I recently wrote about grief in terms of what the mind is doing when it locks in the pain of grief. But what can be done about it?
Grief is an emotional illusion. Challenge it and it changes. It tries to justify why you need to feel bad – usually that’s along the lines of “It’s a big deal they’re gone, it should hurt”, or “I’d be disloyal to their memory if I didn’t feel bad”, or “What have I got to feel good about, they’re gone!”
They all feel true and are powerful statements of affection. But ask these questions instead:
“Would they want me to feel like this?”
“Would it be a better tribute to them for me to push through and achieve something more in life”
“Would what I’m doing make them happy?”
There are a couple of things that can help moderate the bad feeling in general and which can help you build more emotional strength:
Light exercise lifts our mood and helps prevent a host of issues that could otherwise hold us back. 30 minutes walking 5 days a week will make a big difference, and getting out and moving will help break the cycle of isolation that can come with grief, where we avoid much of what we used to do.
Mindfulness Meditation is another big help. Mindfulness helps lessen both physical and emotional pain and is more successful at avoiding depressive feelings than medication. It’s a bit of a wonder intervention. It takes about 8 weeks for mindfulness to make a noticeable impact, but it’s really good. There are many free mindfulness courses, guided meditations, and trainings on YouTube, as well as several locally run programmes in Westmeath,. Galway, Roscommon, Offaly, Laois, and throughout the country.
Lastly, if the grief is really strong and old (still locked in after a number of years), it may be stored as a trauma and be pressuring your life in many ways. If that’s the case, seeing a good trauma therapist can change that hugely. If you need help finding someone trained in one of the 4 proven treatment methods in your area, just let me know and I’ll be happy to hunt down someone with the right skills as near to you as possible.
The bottom line is that we don’t need to suffer in pain. It can change, life can improve. We can still honour and remember those who pass on, by living lives of worth and kindness. That kindness should include ourselves too. Take care of yourself and you can contribute more to the world.
Change is easier than you think.