When you lose someone you truly care about, it can be difficult to manage the range of negative emotions you go through. Mourners may experience hopelessness, anger, guilt, loneliness, shock, denial, regret, and more. It can truly be a whirlwind, but you must find a way to manage this chaos before it manages you.
First, it’s crucial not to bottle things up. Sometimes it can be tempting to withdraw and remain a stoic exterior. In Western culture, resilience and independence are glorified through characters we see in movies and on television.
But not allowing your emotions some type of release can actually lead to more extremes and perhaps even cause mental health problems. Self-expression is a way to release some of that tension and work through those emotions to keep them from building up.
Expressing Yourself in Productive Manner
- Share Memories –
One of the healthiest ways to manage loss is to be around other people who knew the deceased and just spend time together. You can trade personal stories about your mutual friend or even reminisce about the shared times. This interaction not only produces an opportunity for you to express your emotions, often without verbalizing them directly, but strengthens your support network.
- Write it Out –
Maybe you aren’t a very verbal person, but words can still have a lot of power. Try writing in a journal about how you feel or describing memories that play through your mind. A poem can be a great way to express yourself as well.
- Don’t Give In to Anger –
Grief often manifests in bitterness towards God or to person who left the world early. These are difficult emotions to wrestle with, and it takes time, but the important thing is not to give in to them completely. Anger at God or the world for its injustice can often lead to hopelessness and despair in your life and drag you into self-destruction. Accept that there are no answers to the more difficult questions and do what you can to live with the uncertainty.
- Get Physical –
Get your mind off things for a while and move. It has the double benefit of keeping you healthy in your darker times. Some great healthy activities include swimming laps, jogging, dancing, lifting weights, or hiking. Social games are also good because they require engagement. If you enjoy sports like basketball or soccer, consider setting up a game with some of your friends.
- Talk With a Counselor –
Grief counseling allows you to put your thoughts out there without judgment and get some advice from an experienced, neutral party. If you’re struggling to manage your emotions and nothing else seems to be working, see what is available in your area.
- Create Something Meaningful –
How about expressing your feelings through art? Put gather a project that helps memorialize your loved one. Photo albums, collages, and slide shows are nice ways to do this and can be shared with others. For some, organizing a special memorial service helps. Others plant trees, build websites, or begin charities on their friend’s behalf.
Does Your Expression of Grief Promote Healing?
To be perfectly honest with yourself about how you are coping with this loss, ask yourself whether your actions promote healing or stagnation and downward spirals.
For instance, we may lash out. Some people may feel a desire to get violent to release anger, especially if under the influence of alcohol. But those things can put us at risk or stress our relationships with other people we care about.
Pretending you don’t feel anything, on the other hand, doesn’t give you a chance let your emotions breathe. Ignoring loved ones may be an attempt to avoid facing how this event changes your relationship and hold you back from the support you need.
Try to recognize these destructive patterns as they start and then purposely divert your energy into some of the tips above. This is how you get on a path that moves forward.
Mark Harris is a successful freelance blogger and internet marketer who spends a lot of time tapping out articles in the warmth of his favorite downtown coffee shop. He lives for kayaking, hiking, and spending time with his wife on Canada’s beaches. Regarding life challenges and the difficult emotions that come with them, Harris refers readers to www.mbfunerals.com/Vancouver.