Healthy Ways to Mourn

Van Gogh's GriefGrief is one of the most painful emotions that humans feel. While it is healthy and natural to grieve after experiencing a profound loss, many people deal with their pain in ways that are unhealthy, or that can damage the healing process.

So how can you grieve in a healthy way?

Give yourself time to grieve

You will not get over your loss overnight, and allowing yourself an appropriate amount of time to grieve is the first step in the healing process. Allow yourself to feel the immense pain of your loss. Look at pictures of the person you’ve lost and allow yourself to cry uncontrollably. Acknowledge that your life has changed and that moving on is going to be very difficult. Trying to hide your grief, or burying it deep inside before you are truly over it, could make the healing process last for years as your emotions resurface.

Find a support system

Dealing with your grief on your own can make you feel alone and isolated from the world. Find friends, family, a trusted professional, or support group to listen to you. If you can’t find one in your area, or just prefer online support groups, try the Beyond Indigo message boards. They are filled with others who understand what you’re going through. It’s important to talk about what you’re feeling and to let the pain out.  There is no shame in seeking professional help if you find that you’re having trouble getting over your grief.

Express your feelings in a tangible way

Write about your loss in a personal journal. Write a letter to your loved one expressing the things you never got to say. Create a scrapbook celebrating their life.  Paint a picture of your emotions. Creating something new allows you to express your pain and let your feelings out.

Take care of your health

The mind and body are connected. When you feel good physically, you will start to feel better emotionally. Be sure to get enough sleep, eat right, and exercise.  When you’re feeling particularly down, go for a long walk. Exercise releases endorphins that can naturally help to reduce your pain.

Volunteer your time

When you’re mourning it can be difficult to find a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Try getting involved in a cause or organization that your loved one felt strongly about, or one that you feel strongly about. Helping others is a wonderful way to not only make a positive impact for others, but to help yourself see things in a more positive light.

Whatever you do, don’t bottle up your pain or try to rush yourself through your grief. Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling as it comes to you without regard to how you or others may think you “should” feel.  Take the time you need to mourn, but also realize that you need to find enjoyment and happiness in your life.

For more thoughts and ideas visit our grief support library.

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