Tips for Handling the Loss of a Loved One
Thinking about death is a common thing. Simply, it's an integral part of our lives and is inevitable. How we accept that fact will affect us and our future life. That's precisely where the potential problem lies - some people have a harder time dealing with the death and loss of loved ones, which can eventually trigger psychological issues.
The recovery speed after a loss depends on who the person we lost was and whether that was expected or not. Recovery also depends on ourselves, our mental strength, and how we cope with stress and crises. In such situations, the support of the environment is of crucial importance.
Given that the combination of these factors differs for each person, the healing process after a loss lasts differently. It's important to note that the recovery process doesn't necessarily mean the end of grieving. It actually means that we've finally realized that life must go on. Sometimes we can figure that out with the help of grief and loss counselors, but often we can actually help ourselves.
Embrace Grieving through the Stages
Grief is not a mental disorder; it's a normal reaction to the loss we face. That doesn't negate its negative impact on our minds and feelings. But it's necessary for healing. When grieving, you unconsciously go through a series of stages, and their length and sequence aren't the same for everyone.
Experts have observed the initial reaction to loss is denial, that is, not accepting that our loved one has passed away. It's a kind of primal reaction to the shock, and it acts as a protective mechanism. This phase may last only a few hours, or it may last for some time.
The latter isn't always desirable because solemnity and awareness are what should be striven for. Again, the sooner we accept that the loss has occurred, the faster the healing will be. And when that happens, anger occurs, that is, the need to find a culprit and justification for our sadness.
The phase of anger is stormy because it can lead to conflict with close people, but it's helpful as a return to reality. Some people can be depressed, not in the sense of a mental disorder, but facing the reality that a loved one is gone forever.
After that, the real grieving begins, with all the physical and psychological symptoms. You can read more about them on this page. Grief ends with acceptance. We're still sad, but we've accepted the necessity of returning to daily life.
Talk about your Pain
The biggest myth about grieving is that the pain will go away if we deny it, don't mention it, and don't think about it. It's not a way to go, but some do that consciously, thinking that'll make them feel better. In fact, the effect is the opposite, as suppressing negative emotions can lead to their piling up and an eventual emotional burst.
Facing the painful experience and being proactive are essential to recovery. So feel free to talk about your emotions, thoughts, ideas, and even memories of the person you lost. Be open to comforting words and well-intentioned advice. Sometimes you don't even have to get feedback; it's enough to have someone you trust or a professional therapist listen to you.
If you have trouble expressing your emotions, that can be a limitation when dealing with grief. Then you shouldn't force it and feel uncomfortable. It's perfectly fine to mention how you feel but also take the conversation in a different direction. Sometimes the only comfort is the presence of dear people.
Check the following source to learn about symptoms indicating you need help due to complicated grief:
Don't Hold Back Your Tears
Feeling sad, scared, or lonely are normal reactions to loss. However, many believe that tears are unnecessary in those moments and that they will appear vulnerable if they cry. They also keep their sadness to themselves trying to protect others. No, tears aren't a sign of weakness, and no one has to look tough to prove their dignity in pain at all costs.
It's okay to break down and cry when you're sad. Expressing the right emotions will help you and the people around you to feel at ease. But it's okay if you don't feel like crying. Some people just can't cry, but that doesn't mean they aren't sad. In any case, your reaction should be natural and relieving, not forced and artificial.
Take Care of Yourself
Apart from the psychological aspect, you must preserve your health during mourning, that is, not neglect it. A very common symptom of grief is loss of appetite, lethargy, and anxiety, but don't let these overwhelm you. Try to eat regularly and get enough nutrients to stay physically and mentally strong.
Physical activity is desirable, but don't force it. Whenever you feel the need, exercise, practice yoga, or take a walk. If you need mental relaxation, read, flip through albums, or express your feelings in a river. It can have a very healing and liberating effect.
Grief and death are an integral part of life; the sooner we accept that, the better it will be for us. The mourning process doesn't take place in the same way for everyone, and there's no "fixed" beginning and end and way of unfolding. Some stages must happen, but we shouldn't rush or force it. If professional help is necessary, don't hesitate to seek it.
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