may not be due to death. In this article I wanted to highlight what these losses may look like.

When I lost my dad to a sudden heart attack, I was in another country and I couldn’t reach his funeral. I couldn’t say goodbye. But the grief was so deep, that I went completely numb for months. I couldn’t cry at all. I immersed myself in work, completely neglected to acknowledge my feelings and tried to bury the pain in some corner of my heart. It all came gushing out when I lost my younger brother to an unexpected car accident just two years after that. I remember distinctly, the moment I got the news of each of these, I felt like the world went dark for a few moments. It really hits you, like a million trucks together.

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We experience deep levels of grief when:

  1. When we lose a loved one, a friend, a relative, a coworker, a lover, a child, a partner or a pet.
  2. When we experience a painful transition or sudden change in life.
  3. When we lose our job or retire from one.
  4. When we go through a break up or divorce(no matter how amicable)
  5. When we go through a miscarriage.
  6. When a friendship ends.
  7. When we lose something or someone that made us feel safe.

Let’s Understand a few things about Grief

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  1. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. The experience of grief looks and feels very different for everyone. Grief may lead to chaotic and rebellious behaviour or result in withdrawal from society with intense uncontrollable emotions.
  2. We don’t really ever completely recover from grief, but over time, we learn to live with it. And heal from the pain too.
  3. For souls who are grieving, everything feels extremely hard. When they can’t live up to a committment, you need to understand that they are trying their best.
  4. Sometimes, people are not ready to face the the painful emotions that erupt when a major loss or event happens. The grief is so deep that they rather not think of it. It takes years to face the grief, and sometimes it only happens when another life experience has triggered it. Hence, there is no time limit to grieving.
  5. When you speak to someone who is grieving, try not to compare your loss(or anyone else’s loss) to theirs. Instead allow them to share and feel heard.

Positive Ways to Cope with Grief

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While the pain is deep and the grief seems immeasurable, there are positive ways to cope with the grief. You can heal from the grief and lead a full life.

Here are some Positive ways to cope with it:

1. Give yourself permission to feel

Grief is very painful, but it is a natural emotional process of healing after a loss that allows the intensity of the pain and sadness to decrease over time as you move forward in your life. Allow yourself to feel these painful and difficult emotions that are associated to your grief like anger, sadness, shock…but without judgement. We are all different and hence process grief differently. There is no right or wrong way through it.

2. Talk about your loss

Talking is an outlet to release your pent up emotions and feelings. Its a way to process these difficult feelings. This is why talking about these feelings with someone you trust can help you make sense of it and release the pressure you are feeling within. Its not about finding a solution, but just having someone to listen helps immensely.

3. Give yourself Time

Sometimes grief lasts longer, depending on the loss you have faced and the your ability to process those emotions. Understand, that there is no time frame to process or cope from grief. However, sometimes as time passes by and you get further away from the loss, time wise, you may start feeling better with every passing day. Give yourself the time and space to process the loss.

4. Don’t make any major decisions

Grief and the emotional pain, make it very hard to make rational decisions. There is too much pain within, so it is best not to tax yourself with making huge decisions just yet. Everything can wait till you feel upto it. And, if you absolutely must make some important decisions, which you feel can’t wait, ask for advice and counsel from those you trust.

5. Allow Rest

Grief is emotionally and physically tiring. Its exhausting on so many levels. It will make you tired and wont allow you to function normally. This is why its best to take some time to rest and slow down during this time. There is no hurry to get back to normal. Allow yourself the rest your mind and body need.

6. Try to distract your mind

When we are grieving we think too much. The mind can replay the loss again and again which can make us feel too much. It’s a good idea in these times to distract the mind with something you like. An activity like cooking, or listening to soothing sounds or reading a favorite book. Anything that gives you some time away from grieving. This will slowly bring you back to living.

7. Be kind and gentle with yourself

The process of grieving is a tough one. Your loss is valid and huge. Its only natural for you to feel the way you are feeling. So don’t be hard on yourself when you can’t get back to doing the regular things easily. This is the time you need to be gentle and kind with yourself. Talk to yourself with love and gentleness.

What can I say to a loved one who is grieving?

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Grief is such a delicate, complex and painful process. If someone you know and love has experienced a major loss in their life, these statements are a kind and beautiful way to show them that you love and support them.

~ “It helps to talk about our loss. Know that I am here for you when you feel like talking. You are not alone in this”

~ “I can not imagine what you are going through, but please know that I am here for you in whatever capacity you want.”

~ “Sometimes, loss of this magnitude can make us feel lonely or unsafe. It can make us feel scared. I want to assure you that this is normal. You are not alone in this, I am right beside you.”

I request and encourage you to use this article only as a guide. Every soul has a unique experience, so some strategies/tools might not be relevant to a specific situation.

For more specific help and counseling as per your unique situation, please don’t hesitate to contact me.💗

💗With all my love, Zeenat Merchant Syal, M.A, M.Sc

💗Zeenat Merchant Syal is a Practicing Counseling Psychologist & Spiritual Counselor. She writes on Healing the Mind, Heart & Soul on Positive Provocations & offers Online Counseling there too.💗

*A version of this post originally appeared on www.PositiveProvocations.com*

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𝘈𝘶𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘵𝘺, 𝘷𝘶𝘭𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘣𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺, 𝘢𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴 & 𝘨𝘳𝘰𝘸𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘺𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘧 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘦𝘹𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘭𝘦𝘥𝘨𝘦 𝘰𝘯 𝘴𝘱𝘪𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘭 𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘴.

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Zeenat Merchant Syal, M.A, M.Sc

Zeenat Merchant Syal, M.A, M.Sc

Empowering Souls to Heal through Positivity&Self Love🦋Counseling Psychologist|Spiritual Counselor ✒️Writer&Founder: PositiveProvocations.com

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