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7 Reasons Why Experiencing Grief Makes You A Better Person

7 Reasons Why Experiencing Grief Makes You A Better Person

Grief can be all-consuming. I’ve lost both parents and can tell you it leaves you lost and broken. Grief comes in many forms not just in death, but it can also present through the significant loss of a relationship, marriage or job. When you’re suffering through grief you feel like you are living in an alternative universe. It’s horrible.

It can leave you barely functioning and curled up on the couch in shock. You move forward because you have to, it’s the circle of life. People try to be kind and tell you that as time passes things will get easier, and it does to some extent, but you will never be the same person that you were before. Your reality and world has been altered and you have to learn to live in this new world, minus the loved one, significant relationship, or career.

When I looked back on my life and how I dealt with grief before, I realized that I had changed significantly in ways I would have never expected or have experienced, had I not gone through such a loss. I was surprised at the life lessons that I’d learnt in such a short period of time. Through grief I’d learnt to look at life differently.  Here’s why experiencing grief changes your life and makes you a better person:

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1. Your relationships become stronger

When grief strikes, you really do find out who your real friends/family are. I’d always hear people say this to me, but never thought much else about it. When tough times come, grief sorts out who is there for you and who isn’t. This can have a further grieving effect on you through the loss of friends you thought would be there to help support you. You now see your relationships in their true light. If you didn’t realize it before, you realize now what amazing people you have around you, and you aspire to be the kind of friend that they have been to you: a brilliant one. Every relationship you have becomes more important and valuable. It changes how you and makes you want to become a more invested, attentive, giving person in relationships.

2. You get your finances in order

This is a weird one. After going through probate after a death, or even through a divorce situation where finances are divided, you learn how important it is to manage money. You find yourself paying off debt quicker, wanting to prevent negative consequences if something ever happened to you.

You manage your budget, realize that your savings account needs to pumped up in case of emergencies, and you are to become more financially savvy than ever. Grief teaches you that monetary issues don’t stop upon death, divorce, relationship breakdown, or career loss, and it’s important to put yourself in a good financial position in case anything unexpected was to happen.

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3. You become healthier

Before I went through my experience of grief, I thought I was 10 foot tall and bulletproof. Life was awesome. Yes I had extra pounds, yes, I needed a dental check up ,and yes I definitely should have been exercising more, but hey, I’ll get around to it, right?

Watching a loved one pass from the effects of their deteriorating health, makes you realize the importance of looking after your own health. Keeping healthy has never become more important in order to keep disease and sickness at bay. Grief kicked my butt hard, and I found myself spending more time in the vegetable aisle at the supermarket, and getting regular check ups at the doctor to keep everything in check. The need to focus on becoming healthier was immediate; it changes how you think, feel, and treat your body.

4. You become more spiritual

When you are faced with grief, you tend to look inside yourself more to seek answers. When we can’t find those answers we look to our higher power for comfort and solace. You re-evaluate your values and responsibilities. You meditate, you pray, you seek calmness and soothing. You become much more in touch with your spiritual side and incorporate that more into your daily life.

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5. The little things don’t bother you anymore

This was actually a godsend for me. I am a worrier. Pre-grief I used to get hung up on the little things, worrying constantly about the small details. When you lose a significant person in your life, you realize that the only things that really matter are the relationships you hold with other people. The decision about whether to buy a black car or a white one, or travel from Sydney to London via either Bangkok or Hong Kong, doesn’t seem like a big deal anymore. You don’t sweat the small stuff.

6. You make an effort to make more memories

Sitting, watching someone pass or walk out the door and leave you, leaves you with only one thing to hang onto: memories. Memories are an important part of grief. They allow us to keep the loved one alive in our mind and hearts. In time you are able to sit back and remember all of the great times, funny moments, and the life you shared together. You realize the importance, therefore of creating more memories, of working less and holidaying more, of life experiences and spending more time with those you love. Making memories becomes a very high priority and one that will change your life significantly.

7. You love more completely

The significance of the loss you feel through grief would make it understandable if you never wanted to love again. Ever. Why love when you will lose eventually? It shows you pretty fast that your love for people is worth every second, so you tend to love more completely, more freely and deeply. Grief is born out of love, and to love someone so much that you are consumed with sadness is only a testament to the love you felt for them. You find yourself showing more love, and falling in love a bit more easily, because you know now just how worthy you feel to have been blessed with it.

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I know from experience how difficult it is to wade through the grief process. The longing for the person or situation to return, the sadness, the unanswered questions, the ‘some days are better than others’ feeling, and the advice people who try to comfort you without experiencing the situation themselves. I’m not going to tell you that it gets better with time, but what i will tell you is that grief changes you. You look at life in a new light,  you value it so much more, and become a better person because of it.

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on July 3, 2020

30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

In today’s world, true peace must come from within us and our own actions. Here are 30 small things you can do on a regular basis to increase your overall sense of harmony, peace, and well-being:

1. Don’t go to every fight you’re invited to

Particularly when you’re around those who thrive on chaos, be willing to decline the invitation to join in on the drama.

2. Focus on your breath

Throughout the day, stop to take a few deep breaths. Keep stress at bay with techniques such as “square breathing.” Breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, then out for four counts, and hold again for four counts. Repeat this cycle four times.

3. Get organized and purge old items

A cluttered space often creates a cluttered spirit. Take the time to get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year and invest in organizational systems that help you sustain a level of neatness.

4. Stop yourself from being judgmental

Whenever you are tempted to have an opinion about someone else’s life, check your intentions. Judging others creates and promotes negative energy.

5. Say ‘thank you’ early and often

Start and end each day with an attitude of gratitude. Look for opportunities in your daily routine and interactions to express appreciation.

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6. Smile more

Even if you have to “fake it until you make it,” there are many scientific benefits of smiling and laughing. Also, pay attention to your facial expression when you are doing neutral activities such as driving and walking. Turn that frown upside down!

7. Don’t worry about the future

As difficult as this sounds, there is a direct connection between staying in the present and living a more peaceful life. You cannot control the future. As the old proverb goes, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.” Practice gently bringing your thoughts back to the present.

8. Eat real food

The closer the food is to the state from which it came from the earth, the better you will feel in eating it. Choose foods that grew from a plant over food that was made in a plant.

9. Choose being happy over being right

Too often, we sacrifice inner peace in order to make a point. It’s rarely worth it.

10. Keep technology out of the bedroom

Many studies, such as one conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, have connected blue light of electronic devices before bed to adverse sleep and overall health. To make matters worse, many people report that they cannot resist checking email and social media when their cell phone is in reach of their bed, regardless of the time.

11. Make use of filtering features on social media

You may not want to “unfriend” someone completely, however you can choose whether you want to follow their posts and/or the sources of information that they share.

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12. Get comfortable with silence

When you picture someone who is the ultimate state of peace, typically they aren’t talking.

13. Listen to understand, not to respond

So often in conversations, we use our ears to give us cues about when it is our turn to say what we want to say. Practice active listening, ask questions, process, then speak.

14. Put your troubles in a bubble

Whenever you start to feel anxious, visualize the situation being wrapped in a bubble and then picture that sphere floating away.

15. Speak more slowly

Often a lack of peace manifests itself in fast or clipped speech. Take a breath, slow down, and let your thoughtful consideration drive your words.

16. Don’t procrastinate

Nothing adds stress to our lives like waiting until the last minute.

17. Buy a coloring book

Mandala coloring books for adults are becoming more popular because of their connection to creating inner peace.

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18. Prioritize yourself

You are the only person who you are guaranteed to live with 24 hours a day for the rest of your life.

19. Forgive others

Holding a grudge is hurting you exponentially more than anyone else. Let it go.

20. Check your expectations

Presumption often leads to drama. Remember the old saying, “Expectations are premeditated resentments.”

21. Engage in active play

Let your inner child come out and have some fun. Jump, dance, play, and pretend!

22. Stop criticizing yourself

The world is a hard enough place with more than enough critics. Your life is not served well by being one of them.

23. Focus your energy and attention on what you want

Thoughts, words, and actions all create energy. Energy attracts like energy. Put out what you want to get back.

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24. Assign yourself “complaint free” days.

Make a conscious decision not to complain about anything for a whole day. It might be harder than you think and the awareness will stick with you.

25. Surround yourself with people you truly enjoy being in the company of

Personalities tend to be contagious, and not everyone’s is worth catching. Be judicious in your choices.

26. Manage your money

Financial concerns rank top on the list of what causes people stress. Take the time each month to do a budget, calculate what you actually spend and sanity check that against the money you have coming in.

27. Stop trying to control everything

Not only is your inner control freak sabotaging your sense of peace, it is also likely getting in the way of external relationships as well.

28. Practice affirmations

Repeat positive phrases that depict the life and qualities you want to attract. It may not come naturally to you, but it works.

29. Get up before sunrise

Personally witnessing the dawn brings a unique sense of awe and appreciation for life.

30. Be yourself

Nothing creates more inner discord than trying to be something other than who we really are. Authenticity breeds happiness.

Featured photo credit: man watching sunrise via stokpic.com

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