Death is a certainty which cannot be prevented. However, there are ways to help cope with the pain, come to terms with your grief, and eventually, find a way to pick yourself up and move on with your life. Follow these 4 steps to cope with grief better:
STEP 1: FEEL GRIEF
This is the most important, and often, the toughest part of the grief process. Losing a loved one can trigger a range of emotions, both good and bad. A feeling of being overwhelmed by everything happening around you is more common than you think. It’s natural to have this experience. Feel and accept grief. Acknowledging that you are, in fact, in grief, is the most powerful way to move on, otherwise a crippling grief reaction will come back with a vengeance later on.
STEP 2: ALLOW THE GRIEVING PROCESS TO TAKE ITS NATURAL COURSE
Stages Of Grief
In 1969, Elizabeth Kübler-Ross introduced the concept of the “five stages of grief.” These stages of grief were based on her studies of the feelings patients with terminal illness felt, but these stages universal to all types of negative life changes and losses, such as the death of a loved one or a break-up. They are:
Denial: “This can’t be happening to me.”
Anger: “Why is this happening? Who is to blame?”
Bargaining: “Please make this unhappen, and in return I will ____.”
Depression: “I’m too sad to do anything.”
Acceptance: “I’m at peace with what happened.”
The important thing to remember, is that not everyone who grieves goes through all of these stages—and that’s okay. Go through each stage is not a requirement in order to heal. You also probably won't go through each stage in sequential order, so transitioning smoothly from one stage to the next is highly unlikely.
STEP 3: GET THE SUPPORT YOU NEED
Nobody deserves to grieve the loss of life alone. Surround yourself with people who can support you unconditionally during this time. Reach out to your “safe” people. These safe people may be close friends, family, a religious guide, and perhaps, a therapist or a psychiatrist. Remember that every time you interact with friends and family, you need not to talk about your loss. Simply being around others who care about you can also bring a world of comfort.
There is no shame in taking professional help, if your grief goes out of hand and becomes intolerable. Psychotherapists who are trained in a form of therapy called Grief Therapy, can help you get new perspectives on your reaction to loss to cope with it better. Your therapist will also help you work through intense emotions and overcome obstacles to your grieving. If your grief descends into clinical depression, anxiety or some other psychiatric illness, prescription medicines may be required after consulting with your psychiatrist to help you cope.
In this age of the internet, using social media for grief support is not uncommon. Memorial pages and posts on social media websites such as Facebook, have become popular ways to inform a wide audience of a loved one’s passing and to reach out for support. Social media is a powerful tool, allowing you to impart practical information, such as funeral plans, without having to call all your contacts personally. The tributes and condolences loved ones post on the memorial page stay forever. During pangs of grief, reading these posts can bring solace to the griever.
STEP 4: LEARN TO EMBRACE LIFE
Although the pain of your loss is real and needs to be felt and respected, after a certain time, you must begin to live your life again. Coming to a place of accepting the death as a reality, you will be able to work through your grief. Embracing your life without your loved one by your side is the next logical step. Eat healthy, sleep enough, get back to your old routine. But remember and celebrate the lives of your loved ones. Anniversaries of a lost loved one can be an opportunity to remember and honour them. You may want to donate to a favourite charity of the lost loved one, pass on their name to a baby in the family, or plant a tree in their memory.
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