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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 June 18, 2019

    40 Ways to Achieve Peace Of Mind and Inner Calm

    40 Ways to Achieve Peace Of Mind and Inner Calm

    Do you have racing thoughts and find yourself constantly worrying? An anxious mind is truly distressing.

    The good news is, there’re simple things you can do to calm your thought.

    If you want to achieve peace of mind and inner calm, try these 40 simple powerful ways:

    1. Listen to Music

    Studies have found that relaxing music can help kids with ADHD to be calmer and focus. But it doesn’t matter what genre of music you want to listen to, as long as you enjoy it and it makes you feel relaxed.

    Music is food for the soul and an instant way to gain peace of mind.

    2. Deep Breathing

    When you focus on your breathing, your mind’s attention is drawn to the life-enhancing process of drawing in air and exhaling.

    Take five long, deep breaths and focus on your lungs and diaphragm as you do this. This is a quick and easy way to instantly feel calm.

    Here’re also 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly).

    3. Go for a Walk

    Getting out in the fresh air can do you a world of good and promote peace of mind. Take a break and get the blood pumping – especially when the sun is shining.

    4. Enjoy Nature

    Too much concrete is never a good thing. Spending time in nature can actually make you feel younger, happier. Here’s why.

    Spend time away from the city. Listen to the birds singing and enjoy the peace and tranquility.

    5. Play with a Pet

    Having a pet to play with is a great way to de-stress. Touch is a powerful sense and can ease tension and promote peace of mind.

    6. Declutter

    Have regular clear-outs. Clutter can add to feelings of tension and a clean, clear home allows a clearer, more peaceful mind.

    Take a look at this article and learn How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster.

    7. Acceptance

    Acceptance is crucial for peace of mind. Accepting that there are few guarantees in the world and learning to tolerate uncertainty is a huge leap in the peace-of-mind stakes. Differentiate between what you can and cannot control.

    8. Mindfulness

    When we are mindful, we are fully present in the moment and acutely aware of our five senses: touch, taste, sight, hearing and smell.

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    Engage your senses. This leaves less time for your mind to worry and think about “what ifs.”

    Here you can learn about The Power of Mindfulness.

    9. Self Love

    The more we like ourselves, the greater our peace of mind. We accept ourselves more and feel at ease in the world, no matter what situation we find ourselves in. We experience less insecurity and as a result, our inner peace is heightened.

    Start trying these 30 Ways To Practice Self-Love And Be Good To Yourself.

    10. Be True to You

    This is another vital component of peace of mind. When we practice congruency, we behave similarly to the way we feel and think. When the way we see ourselves and the way the world sees us is the same, we are practicing congruency.

    Problems arise when we see ourselves one way (for example, as a loving mother) but behave in ways that are at odds with how we would like to see ourselves (for example, neglect our children because we are too busy). Finding ways to keep our inner ideals and the way we behave similar is one of the keys to peace of mind.

    Find out How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want.

    11. Sense of Humor

    Laugh a lot. The world is instantly a better place when you can see the funny side of life. Laughter is a great antidote for stress and releases hormones that help us relax.

    12. Love Unconditionally

    When you don’t expect anything back, it makes it easier to love without fear. When we love with conditions attached, our unmet expectations can create inner turmoil and feelings of resentment. Insecurities destroy peace of mind.

    13. Go for Regular Health Checks

    It pays to keep checks on your health and look after yourself. Letting ourselves go can indicate a lack of self-respect, and this in turn will affect the way we see the world and the way others interact with us. Be kind to yourself and make the most of what you have.

    14. Take Stock

    Every now and then, it’s a good idea to check whether you’re happy with the quality of your life. Do you like your job? Your relationship? Are you on the right track? Make adjustments if necessary to restore peace of mind.

    15. Have Goals

    This ties in with number 14. Goals keep us going in the right direction and give us a sense of purpose. Make your goals SMART: How to Set SMART Goal to Make Lasting Changes in Life

    16. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

    This relates to number 11. Learn to be more flexible in your approach to life. The more rigid our thinking is, the easier it is to experience situations that contradict our rigid ideas.

    17. Live in the Moment

    Instead of worrying about the past or panicking about the future, really enjoy the NOW. It’s all we have — this moment in time.

    When we live in the present, the concerns of the past and future can’t worry us.

    Here’re some tips on How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future.

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    18. Worry Less

    We apparently have somewhere between 30,000 – 75,000 thoughts per day, of which 80% are random “nonsense.”

    Learn to “shelve” worrying by reminding yourself that most of your worries are unproductive and remove any chance of peace of mind.

    Some advice for you who worry often: How to Worry Less: 90% of What You Fear Won’t Happen

    19. Be Assertive

    You have as much right to be here and to have an opinion as anyone else. When we become passive or submissive, we do ourselves a disservice.

    Being assertive isn’t about your needs ahead of others (aggressive) or their needs ahead of yours (passive). Rather, it is about compromise —  a “win-win” situation.

    Learn How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way.

    20. Speak Your Mind

    Don’t be afraid to say what you’re thinking. This goes hand in hand with being assertive.

    Ask for what you want in life. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

    21. Enjoy “Me-Time”

    Time out is important. A little bit of selfish time to treat yourself or do exactly as you please sets you up for taking on the constant demands of life. Balance in life is crucial.

    22. Frolic

    The free online dictionary describes the word “frolic” as:

    “To behave playfully and uninhibitedly; romp.”

    All work and no play will stress anyone out. Make time for things you enjoy. Try to inject fun into situations that aren’t particularly enjoyable. Approach life with a playful attitude. When did you last let the child in you come out to play?

    23. Let It Go

    There are some things that you just cannot change, no matter how hard you try. Know when to cut your losses and detach (Just like Elsa does!)

    When you start to let go of your past, these 10 things will happen.

    24. Resist Guilt

    Guilt is a negative emotion that removes peace of mind. Although it can motivate us (in the wrong way), it is still a toxic emotion.

    Challenge the reasons for your guilt to make sure you aren’t placing unnecessary pressure on yourself.

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    25. Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude

    Focusing on all the things in our lives that we are grateful for promotes peace of mind and reminds us that there are always positives. Sometimes we just have to nudge our awareness.

    Try these 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude.

    26. See Failure as a Learning Curve

    Failure has such negative connotations, but actually, everyone fails. How can you improve or learn anything if you never fail?

    A healthy attitude towards failure encourages bravery. It’s not you that is the failure, instead it is what you tried that failed. There is a big difference.

    27. Connect with Others

    One of the true joys of life is sharing life with others and knowing that others “get” you. We feel less alone and feeling understood allows a fantastic sense of well-being.

    28. Test Your Limits

    You’ll never know your true potential if you always stay in your comfort zone. As the old saying goes, it is better to look back and regret what you did than regret all those things you wish you’d tried.

    Learn to step out of your comfort zone: 10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Overcome Your Fear

    29. Find Positive Outlets for Negative Emotions

    Sports, online forums, like-minded people, hobbies…whatever takes your fancy. Suppressing negative emotions can lead to ill health. Release tension and frustration in a pro social way and feel a whole lot happier.

    30. Slow Down

    Why does everything need to be accomplished today? Often, we place unrealistic pressure on ourselves when there is no need to.

    Challenge your impatience, be mindful and enjoy life in the moment.

    31. Challenge Your “Shoulds” and “Musts”

    Self-induced pressure never leads to inner tranquility or peace of mind. Replace “should” with “could” and live life more on your own terms.

    32. Be Kind

    It’s free and it makes a difference. When we show kindness, it gives us an inner boost, too.

    You can try these 29 Ways to Carry Out Random Acts of Kindness Every Day.

    33. Don’t Compare

    The more we compare, the more we lose ourselves.

    Forget what everyone else is doing or saying. What do YOU want? We all have our own paths to follow, and we are all learning and going through life at our unique pace.

    Focus on your own journey and lose the stress of comparing yourself to what you think is going on in the lives of others. This is a surefire way to eliminate peace of mind.

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    34. Affirmations

    Talk to yourself positively by using affirmations. A good example of one that encourages peace of mind is: “No matter what comes my way, I will find a way to get through it.”

    Believe in yourself and remind yourself regularly that you will be okay.

    Need some more inspirations to affirm yourself? Here’re 10 Positive Affirmations for Success that will Change your Life.

    35. Save a Little Money as Often as You Can

    Putting money aside is always a good idea. If you can afford to save money regularly, do it. Start up a regular debit each month, and you won’t even realize it’s gone.

    36. Less Is More

    Money buys choice, but it doesn’t buy us the happiness we crave. Be content with the simpler things in life — that’s where the real long-lasting joy and peace of mind comes from.

    37. Perspective

    Always  keep your eye on the bigger picture. Will you feel this way next week, or a year from now? Will your current experience of life seem as important?

    More often than not, you will be just fine. Foster peace of mind by maintaining perspective in life.

    38. Monitor Your Thoughts

    Our thoughts can make or break our quality of life. Make sure to choose thinking that works for you.

    Talk to yourself as you would a best friend. Self-loathing serves no purpose and will undoubtedly extract joy from your life.

    39. Stand up for What You Believe In

    Whether it’s protecting animals or helping those less fortunate than yourself, follow your heart and your passion. Fight the urge to fit in and do what’s expected.

    When you change yourself to suit others, you give away your peace of mind.

    40. Get Enough Sleep

    When we’re tired and grumpy, nothing goes smoothly. Get eight hours of sleep per night and regenerate your body.

    Final Thoughts

    The most important ways to achieve peace of mind involve being true to yourself, accepting that life is uncertain and watching your thinking. Many of us mentally “torture” ourselves daily with the things we tell ourselves.

    Trust your thoughts less, pay less attention to the negative ones and focus on what you are thankful for in life, and you’ll be well on your way to inner peace of mind.

    Featured photo credit: sean Kong via unsplash.com

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