Cope with grief and loss, how to face it and get back on track? Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, a pet, or the end of a relationship, a job… Any big change in one’s life including a loss is never easy to live with. It is something that affects us all at some point. Let’s try today to see what can help you get through this difficult stage to get over it. Without ignoring your grief.
What is grief and loss?
The permanent loss of a person or thing that is accompanied by feelings and thoughts. Bereavement is a process during which the mourning occurs. The person releases sadness, anger, pain and misunderstanding. Grief is not necessarily the death of a loved one, but also following an abortion, or a miscarriage. But also the loss of a love, a pet, a job, an object that was dear to us.
Often this is accompanied by violent feelings: as if a part of you had been torn away. You think you won’t make it, that it’s too hard, with dark thoughts. But you can get over it… with time and support. This is why cope with grief is not easy and require a recover time.
Anything that involves a separation is accompanied by the same feelings. This is especially true for the lost twin syndrome. Or a too violent and rapid detachment from the mother in the case of a premature birth for example. In this case, the consequences are completely subconscious. So the being grows up with the constant sensation of a lack, of a loss, of a mourning never done… This undeniably conditions his behaviour towards life and others.
Of course, it is advisable to be well accompanied by a therapist to be able to overcome this ordeal with the least amount of after-effects. Kinesiology is very effective, but we will talk about it later. The reason for this is that those who have not experienced it find it difficult to understand the pain they feel. They feel helpless and will tell you “it will be alright”. But no, it is not okay now and the future seems so far away!
Why do we grieve after a loss?
First of all, humans have great difficulty with change. Although adaptability is the key to the survival of all living beings. But the acceptance of leaving something behind for the unknown frightens him. Because he dreads the loneliness. And also the fact that he has to transform the things around him and within him in order to move towards the unknown. Indeed, mourning is not always necessarily linked to death. Although the loss is experienced as a feeling of small death…
Whether it is the loss of a loved one or a situation… There is always a mourning to be done in order to get back on track. And it is quite natural: releasing the emotions felt is necessary to come to terms with what is. Because these feelings are completely normal and understandable… let’s not lie, it’s hard for everyone. Especially for a violent loss. Accepting the loss when the person (or object of loss) is still present is easier than suddenly. Because mourning is a process that takes time, to be able to see the future again. And finally to find joy again, starting with the simple things in life.
However, mourning is not unique to humans. In fact, in some animal species, the mourning process also takes place and is more or less long. This is particularly the case for species that have only one partner. Often, the life of the young is in danger while one of them goes in search of food. And there is no one to look after the young. And even without offspring, there is also the fact that the creature is without its mate. He has to learn to function alone again.
Steps to cope with grief and loss
This first stage is often non-acceptance, the total rejection of the situation. Depending on the violence felt, the person may be frozen in the face of the situation. Without any capacity to react. It is more or less long depending on the situation, the person’s capacity to adapt, and their obligations. A few moments, days, weeks…
For example, having a dependent child, financial realities. For example, having a dependent child, financial realities, or a court case to deal with immediately makes it impossible to take a break. You have to get up, continue, and carry on with the wounds still raw… Because depending on what is announced, decisions have to be made quickly.
If this is your case, you should know that it will be necessary to take care of your body and mind quickly. Think of consulting a therapist quickly. There is a risk that what has been repressed will resurface later. And sometimes in a violent way, or somatised (by the body: pain, illness).
2. The revolt
During this phase, the person experiences a succession of unpleasant feelings. Incomprehension, guilt, injustice. There is a feeling of “but why…”, “if only I had…”. There is a realisation that the being is not coming back, or the situation is over. And it seeks a meaning, a tangible reason.
And sometimes a violence in the body, and a need to get it out. For example by punching the walls, shouting, running… to release the emotional charge that is too intense in the body. During this phase, which can last from a week to several months, try to practice activities that allow you to release.
Like self-hypnosis, listening to relaxing music. Or follow guided meditations to soothe yourself before bed. And if you are trained in Usui reiki, do your own self-care, or give yourself a reiki treatment. But also run in nature, or try dance therapy… Anything that calls to you to release tension.
This is often referred to as the negotiation phase, as if it were possible to turn back the clock. The person looks for solutions, sometimes improbable and unrealistic. But this is necessary, in order to gradually let the feeling of sadness within the person express itself. Helplessness, where one sometimes feels completely lost.
Often it is difficult to function properly, accompanied by a lack of interest in all activities. This lasts more or less long depending on the person, weeks or a few months…
And finally, the last stage, which can be longer because it is necessary to adapt. Revisit your life, change things, transform. The unpleasant feelings are still there in the background but less intense. One becomes more capable of managing one’s emotions. The small pleasures of life can be welcomed again, and seeing the future can be possible.
Resilience is gradually achieved… For one day with enough hindsight to understand the whole picture. As well as all that we have learned from the difficulties experienced. Some suffering may sometimes come back, or in the form of nostalgia. But we can move on, if we continue to work on ourselves. The more we look at life with philosophy and a broader perspective, the more we can accept what is.
Mourning and cultures
Relationship with Death
In fairy tales
Death is often a taboo subject in societies. Yet it is part of the cycle of life. It is something that was once addressed in the education of children in ancestral peoples. And not hidden behind beautiful Disney stories that always end well.
In Andersen‘s fairy tales, the story of the little mermaid is far from being all pretty. She does not succeed in her mission and dies to join the spirits of the sea. The little match girl dies of cold, and joins her grandmother who accompanies her on her journey to the afterlife. A more realistic vision…
Grief in various countries of the world
When I was in Indonesia, in Bali, I attended a ceremony for the dead. It was quite incredible and festive. With theatre, dance and music all night long. I didn’t feel any heaviness.
In India, in Varanasi, I was able to talk to one of the people in charge of the fire. At the place where the dead are burned in front of the Ganges. He invited me and my friend to come with him, to observe while remaining discreet. He explained to us how they took care of the body and the bones. Where the wood came from, and how to prepare the fire, the relationship with the family, and their grieving process. It was very interesting.
In Benin, one day in the street we saw a group of people passing by in a euphoric state. My friend had told me that when a person died, big parties were organised. This could last for more than a week. Some people invited themselves to enjoy the meals, even if they were distant cousins and did not like the person.
Of course, my anthropological approach never allows me to judge a behaviour. But to observe and take part in people’s lives. In each country, I was able to see that the relationship with death was very different. The more difficult the living conditions are, the less space and time there is for emotions. The decompensation will happen afterwards… This is where the relatives and the family play an important role. If the person is surrounded.
As far as loss is concerned, it is often the frustration and the awakened beliefs that are painful. The frustration of saying goodbye to something, to go down a path you know nothing about. It’s scary, because you think “what if it’s worse”? Sometimes we prefer to stay in an uncomfortable situation or with health problems. Because at least you know what to expect.
Letting go to be reborn
Indeed, to change means to let one part of oneself die, so that another part can be reborn. Saying goodbye to one situation to attract a new one that is much brighter and right for you. If you have difficulty making the transition, do not stay alone. It is necessary to be accompanied by a professional. No, a mourning of any kind does not have to be so long!
Each person is different, but it is good not to overload yourself with beliefs. Such as: “you never really get over it”, or you just have to deal with it. Whether suggested by yourself or others. Because it’s not true! Resilience is a path that is accessible to all. It sometimes requires going deep inside to deal with other seemingly unrelated old wounds… But it is often that a painful event awakens other old unresolved sorrows. If you are ready to move forward on this time of inner quest, new doors may open to you. A form of spiritual awakening… on which I can help you and guide you, on a grounded way 😉
The new attitude and philosophy of life
The positive attitude, when you feel ready, is to use this time to transform things. And go and sort out what has been put aside in you for a long time. You will probably be surprised to see what can come back. And the benefits will be many, starting with more lightness and alignment in your life. A new philosophy with which to move forward and look at the world.
How to cope with grief and loss?
Signs that it is necessary to seek help to cope with grief
Physical symptoms of mourning
There are certain symptoms that should not be overlooked, especially when it starts to seriously affect your health. For example, eating disorders, the desire to disappear to join the object of the loss. Or insomnia, dark thoughts, the feeling of sinking into depression.
But also, if you have the sensation of feeling an emptiness inside you, without any emotion, or you don’t even have the strength to cry anymore and you don’t care. Or complete denial where you say “everything is fine” and completely ignore the situation.
Similarly, relational dysfunctions, others who no longer “recognise” you. Aggression towards people close to you, suddenly different behaviour, mood swings. Or even anxiety attacks. Also, disinterest or the impossibility to work, to take care of your children, to pursue your usual activities normally…
Exhaustion and lack of sleep
A feeling of suffering so strong that you just want it to stop now… Or you can’t do without sleeping pills, antidepressants and other medications. But of course, without reaching that point, I really advise you not to let it drag on. If you are well accompanied, you can find relief and valuable encouragement.
Types of help you can seek to cope with grief
A walk in nature to calm down your mind
Alone or with a friend to get some fresh air, and reconnect with nature and basics of life.
Art therapy : get relief
Using music, dance therapy, drawing to release your emotions.
Consult a body psychotherapist to cope with grief
A body mind therapist will help you to have benevolent ears and to get help. Contrary a classical psychologist, he also act on posture and behaviours. This is a great support to gradually change your attitude towards the situation, and move forward step by step without projecting yourself too far.
Touch for health kinesiology :
Kinesiology can help you to go through the body to release the stress experienced physically and emotionally.
Receive a therapeutic massage
Like shiatsu to relax you. But also to rebalance the whole physiological, digestive plan…
Usui Reiki therapy
Usui Reiki Ryoho rebalance the body and mind on an energetic and spiritual level
You, your child or a friend who is struggling with grief, whatever it may be?
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Consultations are also available online.