Coping with the loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult things you’ll go through in life. Unfortunately, most of us experience this at some point throughout our lives. While time heals many wounds, the grieving process can be a very painful one. Not only does it cause sadness but people also experience other negative emotions like guilt, anger, and regret.
The stages of grief
When dealing with grief, most people go through five different stages:
- Denial: The first instinct when finding out about a loss is to deny it happened. This temporary stage is a defense mechanism, as our mind is not ready to accept what happened.
- Anger: Once you begin to acknowledge your loss, you might experience feelings of anger. You might direct them towards life in general, other people, or even the person who passed away.
- Bargaining: This stage represents your desperate attempt to change what happened and it usually involves attempting to negotiate with God.
- Depression: This is when you feel despair and deep sadness. You might also experience trouble with sleeping and loss of appetite.
- Acceptance: The final stage takes place when you learn to accept your loss. You might still feel sadness, but you are ready to move on with your life.
Not everyone goes through all five stages, as people experience things differently. Remember that it’s normal to feel bad and you don’t have to rush the healing process. Take all the time you need in order to completely heal.
Here are some tips on how to cope with the painful loss of a loved one:
Reach Out for Help
When dealing with such a painful experience, it’s important to reach out to others and accept their help. Receiving support from your friends, family, or a professional can significantly improve your well-being.
Here’s what you should do:
- Talk to friends and family members: Spend time with people who care about you. Accept their help and tell them what you need. A lot of people tend to isolate themselves during this period, but usually, that only makes things worse.
- Join a Support Group: Dealing with grief is easier when you talk to people who experience the same feelings as you do. Consider joining a support group and connect with people who are going or have gone through a similar experience.
- See a Therapist: Do not hesitate to seek professional help if you feel the need to. A professional can help you overcome some of your deepest negative emotions.
Find Comfort in Your Faith
Faith can bring you great comfort when you are grieving.
Therefore, if you are a religious person, try to find comfort in your faith. Praying, attending religious services, or reading spiritual texts can have an immense healing power. Also, don’t hesitate to seek support in your religious community. You can either talk to other members, or you can reach out to a clergy member.
Express Your Feelings in a Creative Way
When dealing with such a painful experience, sometimes words cannot accurately express what you feel.
A good way to let go of all your negative feelings is to channel them into creating art. You can do that in many ways, such as journaling, writing poetry, listening to music, or painting. Engaging in a creative process can help you find beauty amidst tragedy and allow you to see things from a new perspective. Plus, you will express your feelings in a safe and healthy way that causes no harm.
Some people perceive art as a form of meditation that helps them regain inner peace.
Take Care of Your Physical Health
One common mistake people do when they grieve is neglecting their physical health. While you might have trouble sleeping or experience loss of appetite, it’s important to do your best to take care of your health.
Your mind and body are connected, so your thoughts and emotions are also influenced by the way your body feels. Therefore, if you don’t eat or sleep enough, the emotional recovery process will take longer.
Celebrate the Lives of Your Loved Ones
Certain moments, like holidays or anniversaries of loved ones that passed away, can be difficult to go through. However, instead of allowing yourself to be overwhelmed by sadness, try to remember and honor the people that passed away.
There are several ways in which you can do this. For example, you can pray for them, attend a religious service, or visit their burial site. Alternatively, you can collect donations for charity in their honor or plant a tree in their memory. There are many healthy ways in which you can honor the memory of a loved one, and doing this is also part of the healing process.
You Are Not Alone
One of the most important things you should remember when grieving is that you don’t have to go through this alone. While you might feel like isolating yourself from others, you actually need their love and support more than ever. Do not hesitate to seek help.
If you are going through a similar situation and you need to talk, remember that you can always reach out to me. I am here to help!
P.S. On the Beautiful You App, we tackle a different theme every week. This week we are trying to help women who deal with grief and you are welcome to join us!