“Tears shed for another person are not a sign of weakness. They are a sign of a pure heart.” -Jose N. Harris, Mi Vida: A Story of Faith, Hope and Love.
Web MD defines grief as the natural response to a great loss – and sadly it’s something that’s far from rare. According to Web MD, “each year between 5%-9% of the population loses a close family member.” The loss of an important person, animal, or life situation can of course lead to grief. The most common example is when there’s a death in the family – but people can also be deeply affected by a child leaving home, losing a job or other life situations that can create the need to grieve and move forward through life.
There are quite a lot of different theories about the stages of grief and techniques used to cope. While there are many situations where people have made preparations for the loss of someone close, when death happens the intense sadness and grief can be too hard to bear.
Everyone’s different and we all have our own path – but the following four considerations are worth thinking about and are often recommended as ways to help feel better:
1 – Talking. When experiencing grief you may feel that there are certain things you need to say. You might try talking to a compassionate friend, loved one, or a therapist. You may also feel compelled to reach out to old friends, or repair relationships that have been troubling you. (1)
2 – Writing. When grieving, it helps if you focus on writing with the goal of processing feelings. For example, you can write your feelings on strips of paper and then burn them or keep them in a jar for a while. (2)
3 – Creating. Another option for people who are grieving is to express feelings in a creative way. Drawing, painting, dancing, or building something are all ways that help people express emotions without necessarily talking, and it might make you feel that you’re putting your emotions into something productive. An art therapist may be able to help you with this, but you also can do it on your own or take a community art class. Just remember, your skill at art doesn’t matter in this case. It’s about getting what you’re feeling out in a tangible way.
4 – Meditating. A final possible resource for processing your feelings of grief is meditation. Again, check your community for free meditation centers, or contact a professional. There are also free resources online.
It’s important to remember when dealing with grief that each person is individual and will deal with grief in their own way and on their own time. No one can tell you how to feel and you should not tell yourself how to feel either. Take time to listen to your inner voice and try a few different coping strategies to help heal yourself.