Throughout our lives, we eventually have to come to terms with death and endings. Recovering from grief is a very emotionally demanding situation for many of us. The loss of a loved one is possibly one of the most painful experiences a human being can witness.
Why is it so painful?
This is because of the hormone oxytocin. We share it with people who we are close to or intimate with, and this is why we cry when they leave us from this earth. Oxytocin is a major component in emotional attachment too, and it helps us build a connection someone. When someone passes away, this stimuli gets registered in our amygdala, causing our threat/protection system to be triggered. In conclusion, feelings of shock, sadness, grief and despair rise up into our consciousness.
These emotions eventually reach an overwhelming level, and we begin to cry uncontrollably to self-soothe ourselves. Crying also gives us a chance to release our psychological distress. It is okay to cry.
Sometimes, this healing process can be blocked due to negative beliefs that have been taught to someone in childhood. You may believe that it is shameful to express their emotions because you were taught early on in childhood that it’s a weakness. This belief is a result of abuse during childhood and it can have very damaging effects on us when we reach adulthood. We may find it hard to console with others, give sympathy, and show empathy to people who are going through a difficult time. Always remember that allowing and accepting your emotions to release is your greatest healer. Bottling it up will only cause you more pain. For some tips on surrendering and why it’s good for us click here.
Here are five simple steps to help you recover from the emotional pain of grief and the sudden loss of a loved one. Remember, the healing process will take time, so be patient. I would also recommend working with a professional, as grief can greatly affect our emotional, mental and physical well-being.
Step 1: Allow yourself to have time to grieve.
As I have already said before; expressing your emotions shouldn’t be something to be scared of. Crying and expressing feelings of sadness are a natural part of the grieving process. Emotions are what makes us who we are. So, there is no need to bottle them up or be ashamed of them. Without them, we would be a very different species. They are essential to life. So, let go of shame and allow yourself to be completely present with what you’re feeling. Allow the tears to flow without judgement or resistance.
Step 2: Write a letter to your loved one in spirit telling them how grateful you are for them
Write a letter to them expressing how grateful you are to have have them as a part of your life. This can be anything from how supportive they were to you, how they made you smile, laugh and feel loved and accepted. Anything you want it to be. Once you have done this, you can take it out and place it on their grave or memorial, or beside a photograph of them smiling in a photo frame with a white candle next to it. You can also have it placed beside their favorite possession too, as this will help you connect to them.
Step 3: Celebrate their life and the legacy they have left behind.
This can be done by creating an altar that is dedicated to them and their life. Or maybe creating a scrapbook of all their achievements and accomplishments. Or even celebrating their annual birthday with them in spirit by leaving things they used to love on their place of rest. Share stories with others telling them about how great of a person they were and how they had such positive impact on so many people they interacted with. You can also create a charity in their memory to help raise awareness. This way, you can help and connect with others who have gone through the same process. For more ideas on how to celebrate a loved ones legacy click here.
Step 4: Spend time with those you love and trust the most.
As death and loss are difficult situations in life, it is important to spend time with those you love the most. Get all of the support you need, whether that is a close friend, counselor, your partner, or a close relative to you. With situations like this, it is always best to get as much support as possible. This will help with your recovery after the death. Talk to others about what your going through and always be open to ask for help and advice when you need it.
Step 5: Seek out professional help.
Grief is one of those emotions that sometimes requires help and guidance from a registered professional. The pain from grief can greatly affect our sleep, appetite, mood and energy levels. All of these things have a huge impact on our overall well-being. Work with a counselor that specializes in grief therapy for specific techniques that can help you heal emotionally.
I want to remind anyone who is currently experiencing grief and trauma that there is hope and you can recover from this. You are not alone in this experience, as most of us have been through it at least once in our lifetime. Thank you so much for reading.