6 Comforting and Productive Ways to Help You Grieve Well
It’s unfortunate, but everyone loses someone they care about. Sometimes death comes suddenly, in the form of an accident or injury. The loss of a loved one can be difficult for those left behind. However, you can grieve well in healthy, productive ways. And from there, you can move forward with your life.
Grieve Well #1: Don’t Hold in Your Emotions
Perhaps the most unproductive way to address grieving is to hold in your emotions. This can actually be understandable. You want to be strong and supportive to others, such as children or your partner. The problem is that those emotions are hard to keep down, and can come back when you least expect it in ways that could be damaging. You feel alone and isolated. Also, the effort to keep those emotions in check could lead to substance abuse, which also has serious consequences. Whatever you do, don’t wall-off your emotions.
Grieve Well #2: Grieve with Others
To follow up with tip #1, reach out to others when grieving. Grieving together helps create understanding and is a way to express what you’re feeling to others. Most likely the person you’re grieving knew other people: friends, family, colleagues. They are probably feeling the same things you are experiencing, and also the temptation to keep those feelings to themselves. There is comfort in knowing that you’re not alone and there are others who understand what you’re feeling as well. Reach out!
Grieving Well #3: Recognize the Stages of Grief
According to Psychcentral.com there are five stages of grief. They are:
Isolation and Denial: The disbelief that this is happening.
- Anger: Wanting to blame something or someone for this loss.
- Bargaining: Looking back and thinking, if things had been different, this wouldn’t have happened.
- Depression: Experiencing sadness, worry, and having to let go.
- Acceptance: Finding acceptance, which is something not everyone reaches.
You can’t avoid the fact you’ve experienced a loss. Yet knowing that there is a clearly identified process can help you get through this tough time and grieve well.
Grieving Well #4: Using Ceremony to Grieve Well
Ceremony and ritual are important parts of humanity. In all cultures, ceremonies are used to mark important occasions in life, including death. Western society often frames this in the context of faith, such as a funeral or wake. These can serve to provide comfort for those who are grieving. If you aren’t particularly religious or need something more, why not create your own ceremony? Some ideas include:
- Visiting a favorite place of the deceased that they enjoyed.
- Reciting a poem, story, or their own written work.
- Giving back in their name: volunteering, planting trees, maintaining a garden.
- Wearing a pendant, jewelry, or token that serves as a reminder.
- Donating money in their memory to a charity they supported.
Grieving Well #5: Be Creative
Along with making a ceremony harness your creativity to grieve well, express your emotions, and remember those whom you have lost. For instance:
- Creating a painting or drawing.
- Making a sculpture or carving.
- Writing a poem or story.
- Creating a collage of pictures and art.
Just as with ceremony, people have used their creativity for thousands of years to express their emotions of grief and loss.
Grieving Well #6: Seek Out Professional Help
It’s normal to have a certain amount of time in which you are sad and grieving. However, if these feelings persist for a long period of time, or you have thoughts of wanting to hurt yourself or end your own life, seek out professional help. Depression is a serious, clinical issue and a therapist trained in depression counseling can help.
It’s ok to feel grief when you have a loss. You can remember your loved one and grieve well for them in ways that honor their memory and allow you to validate your emotions too.