What is grief? Grieving is mourning a loss of something or someone important to us. Grieving may contain emotions like sadness, anger, guilt, anxiety, and emptiness. Some folks in the early stages of grief may deny what they lost or feel unreal and dissociated. There are no arbitrary stages of grief. Everyone experiences loss differently.
*If during your grieving process you are assailed by depression, see our Tips on Depression. Know how depression differs from sadness.
*An excellent way of working through strong grief feelings is with the Emotional Writing Process. Here you write out what's disturbing us and any decisions you've made about our loss. Allow yourself to feel what is disturbing you, but there is no need to wallow in it. Set a time to grieve and then go about your regular business of day to day living.
*Employ integrators such as the Emo Integrator, Written Integrator, or Bilateral Emotional Walking. Basically you work with your arousal grief emotions like anxiety, anger and any guilt you experience. You feel and accept them until they lose their intense and enduring quality.
*Be alert for any obsessive "woulda", "shoulda", "coulda", and "if only" thinking. Likely you did the best you could at the time. No need to condemn yourself--people make errors.
*Check out any distorted and self-defeating beliefs about your loss. Visit our "Tips on Distorted Thinking" and "Self-Defeating Thinking" list and work to change them. This can impact on any stuck emotions you are having about your loss.
*Don't drop everything because you suffered a major loss. Consider doing important, meaningful, and pleasurable activities. This can help with your mood and lets you know there are other things in life.
*Check out what you can do to replace what you lost with new jobs, activities, and bringing new people into your life. No need to rush ahead to replace what you lost until it seems right.
*If there are practical problems to be solved, consider the Multi-Solutions Generator, Tips on Problem Solving, or the Relationship Remodeler.
*If it's appropriate to your loss circumstances write out how you might handle future similar situations and look for what you can learn from your loss.
*Be wary of any negative hindsight where you assail yourself for what you should've known or did. Visit our Forgiveness Exercise.
*Consider doing the Finding a Silver Lining Exercise for locating the positive elements in your loss or crisis experience. Do this after you have done some grieving.
*Some active self-acceptance might be called for as well as treating yourself with respect, love, and care. See what good things you can do for yourself.
*Perhaps consider choosing some exercises from the Emoclear Positive Psychology Exercises to give you some mood elevating activities.
*Make sure you eat right, sleep right, and get enough exercise.
*Stay in contact with your friends and share your loss with them. Above all feel your feelings because this is where the healing takes place.
*Work-through any related Personality Clusters that might get triggered by your loss.
*Do the Emptiness Process and work through any feelings of loneliness or emptiness.
*If you think there's something needing to be said to your friend or loved one, by all means say it. Write a letter if they are no longer with us.
*Give the loss a proper memorial if it's called for.
*When you have completed grieving, set about to fill in the loss's void.