What are the Best Tips for Dealing with Grief?
In the known history of humanity, and in the work of its religions, philosophers and healers, there has never been a suggestion on how to end grief quickly. Those dealing with grief know that its difficulty seems endless and the feeling that life will not improve can dim the outlook of many. It is known that grief is process-based, rather like a journey people travel. The burden of such sadness lightens over time, though some people remain grieving to an extent for a lifetime, even if they’re able to find happiness again and participate fully in life.
Those dealing with grief need support during difficult times, and good friends may be able to provide it. It’s often noted that friends or family members seem to eventually tire of “hearing about it.” People may want to consider how much they use friends to listen to repetitions of grief, unless a friend is tireless in this respect. Instead, consider using friends as usual: to enjoy their company and pursue fun or interesting things together. Remaining connected to other people may help those dealing with grief to feel less isolated.
Since friends may not always be used therapeutically, people dealing with grief need an outlet where they can discuss, wonder, feel, weep, and repeat as often as necessary how sad and lost they feel. Private therapy provides this outlet for many individuals, and others find help with support groups. Peer groups give people an opportunity to feel less alone and they may evoke the griever’s empathy as that person hears the stories of the loss others have experienced.
Many find religion or spiritual belief comforting when dealing with grief. Others may find that their faith is challenged. If it seems appropriate, talking to a spiritual counselor, pastor, rabbi, imam, and etc., may help. Those who abide in their faith may find such people supportive too. Others find it useful to read about different forms of philosophy and spirituality as guidance on this difficult path.
Avoiding Value Judgments
Grief is exacerbated when people assume they need to be "over it" at a certain time or do it in a specific way. Adding a negative self-critic, who constantly suggests a person is doing it wrong is not helpful. Grievers should try to avoid judging themselves at this time, especially about the process they are undergoing. This is probably the hardest thing ever experienced and there is no accurate way to judge it.
There is strong evidence that activities like walking and biking elevate mood. These won’t completely take away grief but they may help provide some physical and emotional support. It is especially important if people aren’t getting out of the home to start getting out, even if just for a walk around the block.
Time does help and the heaviest grief lightens with it. This reflection doesn’t really help when people are in the middle of dealing with grieving. What may assist is understanding that at some point it will not be so bad as it is today or was yesterday. People dealing with grief are progressing through a process, and there is a point for most people where that process becomes less difficult. Expressing thoughts to supportive people, trying to resume life with friends, avoiding self-judgment, and being good to oneself with things like exercise may all lighten the burden of grief, particularly when they are combined with greater time away from the loss.
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