Grief and Loss
Emptiness and a sense of intangible permanency settle in. The days look darker, and nights seem more morbid. Grief is not one of the easiest emotions to deal with. The loss of a loved one or a pet, a divorce or break up, failing at work or school – these losses can really take a toll on an individual. Unfortunately, this is part of the cycle of life.
The Five Stages of Grief (The Kubler-Ross Model):
Ever felt a loss you couldn’t reverse? The human mind is a powerhouse, equipped to handle the
technicalities of loss. Here are five stages of grief we should let ourselves feel:
1. Denial – When fear, confusion and anger cloud our mind.
2. Anger – Questioning how we could fall victim to this loss.
3. Bargaining – Trying to make sense of what has happened and why.
4. Depression – Helplessness and anxiety hit, and this is when reality begins to settle in.
5. Acceptance – Understanding the loss and that the only way forward is to move on.
Hacking Stage 5:
Acceptance of our loss is not where the journey to well-being ends. What we choose to do with our acceptance is what matters. An unhappy marriage was always bound to end, an ailing grandparent was not strong enough to survive – these life experiences cannot be reversed. Looking at facts and facing the direction of things is an important step. To avoid acting out and developing depressive symptoms, individuals must be mindful and be encouraged by loved ones to move forward and invest in their betterment.
This doesn’t necessarily mean seeing a professional – although if your symptoms are persistent, you should visit a therapist. Talking to friends or family, and opening up about your experience of grief is a way for you to feel better. Vocalizing your pain will make it concrete, and more tangible, and hence, easy to deal with. Besides, support from friends and group hugs make us all feel warm and cared for, don’t they?
If you have a job or familial responsibilities now is the time to get back to them. Busy yourself in activities that are routine and beyond yourself. In this way, you will be expending your mental energy on things that will give you return. You could also add some new activities to your schedule. Like an aerobics class or walking your dog in a new park or a leisurely stroll before dinner. Adding physical activity will help you move out of the environment that could trigger morose thoughts.
You could start writing in a journal and recount daily three things you are grateful for. You could pick up an adult coloring book of mandalas and fill them in with your favorite color medium. Expressing yourself this can feel freeing. You could always set the mood with some nice jazz music, or sit in a sunny corner or by a dim lamp or candle light. Although difficult to overcome, grief is temporary. Reminding ourselves of the things we are grateful for and involving ourselves in constructive activities is a way to move forward.