Can grief be good? It certainly doesn’t feel good. I have never heard anyone say they enjoyed the process of grief. But grief is necessary, and you must go through the process to move on with your life. I am going to tell you how you can experience good grief.
WHAT IS GRIEF?
Dictionary.com offers these definitions to grief:
- deep sorrow, especially that caused by someone’s death.
- trouble or annoyance.
Grief is a person’s normal, healthy response to a loss. People grieve for many different reasons, including:
- Death of a loved one, including pets. Divorce or changes in a relationship, including friendships. Changes in your health or the health of a loved one. Losing a job or changes in financial security. Changes in your way of life, such as during retirement or when moving to a new place.
You can also experience grief if you or a loved one are diagnosed with a major disease or face a serious illness. You may grieve the plans you had made, or the ways life will change.
THE FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS OF GRIEVING
Grief is different for everyone. It never looks the same. And each loss you experience will cause you to grieve in different ways. Some things you may experience during the grieving process:
- Feelings: Anger, anxiety, blame, confusion, denial, depression, fear, guilt, irritability, loneliness, numbness, relief, sadness, shock, or yearning.
- Thoughts: Confusion, difficulty concentrating, disbelief, hallucinations, or preoccupation with what was lost.
- Physical sensations: Dizziness, fast heartbeat, fatigue, headaches, hyperventilating, nausea or upset stomach, shortness of breath, tightness or heaviness in the throat or chest, or weight loss or gain.
- Behaviors: Crying spells, excessive activity, irritability or aggression, loss of energy, loss of interest in enjoyable activities, restlessness, or trouble sleeping.
THE PROCESS OF GRIEF
I think most of us are familiar with the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I do believe we experience all of these stages when handling grief in a healthy way. But sometimes we think we just need to work through each stage and be done. Unfortunately, grief is not that tidy or orderly. It is messy and chaotic and confusing.
I love this image from feelings unlimited This is what grief really looks feels like to me.
So, now we know what grief is. We know the symptom and process. No one wants to experience all of these feelings. How do we take care of ourselves as we move through the process?
TIPS FOR SELF-CARE
- Take a walk
- Take a nap
- Get a few minutes of fresh air and sunlight
- Have a good cry
- Plan a night out with friends
- Listen to your favorite music playlist
- Take stock of your support system
- Look through old photographs.
- See a movie
- Watch YouTube Videos
- Practice self compassion
- Plan a weekend getaway.
- Treat yourself to a day of relaxation
- Try a new hobby
- Be creative
- Join a support group
- Find a quiet place where you can be alone with your thoughts.
- try a warm shower or a bubble bath.
- See a therapist
- See a life coach
- Volunteer your time.
- Throw a pity party for yourself. Allow yourself an hour each day to sulk
- Retail Therapy
- Spend time in a place where you feel close to your deceased loved one(s).
- Play a sport or take a yoga class.
- Call an old friend
- Throw your plans out the window and spend a few days schedule-free.
- Go for a drive.
Finally, grief is not fun, but it is necessary. If you need help learning how to experience good grief – seek out a therapist, life coach or join a support group. Don’t get stuck in the grief. Feel it, process it, and then go help someone else work through it. I won’t promise that it gets easier with time, I don’t think it does. But if you work through the pain of grief – it does get different. You will be able to look back at the loss with a new perspective and you will have grown as person through the experience.