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5 top ways to deal with grief

We all need ways to deal with grief.

Why? Because it is a fact of life that, sooner or later, we are going to “lose” someone who has been an important and an inseparable part of our life.

Grief. One of our most devastating emotions (photo credit Gogoloopie @ Flickr)

For me, grief has to be one of the most debilitating emotions we have to suffer.

Anyone who has suffered the real loss of losing someone they love will understand the need for having to deal with their grief and loss. And grief not dealt with can bring even more distress into our lives.

Losing Someone You Love Causes The Deepest Pain.

Losing someone you love also creates a whole range of differing emotions such as guilt, sadness, regret, despair and even anger.  But experiencing these feelings is a normal reaction that we need to work through in order to get to the other side, and to come to terms with what has happened.

Sometimes it can seem as if there is no end in sight. But although we each deal with these emotions in our own individual ways, the problems and feelings don’t have to be insurmountable. We can get through them.

But What Is Grief?

According to my dictionary, grief is “A keen mental suffering or distress over an affliction or loss; a sharp sorrow; a painful regret”. But I have to say, the pain of grief brings a much deeper distress than mere words of a definition could ever portray.

The grief we suffer may be caused by losing:-

  • A beloved pet
  • A job.
  • A close  relationship (platonic or romantic).
  • Our sense of safety after a trauma, abuse or accident.
  • Our money and the financial security that goes with it.
  • Our health.
  • An unborn baby through a miscarriage, illness, abortion or the suffering of violence, drug  or alcohol abuse.
  • Our partner, or
  • Our very own child or baby

But even though each one of these examples can, and will, bring on the emotions mentioned above, I firmly believe that the loss of one’s child is the most cruel circumstance that we ever have to deal with.

Three Facts About The Grief of Loss

Whether we deal with our grief openly or quietly these three facts will always hold true:-

  1. Our grief won’t go away if it is just ignored.
  2. Putting on a “strong face” and not showing emotions will not help to deal with the turmoil in your mind, and
  3. Locking the tears and feelings inside of you will not make the pain easier to forget.

There is no set amount of time it takes to get over the loss of someone or something close to you.  Each one of us heals at our own individual rate.

Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross did a lot of research concerning “Death and Dying”. She developed what is now referred to as “The Five Stages of Dying and of Grief”. They can be summarised as:-

  1. Denial: “Surely this can’t be happening to me.”
  2. Anger: “I am not accepting that this is happening. Who is to blame?”
  3. Bargaining: “I promise to ——— if this doesn’t happen and he/she lives/comes back to me.”
  4. Depression: “I just can’t deal with this. I just can’t motivate myself to do anything.”
  5. Acceptance: “It’s all going to be okay.”; “I can’t fight it, and so I may as well prepare for it.”

These five stages can be experienced in any order. But it should be remembered that Kübler-Ross didn’t evolve these five stages as hard and fast requirements.

We each grieve in our own way and it is not necessary that we work through the five steps.

In fact, shortly before her own death she is reported to have said. “They (the five stages) were never meant to help tuck messy emotions into neat packages. They are responses to loss that many people have, but there is not a typical response to loss, as there is no typical loss. Our grieving is as individual as our lives.”

Typical Symptoms of Grief and Loss

Even though we all experience grief in our own unique way, we do typically go through some or all of the following emotions.

Guilt – regretting or feeling guilty because of things you did or didn’t say or do, even feeling guilty because you didn’t do more to prevent it happening – even of there was nothing more that you could have done anyway.
A deep sadness - often feeling “dead” inside because of the terrible loss and loneliness you have suffered.
Shock and disbelief that this could “happen to me”.
Fear of the future with such a loss to bear.
Anger against whatever circumstance took your loved one away from you.
A physical response to the inner turmoil you are suffering from – which can actually result in physical ailments and emotional dysfunction. You could lose or gain weight; feel continually sick; come down with infections because your immune system is suffering; be continually exhausted and even start to suffer from insomnia and aches and pains when you very rarely did before.

The First Two Ways to Deal with Your Grief

When we bottle things up inside we start along the road to an inner numbness that cannot be resolved other than by letting your feelings flow again and letting them be released from you.  The first two ways to deal with grief are:-

  1. Talk Your Feelings Out. Talk. Communicate. Say what you think. Say what you feel. Find someone to whom you can speak your mind freely and let those emotions, thoughts and concerns out. When you share your feelings with someone else you free you inner energy and give it the space it needs to be able to start the process of inner healing. Talking it out is so important that if, for whatever reason, you do not have someone you feel you can share your feelings with, then find a professional to help you with this essential release.
  2. Find a Safe Place. We all need a place to be with ourselves and to feel what is really going on within ourselves. When you are grieving, even small things can feel overwhelming. Find somewhere you feel comfortable and safe and spend some time there each day. It will become your own “power-point” and may be somewhere in nature, in your garden, in church or even in your own home.

  3. Start to care for yourself. Taking these two steps will be the start of your inner healing and dealing with grief. And then, to complete your growth, take the opportunity to actually “cure” your grief…

    The Three Curative Ways To Deal With Grief

    Dealing with grief, often referred to as “De-griefing” can actually release the hidden heartache that is locked into the body and mind. It is very difficult to achieve this state without professional help.

    In my opinion a “combination approach” is necessary for best results. For instance, it is important to recognise and deal with the body’s physical requirements in order to gain full recovery. Not doing this can often just produce temporary improvements to the way someone is feeling. A combined approach which uses the following disciples will produce an effective and a complete healing. The final three ways of resolving grief use the benefits of:-

  4. Massage.
  5. Meridian Psychotherapy,and
  6. Reiki Healing and Energy balancing.

Here are the final three ways in more detail:-

3. Massage
There are innumerable instances of grief-stricken people of all ages who have experienced the powerful benefits of massage. For instance, read about the massage therapists who were “accomplishing more in 15 minutes than psychologists could in an hour or two” (Life, Aug. 8, 1997) after the Oklahoma City Bombings. One of the reasons for this is the way that massage can activate the touch receptors in the skin. This, in turn, releases oxytocin, a hormone which produces excellent effects on a person’s well-being and relaxation. During research it has been found that adults who had been grieving after the death of a loved one felt that the massages actually helped them to balance the need for grieving with the need to adapt to life after their loss. This link explains about the touch receptors researched by Doctor Cronfalk.

4. Meridian Psychotherapy
Just as an acupuncturist will clear energy blockages with needles, so the obstructions you have built within yourself can be cleared to allow healing energies to flow again.The Meridian Psychotherapy system I favour uses finger pressure instead of needles and combines “talking skills” with energy healing and Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). The result is a happier, peaceful mind.

5. Reiki Healing and Energy balancing
Reiki transmits a ‘Life Energy’ to heal, calm and strengthen your body and your mind. Most people will find that the warm healing energy balances and strengthens them from within. The result – a happier  more balanced body and mind.

Suffering from grief due to the loss of a loved one is something that is an integral part of the “saying good-bye” process.

And it is a process we need to go through in order to get to a better place within ourselves.

When we get to that better place, where we can say we have really dealt with our feelings, then we will truly be all the stronger and more complete for having reached it.

We all need ways to deal with grief – it is an unfortunate but a necessary part of life. If you have any unresolved grief, contact Massage and Mind for more information.

I specialise in
Relieving lower back pain,
Deep relaxation and de-stressing, and
Overcoming emotional & physical problems to get your life on track.
contact Massage and Mind


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