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  • Writer's pictureFiona Murray

Dealing with Grief

1. Understand there are stages to grief. People tend to go through various stages of emotions after loss such as denial, anger and acceptance. There is no hard and fast timeline to each stage of grief, and there are situations where a person falls back to the previous stage before moving ahead through the grieving process. Being aware of the stages does provide something for your coping mechanism to process along the way.

2. Recognise the symptoms of grief. There are mostly emotional symptoms involved with grief. Since many of the feelings involved are so devastating, there are physical manifestations that can emerge as well. This roller coaster of feelings can involve everything from deep sadness and a sense of going crazy to shock, guilt, and fear. In terms of physical symptoms associated with grieving, be aware that you could feel nauseous and fatigued, suffer from insomnia, experience aches and pains, and/or gain or lose weight.

3. Let yourself grieve. So often, people get stuck on the first few stages of grief because they don't let themselves give into the emotions involved. It's necessary to let yourself take this roller coaster ride and react to the wave of emotions rather than to try to suppress them.

4. Lean on friends and family. Your family and friends expect you to be upset and, while they may not know what to do, they do want to be there for you even if it's just to listen and offer some affection.

5. Join a support group online, offline, or both. Whether it is through social media groups and platforms or it's in person, support groups offer a way to talk and listen to others who know exactly what you are going through.

6. Seek out some support from a professional Like the support groups, a therapist has experienced loss through having heard the stories and feelings of many patients just like you. They are trained to provide grief counselling in which they walk through the stages of grief with you, helping with advice and tactics for dealing with intense emotions and any barriers to mental and emotional healing that appear along the way.

7. Express your feelings. While it can be difficult to talk about your emotions even in less troubling times, this is an important part of the process that you must do. You don't necessarily have to just express your feelings verbally. Instead, you can consider keeping a journal, write letters to the person or even thing you lost, create a scrapbook and compile the happy memories that you enjoyed before the loss or take up a cause that was important to the person you may have lost.

8. Take care of your physical and emotional well-being. You are no good to others or yourself if you stop taking care of your physical health. Exercise and a balanced diet will help you combat the grief and work towards a healthier emotional and mental well-being.

9. Focus on the positive aspects of your life. This loss could feel like the worst thing ever in your life and no one can tell you any different. However, what you do need is to consider all the good things that are still with you in life that are worth working through the grief.

10. Plan for life event "triggers." While you may have been able to navigate through all the stages of grief, know that there may be "triggers" in the near future that may bring all those emotions rushing back once more. Typically, there are life milestones that remind you of a loss like holidays, birthdays, anniversaries or some other special event. Have a plan where you can turn these "triggers" into positive moments, such as a celebration or time to meditate on the happiness you enjoyed before the loss.

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