Some of the above suggestions were taken in part from Good Grief
Rituals by Elaine Childs-Gowell. All this material was taken from Journey
of Hearts A Healing Place in Cyber Space.
- Write in a journal. Writing down your feelings or emotions, gets them down on paper and is a way of being able to look at things more objectively.
- Pound a pillow, your mattress, with fists or a tennis racket.
- Scream in a pillow, in the shower, in your car, or in the woods.
- Have a temper tantrum on your bed, mattress or couch( carefully
- Go for a long walk or run. Notice how your body is feeling, your breathing, how your legs are moving. Enjoy being out in nature.
- Twist a towel( or pull between a friend or large dog)
- Howl, wail, yell, scream. Laugh, cry, sing. Whatever noise or expression seems to express how you feel.
- Laugh uproariously, raucously, and with abandon, at least once a day. Laughter is good for the soul.
- Dance, skip, saunter, gallop, hop. Move in whatever way seems to work.
- Stop suffering .Suffering is an avoidance mechanism, a way of not
dealing with the feelings and working through the emotions.
- Do the necessary grief work. In whatever form seems to work best for
- Join a support group, with meetings, or on line.
- Look for resources on grief, do not underestimate the helpfulness of
books. Visit a local library or bookstore and see what books seem to help.
There are grief books written on a variety of topics, from a variety of
different perspectives depending on the type of loss.
- Talk to someone-a friend , family member, councelor, or
clergy member, even a pet or stuffed animal.
There are many different ways
Recognizing that there are
many different ways of coping with grief, we have included a wide range of
methods, in the hopes that even just one of two of the techniques would
work for anyone reading this website.
The following are a list of suggestions for dealing with the acute loss or
signifigant change. Some of these suggestions come from
"Finding Ways to Let Grief Out", Renewing Life, by Ingrid
Dilley, and Carol Troestler, and Josiah Dilley, with some modifications.
Ways to Cope with Grief
- Write - whether poetry or songs, letters to friends(send or not), or a daily journal
- Draw, paint, sketch or doodle.
- Listen to music from meaningful artists.
- Play an instrument, or start playing one. Pull out the guitar, harmonica, clarinet, recorder and stat to make music. If not then sing. Music's good for the soul.
- Exercise-walking, running, tennis, hiking, water aerobics, swimming, horse back riding, bicycling
- Talk with others, share your feelings with friends.
- Do something kind to someone. You will realize that you can make a difference.
- Watch the stars, planets or moon at night. Take an astronomy course.
- Rent a favorite movie-sad so you can cry, happy so you can laugh.
- Pamper yourself-bubble baths, wrap in a favorite afghan or quilt, drink hot chocolate.
- Watch home movies or videos. Look at old photograghs
- Spend time reading-books articles, poems.
- Work in a garden, start a flower garden.
- Sew something, quilt something, create something.
- Work on pottery or other crafts.
- Hug something, a teddy bear, a pet, a friend
- Participate in a ceremony- religious, a sweat lodge, a candlelight
dinner with family and friends. Create your own ritual.
- Watch the sunrise, the sun set.
- Get a massage
- Dance, dance, dance
- Scream in the car, in the shower, at home, at church, with friends.
Join a community chorus
- Join a support group
- Take slow deep breaths, count to ten, concentrate on your breathing,
the movement, the stress.
- Find a safe quiet place to think, remember, to process, to meditate to
be alone with your thought s and allow the healing to take place in the
Understandings of Grief
Grief is a normal and natural
response to loss. It is originally an unlearned feeling process. Keeping
grief inside increases your pain
Grief is a process, not a
Some phases of grief:
.Shock: Denial, disbelief,
avoidance, numbness, a closing off period
Just as the body
goes into shock after a physical trauma, so does the
human psyche go into
shock after the impact of a major loss
Suffering: Confrontation, the
"opening up" period
The period of time when your grief is experienced most
intensely, when you really to learn that your loved person is
gone, that your life is irrevocably changed
Renewal: New beginnings, re-establishment, catharsis and healing
gradual decline in your grief, a slow re-entry into the
You are changed by the loss, you will not forget it, but you are
beginning to be able to accommodate it and to begin your life as
it is, without the loved person.
Grief is perhaps an unknown
territory for you. You might feel both helpless and hopeless without a
sense of a map for the journey. Confusion is the hallmark of a transition.
To rebuild both your inner and outer world is a major project. Get help if
you need it. The process for each person is unique. Each person has an
individual time line. Allow yourself your uniqueness.
Distinguish between depression and sadness or sorrow. It is natural to
feel great sadness for your loss. It may come in waves or it might be
pervasive over a period of time.
You will probably have a hard time to focus or concentrate on things that
feel irrelevant or unimportant. You might feel lethargic, agitated,
perhaps in turns. It takes energy and attention to move through
mental/emotional process of grief and you will feel preoccupied with this
Anger is a natural response when something you value is taken away from
you .You may feel alone, isolated or not understood.
Resources For Your Body And
Be aware of your body's needs
for nutrition, exercise, and rest
Try to listen to your body's messages rather then imposing what you think
it should want to do
Listening to your body is
different from doing something for it
Fear or anxiety
might be expressed by shakiness, or queasy, upset
Guilt/regrets can feel like physical burdens
Anger or resentment, held inside, often manifests as
headaches, tight neck and shoulders, and a knotted stomach
Distinquish between depression
and sadness or sorrow. It is natural to feel great sadness for your loss.
It may come in waves or it might be pervasive over a period of time
Notice the difference between feelings and mental thoughts or ideas. Both
can betrue even though they may conflict ."I'kim glad he is no
longer suffering" is true, but may conflict with the feeling of being
abandoned and left to pick up the pieces of your shattered life.
The hurt never truly goes
away, it just gets smaller and condensed, tucked away in a corner
somewhere in the deep recess of your heart. There it remains at a constant
low ache, which with time often can be over ridden. But the intensity of
the grief and loss can surface again, just as painful, and often without
warning, making you feel that you were once experiencing the loss a
new. With time, as you begin to heal from the loss, it seems to lessen to
a level that you can function, and depending on the type of loss, reach a
point of reconciliation, put the loss aside and begin anew.
(I will interject here with my own opinion and observing many other
grieving parents.....that this last statement is NOT true....we just learn
to adjust and live with the pain.)
This was an
article written by Dr. Anne
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