Grief and loss can be overwhelming. It is a process that can feel like it goes on for an eternity. Sometimes we can get lost in it. Acceptance of a loss can be the key to overcoming an event. Yet it can be tough to reach especially when ideas about what ‘Acceptance’ is can be many and varied. The grief process can also be complicated by feeling stuck in some of the emotions or worse still feeling thrown around by the mix of thoughts and feelings.
Ultimately, with awareness, grief can actually be approached with more compassion for the process. Grief and loss is a series of emotions including anger, sadness and fear. It may be that you may argue why it shouldn’t have happened. It may be that you go through a phase where you deny that you feel anything at all. There might be wishful thinking, rage, blame, shame and negativity about life and your future. And then there’s the dreaded, ‘what if it could happen again!!!’
As you recognise the changes in the emotions and the ways that the physical body and thoughts process the loss in a way that moves with rather than resists, the physical and emotional pain can feel less overwhelming. Awareness helps people who get caught up in sadness to pull out of it so that depression doesn’t result. It is the process of being able to anchor your ‘self’ to other parts of life that also give meaning and purpose to the loss.
Life is out there to be lived. It is possible to cherish all aspects of the love that continues to exist alongside the loss while continuing to move forward. Loss occurs in all our lives at some point. Grief is the way we process it. Seeing many sides of the experience can add depth to our lives in a way that can help us accept it and live lives that are rich, full and meaningful. It is a process.
Helpful Therapeutic Strategies for Grief and Loss
- Talking through a loss can be helpful. Getting curious about all the layers of the experience can uncover stories about the experiences around the grief and loss that add a richness and depth to it.
- It can be helpful to gain awareness on all the different emotions that come with that loss so that you can observe the way your thoughts and your physical body play a part in it.
- When suffering through loss seeking a healthy balance in life is encouraged and enlisting support of others can be crucial.
- Understanding both the myriad of storylines that exist with grief. Often we get caught on the moment of loss, and the holes that have been created as a result of the ensuing grief. Recognising the depths of experiences we had with a person, activity or thing while they or it was present in our lives and ways we can bring that richness into our current day-to-day life is a way of continuing to live a life of meaning after the loss.
- Finding ways of committing to action that will add depth and meaning to life after loss can be an integral part of living life after loss.
- Seeking alternative therapies and healthy lifestyle activities are highly recommended when working through grief.