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The Pain Is Real but You Will Heal: How to Cope with Grief and Loss

The Pain Is Real but You Will Heal: How to Cope with Grief and Loss

The death of a loved one is, unfortunately, something most of us have experienced or will experience at some point in our lives, but grief and loss are not felt only when someone passes away.

A close friend or family member moving away, a divorce or breakup, losing a job, as well as a number of other life experiences can cause feelings of grief or loss. Coping with it is one of the most stressful and difficult things we have to deal with in life, but it is an experience everyone can relate to. It can be reassuring to know that you aren’t the only one going through it.

Everyone goes through the heartbreaking stages of grief.

The five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance are the normal, common emotions we go through. They were identified by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in 1969.

However, because everyone is different, there is no “standard” way to react to grief and loss.[1]

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Some people will wear their emotions on their sleeves and be outwardly emotional. Others will experience their grief more internally, and may not cry. You should try not to judge how a person experiences grief, as each person will experience it differently.

    Stage 1: Denial

    The feeling of shock when you first find out about a loss can lead to thinking, “This isn’t real”. This is a temporary way to deal with the rush of overwhelming emotion. It’s a defense mechanism.[2]

    Stage 2: Anger

    Feelings of frustration and helplessness. Thoughts like “It’s not fair” can be common. Even being angry at your loved one who died for “leaving you behind” is natural.

    Stage 3: Bargaining

    Constantly thinking about what you could have done to prevent the loss. Thoughts of “What if…” and “If only…” replay in the mind. You might also try to bargain with a higher power in hopes of reversing the loss.

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    Stage 4: Depression

    The deep sadness you feel as you realize the loss is irreversible. You think about how your life will be affected by the loss. Crying, loss of appetite, feelings of loneliness, and unusual sleeping patterns are all signs of depression.

    Stage 5: Acceptance

    You accept the loss and although you’re still sad, you slowly start to move on with your life.

    The stages of grief don’t have to be in this order, and you might not experience all stages. There is also no set time period for grieving and some people take longer to heal than others.

    And everyone will heal eventually.

    When you’re experiencing those heartbreaking feelings, it’s hard to believe that you’ll eventually heal. But you really will heal. Here are some ways to help the healing process:

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    Confront the painful emotions.

    Try not to bottle up your emotions. Allow yourself to express how you feel. It’s a healthy part of the grieving process.[3]

    Talk about it.

    Talking to someone about the way you are feeling can be very helpful in starting the healing process. Often, people want to isolate themselves while grieving, but being around friends and family can help. Talking can also help you to confront your emotions if you have been unable to.

    Keep up with your routine.

    Loss can make you feel like your world has been turned upside down. Keeping up with your routine can help bring back some normality.

    Remember to take care of yourself.

    When you are grieving and depressed, simple things like eating become an afterthought and sleeping may become difficult. Taking care of yourself and your health will help with the healing process.

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    Don’t make any major decisions.

    Grief clouds the ability to make sound decisions.[4] Try to postpone making any big decisions for a while or get guidance from close friends or family.

    It is important to heal after a loss so that you can get on with life. There is no set time period for grieving, but if you feel that your grief isn’t getting better and you are unable to accept the loss, it might be time to seek professional help.

    Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

    Reference

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    Sheena Vincent

    Freelance Writer

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    Last Updated on August 16, 2018

    10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

    10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

    The ability to take risks by stepping outside your comfort zone is the primary way by which we grow. But we are often afraid to take that first step.

    In truth, comfort zones are not really about comfort, they are about fear. Break the chains of fear to get outside. Once you do, you will learn to enjoy the process of taking risks and growing in the process.

    Here are 10 ways to help you step out of your comfort zone and get closer to success:

    1. Become aware of what’s outside of your comfort zone

    What are the things that you believe are worth doing but are afraid of doing yourself because of the potential for disappointment or failure?

    Draw a circle and write those things down outside the circle. This process will not only allow you to clearly identify your discomforts, but your comforts. Write identified comforts inside the circle.

    2. Become clear about what you are aiming to overcome

    Take the list of discomforts and go deeper. Remember, the primary emotion you are trying to overcome is fear.

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    How does this fear apply uniquely to each situation? Be very specific.

    Are you afraid of walking up to people and introducing yourself in social situations? Why? Is it because you are insecure about the sound of your voice? Are you insecure about your looks?

    Or, are you afraid of being ignored?

    3. Get comfortable with discomfort

    One way to get outside of your comfort zone is to literally expand it. Make it a goal to avoid running away from discomfort.

    Let’s stay with the theme of meeting people in social settings. If you start feeling a little panicked when talking to someone you’ve just met, try to stay with it a little longer than you normally would before retreating to comfort. If you stay long enough and practice often enough, it will start to become less uncomfortable.

    4. See failure as a teacher

    Many of us are so afraid of failure that we would rather do nothing than take a shot at our dreams.

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    Begin to treat failure as a teacher. What did you learn from the experience? How can you take that lesson to your next adventure to increase your chance of success?

    Many highly successful people failed plenty of times before they succeeded. Here’re some examples:

    10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

    5. Take baby steps

    Don’t try to jump outside your comfort zone, you will likely become overwhelmed and jump right back in.

    Take small steps toward the fear you are trying to overcome. If you want to do public speaking, start by taking every opportunity to speak to small groups of people. You can even practice with family and friends.

    Take a look at this article on how you can start taking baby steps:

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    The Number One Secret to Life Success: Baby Steps

    6. Hang out with risk takers

    There is no substitute for this step. If you want to become better at something, you must start hanging out with the people who are doing what you want to do and start emulating them. (Here’re 8 Reasons Why Risk Takers Are More Likely To Be Successful).

    Almost inevitably, their influence will start have an effect on your behavior.

    7. Be honest with yourself when you are trying to make excuses

    Don’t say “Oh, I just don’t have the time for this right now.” Instead, be honest and say “I am afraid to do this.”

    Don’t make excuses, just be honest. You will be in a better place to confront what is truly bothering you and increase your chance of moving forward.

    8. Identify how stepping out will benefit you

    What will the ability to engage in public speaking do for your personal and professional growth? Keep these potential benefits in mind as motivations to push through fear.

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    9. Don’t take yourself too seriously

    Learn to laugh at yourself when you make mistakes. Risk taking will inevitably involve failure and setbacks that will sometimes make you look foolish to others. Be happy to roll with the punches when others poke fun.

    If you aren’t convinced yet, check out these 6 Reasons Not to Take Life So Seriously.

    10. Focus on the fun

    Enjoy the process of stepping outside your safe boundaries. Enjoy the fun of discovering things about yourself that you may not have been aware of previously.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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