Dealing with grief can turn your world upside down as you work to overcome a significant loss. You might not feel like getting out of bed or doing things you once enjoyed. Remembering that the grief will ease eventually can help you find hope, even if it takes time or looks different than the grieving process of others.
Grief impacts you in many ways and can affect your emotional, behavioral, physical, social, cognitive, and spiritual processes. The emotions that accompany grief can be all-consuming, but there are things you can do when you feel overwhelmed. This experience is normal in life, and it might require some adjustment to learn to live without someone or something you love.
Loss doesn’t only happen through death, as the loss of a friendship, job, or romantic relationship can be lost, too. Plus, you might grieve over the diagnosis of an illness in you or someone you love. Dealing with grief and loss might seem impossible sometimes, but you can get through the intense feelings.
As you grieve, you will experience things like feeling disassociated, numb, or checked out. These feelings will gradually subside as you begin to understand and make changes to adjust. As you work towards healing, there are things to remember when you’re dealing with grief.
Seven Things to Remember When You’re Dealing with Grief
At some point in life, we all need to learn how to deal with loss. But what is the best way to deal with grief? Unfortunately, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. But you can try these strategies for coping with grief.
Even when it feels as if the feelings will never ease and you can’t handle it, remember that you can. The negative emotions are only temporary, and while they may never entirely disappear, they will lessen over time. Experts explain that the only way to work through it is by continually moving through grief.
If you try to avoid the feelings, you only extend the timeframe. Plus, when they do come up, they will be stronger and more upsetting. Allow yourself to feel the grief because this is your way through, and the feeling will ease eventually.
Remember that your feelings will change, no matter how intense it seems right now. You might not ever fully get over what happened, but your emotions will morph and managing grief will become less challenging. If it helps, think back to other hard times you’ve experienced in the path as a reminder that you will be okay.
No matter what life changes humans experience, most can return to a stable happiness level. It’s all about riding out the waves of grief and allowing your feelings to change over time.
2. Look on The Bright Side of Things
Since you can’t control devastating events, try to find a way to make the most of them. If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, find a way to celebrate their life and keep their memory alive. On anniversaries and holidays, spend time remembering your happy moments with your loved one.
You can also use your grief as a way to reflect on what matters most to you. Since it is a natural response to losing something or someone you love, use those intense feelings for something beneficial. Filling your life with meaningful things helps with your healing process.
Finding positive ways to express your feelings through the process will give you a reason to get out of bed each day. Even on the hardest days, you will find a reason to get out the door.
Looking on the bright side and finding positive outlets for your grief allows you to incorporate the loss into your life. This way, you won’t feel like you are forgetting about the love you had for the person, allowing you to use it as a way to grow.
3. Be Gentle to Yourself
Grief causes intensive stress and exhaustion, so taking care of yourself is more important than ever. Be gentle to yourself as you care for your body with nourishing foods and plenty of water. Make time for naps and avoid alcohol and sugar, too.
Avoid putting pressure on yourself during the grieving process, too. Grief comes in different forms for everyone, so your grief process might be different. Don’t make yourself uncomfortable as a way to conform to the expectations of others, but don’t let discomfort hold you back, either.
Your body works harder when you’re grieving, so don’t avoid resting more than usual. Practice self-compassion as you find your way through this personal journey. You can’t control the process, so be gentle with yourself as you go with the flow of emotions and life changes.
When anniversaries or special events are coming, plan for these moments. You will likely experience more sadness during these times, so anticipate how you will feel. Consider making plans with loved ones or doing something that will give you a chance to reflect.
During unexpected moments of intense grief, give yourself grief for your reactions. You might smell something that reminds you of a lost loved one or see something that triggers a memory. In these situations, go with the flow and be patient with yourself.
4. Learn to Accept the Grief and Loss
As you go through the grieving process, you must accept whatever it is that you lost. You can’t change what happened, so accepting it is the key to healing. Having a ceremony to acknowledge the loss and honor the memories you have can help you.
While a funeral can help you accept the death of a loved one, there are other ways to accept grief and loss in your life. Some grieving rituals that help with acceptance include the following:
- plant a garden or tree in their memory
- go for quiet walks and reflect on your grief
- write in a journal
- share your feelings with friends and family
- keep a photo or other item that reminds you of what you have lost
While many people think that crying or showing emotions makes you weak, it isn’t true. Letting your feelings out will help you let the negativity out. Otherwise, the emotions and negativity build up and make you feel worse.
When you feel like crying, let it out. If you aren’t around anyone you trust or feel comfortable with, cry in the bathroom if you have to. As you let the tears flow, think of your favorite memories to help give meaning to your grief.
Don’t try to push away thoughts of what you lost, either. You can experience feelings of love and appreciation for the time that you had by letting your emotions out and allowing yourself to think about your loss.
Even when it seems like you will never feel better, keep letting your emotions out. Before you know it, you will experience less negativity, and you’ll cry less. You have to allow yourself the time and energy to let it all out now, though.
Try to understand where your emotions are coming from, too. With understanding, you can address specific areas of your life that influence your grieving. Remember that some days will be easier than others and that it is normal to feel fluctuating emotions.
6. Find Support
Don’t go through this life change alone. Reach out to someone you trust and feel comfortable with, such as friends, loved ones, or a professional therapist. You can even look for a support group to find other people going through the same thing.
If you feel like no one is reaching out to you, don’t assume they don’t want to help you. Sometimes, people keep their distance so that they don’t overwhelm you. They will be more than happy to step in and offer support if you let them know that you need it.
Never feel weak for needing support. You aren’t alone in the grieving process, and many people have already been through it. Finding support is a beneficial tool to help you move forward positively while still keeping memories alive.
7. Allow Yourself to Laugh
When you’re dealing with grief, you might not feel like it is appropriate to laugh. Some people think that it is a sign they are over the loss, even though that will never truly happen. The truth is that laughter is okay, and it is beneficial to the healing process.
When you laugh, please don’t feel bad about it, but let the positive feelings in. Try to find funny things to laugh about throughout your day. If you can smile even a little, you will feel better.
Some things that might make you laugh include these activities when as you learn how to process grief:
- watch a comedy
- read a funny book
- watch funny videos
- spend time with friends
Loss is an unfortunate but unavoidable part of life. It can be hard to recognize that you will find happiness again when you’re dealing with grief. If you remember these things, though, you can begin dealing with your grief.
Learning how to cope with grief is a unique process for everyone. Don’t feel like you aren’t doing something right. Express your emotions and handle things as they come while giving yourself some grace along the way.