When a dear friend or family member dies, we each deal with our grief and sadness in our own way. Grief is a complex emotion, combining physical and psychological energy, and that energy must have an outlet.
When you are confronted with the initial experience of loss, it is of course natural to feel shock and to cry.
A healthy, appropriate reaction to grief is, of course, crying, sadness, sorrow, shock. We are all familiar with the five stages of grief described by Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance), which is the most common progression of emotions. Although all are usually experienced by those grieving the loss of loved one, these emotions do not necessarily progress in a linear way.
It is when you seek to avoid or deny these natural emotions and energies that problems may arise.
Allow the emotion, and “be with it” in the present moment, so that the energy may flow in a natural way. Also allow others to comfort you. Acceptance of support is not weakness! Respect your mental, physical and emotional needs in the time of mourning.
It is also helpful to take extra measures to comfort yourself. Cuddle your child, significant other, or pet. Sit quietly in nature. Sleep. Eat healthy foods to support the body. Stay physically active so the energy has an outlet. Talk to someone – family, friend or therapist. Try journaling your feelings or expressing them through art or movement. Take deep breathing or meditation breaks. If it sooths you, get back into a daily routine – taking care to not stuff any emotions which arise.
It is when the emotional intensity of grief does not resolve over time or is accompanied by other symptoms and behaviors (i.e., breathing, eating or sleeping problems, substance abuse, lethargy), then it is beneficial, and sometimes necessary, to seek professional help.
We have earlier discussed the benefits of somatic treatment in healing grief, because this form of therapy works with the body’s reaction to and storage of stuck emotions. Soul Wisdom Therapy has extensive experience with Somatic Therapy, and we invite you to contact us to help you through this difficult time.