Sunday, March 13, 2011

Helping yourself thru the grief journey

Thank you to Sandy Olan, Hingham, MA for sending me the following article which she has found helpful since the death of her infant son, Jeremy.  This was written by Nyomi Graef

ACCEPT THAT GRIEVING IS NORMAL - It’s normal to cry, get angry and have emotional outbursts more so than usual while we’re grieving. Emotions usually settle down in time, although they might be triggered in future if particular things remind us of the loss.

ALLOW OURSELVES TIME TO GRIEVE - How long the grieving process lasts depends on a number of things. Take the loss of a loved one. How close we were to them, the types of memories we shared and how the person died are some factors that can affect how long we mourn.

SURROUND OURSELVES WITH GOOD FAMILY AND FRIENDS - Spending a lot of time alone while you’re grieving can make the feelings of loss worse. Keep in regular contact with people you love and trust.

DO OUR BEST TO LIVE LIFE TO THE FULL DESPITE THE LOSS - I know a lady who lost her father when she was quite young. She told me that although she misses her father and feels the loss, he would want her to be happy. After his death she made a conscious decision to do her best to live a happy and fulfilling life despite the tragedy. The late Australian conservationist Steve Irwin said a similar thing when discussing the passing of his mother during an interview before his death.

KEEP BUSY - As bad as the pain may be, do your best to do something productive and worthwhile, and have a normal routine, while you grieve. Be kind and patient with yourself if you aren’t as productive or accurate as you usually are – it’s normal.

MAKE TIME FOR THINGS WE ENJOY - When we lose something or someone we love we might not put enough time aside to enjoy ourselves. To help us heal emotionally, it’s important to still do things that boost our spirits. Walk, play sport or computer games. Listen to uplifting songs that help heal the pain. Visit friends and family. Watch comedies – whatever it is that you like.

HAVE FAITH - People who have faith can turn to it to help them through a loss. Believing that God or “The Universe”, for example, has a “grand plan” for each of us, and loves us, can help us mourn.

HAVE CONSTRUCTIVE BELIEFS - If you believe life will never be as good after the loss, this is likely to come true for you. If you believe that you can, in time, find happiness after the loss, you are more likely to seek-out joy in life and be happy again. Thoughts, beliefs and philosophies are creative, so choose these wisely to be as happy, healthy and successful as you can.

GET HELP IF NEEDED - Friends, family, counselors, support groups, forums, books on grieving and articles about grief on the internet can be good sources of help, support and advice during the grieving process. You are never alone. If you’re losing or gaining too much weight, having digestive problems, severe mood swings or any other emotional or physical problems caused by grieving, seek help before your health is at risk.

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