The top 10 things you can do to cope with the death of a loved one
Everyone has to deal with the death of a loved one at different times in life. This is one of the conditions that often occurs without training or education.
Losing a loved one is especially difficult to deal with because we live in a culture that denies death. Here are 10 things you can do as part of your grief journey that have worked for others over the years and may work for you.
1. Find someone you trust to talk to about how the death affects you. Don’t keep your feelings to yourself and add to the stress you’re already under.
2. Be willing to listen and be open to others who have experienced similar losses and how they have dealt with them. Choose those ideas that you think are suitable for your use and let the rest go. Much can be learned from others who have been there and done that.
3. Practice taking your attention away from your sadness and focusing on a diversion such as a pleasant memory of a loved one, gratitude for all that you still have, or any topic that interests you. It will help to change your attention if you go to another room or perform some other physical task. Shifting attention is a critical skill to develop throughout life.
4. Allow yourself to express your emotions. Crying is a normal human response to loss. It has a purpose: to help you cope with loss through emotional and physical release. If you can’t cry, write, draw, or paint what you’re feeling.
5. Start your new practices. With the absence of a loved one, you will have new tasks to perform. It’s a new life. Maybe grocery shopping, taking care of your home, car or apartment, maybe even eating at different times, will be different. Establishing these new routines early is important in your grief work.
6. Trust in mystery and the unseen. Many so-called coincidences and synchronicities can occur, and in some cases special auxiliary dreams and visions. Look for them. Ask for them. They will come. They are normal. I tell every client I work with that there is nothing wrong with praying for a sign that your loved one is okay.
7. Take a daily break from stress. For at least 20 minutes every day, find a quiet place, lean back and straighten your legs to rest. Listen to music or the sounds of nature.
8. Discover and grieve the losses associated with you. For every major loss, there are usually several secondary losses. They can be financial or related to meaning, transportation, friendship, dreams for the future, sex, social interaction and others, all of which are now changed. Some secondary losses won’t show up for years (graduation, anniversary, etc.). Identify these losses, talk about them, and grieve them.
9. Start looking for ways to help others even when you are grieving. This ancient wisdom is well founded because by seeking to give of your time and treasure to others, you are taking the focus away from yourself. Your love will be healed and returned.
10. Fill in your spiritual beliefs. Many mourners find solace in prayer and solitude in nature to talk with their creator. Nature is great therapy and thinking about your faith and values in a beautiful setting can bring comfort, new awareness and comfort. It has long been known that the more you focus on a certain thing, the more you create of it. Create new insights from your spiritual beliefs and how you will allow them to take a more prominent place in your recovery process.
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