Grief will touch each of us in our lifetimes. While it's true that some people seem to experience hardships and trials continually, few are likely to escape the experience of grief. For each of us, grief is a personal journey.
Here is a 7 step blueprint to help guide you on your journey through grief.
First, understand that grief is a mixture of many emotions. Grief is manifest through a combination of feelings of the heart and thoughts of the mind. It can come unexpectedly and without warning. Emotions can appear like ghost shadows and come in a variety of combinations. Some examples of the emotions you may feel are emptiness, numbness, anger and despair. Realize when an unexpected challenge or loss occurs in your life, a certain amount of grief is to be expected.
In addition to the emotional aspects of grief, your mind may be afflicted with thoughts of fear or sadness. You may even feel you are losing control of your mind. Be aware of the symptoms of depression. Depression can be caused by a chemical change in the brain. It is as real as the measles and is also treatable. If you are struggling to get out of bed, lack energy, or find it extremely difficult to perform basic tasks, consider seeking professional support.
Second, realize that overcoming grief takes time. Every individual has a personal grief clock which runs at a different speed. You can't expect those around you to fully understand what you are going through. They haven't "walked in your moccasins" for a day or even for a mile. Society offers advice and well-meaning sound bites. They share one-step solutions and expect you will be over your grief in a week. Don't expect the sound bites to be cure-all solutions. You can't make your grief disappear as easily as a painter might cover a dark spot on the wall with a brush stroke. You can't expect your grief to be here today and gone tomorrow.
Third, recognize you may experience intense pain. Unbelievable sorrow often accompanies grief. Your emotional pain may be indescribable. If this is your first encounter with severe grief you may be surprised at the depth of pain. Emotional pain may even manifest itself as physical pain.
Fourth, expect some tears and know this release of emotion may support your healing. As you struggle with your grief remember always being the strong person may not work for you. Let your tears flow when you are alone or even in public. Don't be ashamed of crying. Never apologize for your tears as crying is a normal outlet for grief. Grief is not often discussed openly. It is difficult to talk about or express your feelings of grief. Others may not know how to help you unless you express specifically what you need from them. Many want to help but don't know how until you tell them.
Fifth, acknowledge that grieving takes strength. Grieving makes unexpected demands on your energy. It may rob you of the strength you normally have. It may be necessary for you to do only the essential things in your life. It's okay to do less as you move through your grief. Sixth, accept that grief may change you. Grief is a transformational journey. The process of grieving may require you to change who you are emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. The changes you experience in your life may be part of the healing process. You are likely to emerge from the experience as a stronger and wiser person.
Seventh, managing your grief properly fosters growth. Your best grief relief strategy may be to look for opportunities within the experience. Direct your thoughts and your efforts toward a creating new possibilities as you move through your grief. Remember you can pass through your grief and return to a happier and better place.
Duane Marchant is a Grief Relief Specialist who supports men and women throughout the world. He is an amputee, author, speaker and founder of Grief Relief Academy. He believes life is precious and dedicates his time to healing hearts and drying eyes, one at a time.