Seven Steps For Dealing With Loss and Grief | Stephen Coleclough
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Seven Steps For Dealing With Loss and Grief

Seven Steps For Dealing With Loss and Grief

Everyone will experience a significant loss at some point in their lives.

It might be the loss of a loved one, pregnancy, or family home.

Some people also feel a significant loss after other events like children leave home, going through a relationship breakup or lose their job.

It is perfectly natural to express grief after a significant loss.

You may feel a deep sorrow which can affect every part of your life, including your emotions, relationships, mental and physical health, behaviour, and sense of self.

Experiencing grief will cause you to feel a range of emotions including sadness, anger, frustration, isolation, and regret.

It is important to understand that everyone expresses their grief differently.

Some people may decide to shut themselves off from the world for a short period, while others will throw themselves into their work — hoping to distract themselves from their painful feelings.

If you or someone you know is dealing with grief, this article will be of use.

We will share seven steps for dealing with grief and loss.

They will help you process your emotions and lessen the pain you experience during this time.

Acknowledge your feelings

Many people attempt to suppress the emotions that they are feeling during a time of grief.

Unfortunately, failing to deal with emotions in a healthy way may cause physiological and psychological problems later on.

It is perfectly natural to feel a range of emotions while grieving including regret, shock, confusion, loneliness and frustration.

It can be a struggle to acknowledge these feelings because some are so unexpected.

As an example — if a loved one commits suicide, you may feel anger towards them during the grieving process.

It can be surprising to feel such anger towards a person you loved so much.

However, attempting to suppress this emotion can cause problems later on.

Actively moderate your thoughts

It is common for grieving people to experience some very negative thoughts.

You can reframe these thoughts using a technique called cognitive bias modification.

This technique turns negative self-talk and life narrative into positive self-talk.

If you find yourself thinking negative thoughts like “How can I go on without her” change that thought to “I was blessed to know someone so strong, she will give me the strength to recover from this loss”.

You should also write down a list of the things in your life that you cherish.

Look at this list regularly to give yourself some relief.

Find outlets to express your grief

It is normal to cry frequently when grieving or to have deep discussions about your recent loss with your loved ones.

They are fantastic mechanisms for dealing with grief.

However, there are also many artistic and physical outlets for grief which most people aren’t aware of.

Artistic endeavours like painting, journaling, knitting, writing poems, playing music, and drawing are all excellent tools for expressing the grief you feel.

You can also use physical exercise to reduce the severity of your grief — going for a run, using a punching bag to deal with anger, hiking in the wilderness and so on.

Fill the void in your life with positive activities

When you experience a signifiant loss, you may feel like there is a void in your life.

The greater the loss you have had, the larger this void will be.

After a reasonable time period,  make an effort to fill this void with activities that you enjoy.

The most effective activities are ones where you help others.

Consider volunteering at a soup kitchen or hospital.

Donate your time or money to a charity of some kind.

You will obtain a positive emotional reward by helping others and be surrounded by positive people who are also donating their time.

Attach meaning to your loss and grow from it

Every time you suffer a loss, there is a positive life lesson to learn from it.

If you lose a loved one, the positive life lesson might be to spend more time with the people you love.

If your house burns down but your family is safe, that lesson might be family is more important than things.

By looking for positive meaning in your loss, you will grow as a person and become stronger.

Take care of your physical health

When you are suffering from emotional turmoil it can be difficult to look after your health.

Most people who are grieving will find themselves missing meals, not getting enough sleep, and not exercising.

However, if you continue to look after yourself you will find that you will be better able to cope with your grief.

Even the simple act of continuing your daily walks will help you clear your head and process your emotions.

You should also make a point to avoid alcohol and drugs while grieving if possible.

These substances are more likely to become addictive when your mind is experiencing turmoil.

They are also more likely to worsen your mental health and make you vulnerable to illnesses like depression.

Seek help

Feelings of grief can extend for many months.

However, if you find that these feelings are preventing you from enjoying your life you may require some help.

You can obtain help from a grief counsellor, family members, friends, general practitioner, or support group.

They will help you deal with your emotions and find a path forward.

Stephen Coleclough
Stephen Coleclough

Stephen Coleclough is a personal trainer and online fitness/nutrition coach from the UK. He loves heavy squats, smashing PRs and bacon sandwiches. You can follow him on Twitter at ColecloughPT.

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