Grieving is hard. We often try to hide or run away from feelings of pain or anger or confusion. However, grief, especially from a loss of someone you love, is hard to avoid.
It’s important to let yourself grieve in a healthy way so you don’t end up doing something destructive to yourself or others down the road. Here are some tips for dealing with grief and loss in a healthy way.
Don’t hide from your feelings
Acknowledge your feelings. It’s OK to feel sad, angry, hurt or afraid. Often, especially for men in our society, we are taught to be tough and raise our chins when we’re hurt. However, avoiding your feelings leads to mental health issues and unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Don’t deal with grief alone
You never have to go through grief alone. Even if you have no family or friends to turn to, you can always find a church or a nonprofit grief organization that can help you through the grieving process.
Don’t rush yourself
Grief takes time, and there is no set amount of time that is right for it. Don’t give yourself a window where you’re allowed to grieve and then expect to be suddenly fine after. We all have to move on eventually, but you need to give yourself the time you need.
Be active in your grieving process
Grief doesn’t just disappear one day after a period of time. Healing from grief requires active participation on your part. In her book “This Is How We Grow,” clinical psychologist Christina G. Hibbert, PsyD, explains active grieving through the acronym TEARS:
- T — Talking: As we mentioned, don’t bury your feelings. Express yourself and talk to others.
- E — Exercise: Physical activity helps reduce stress and improve your mental health by releasing certain chemicals in your brain.
- A – Art: Artistic expression helps you work through feelings you find it hard to put words to.
- R — Recording emotions: Keep track of how you feel. Write in a journal every morning or evening, and look back on it every now and then to see how you’re doing.
- S — Sobbing: It’s OK to cry. Don’t listen to someone who tells you that you shouldn’t cry. Crying is a physical expression of grief that can help you let go and move on.
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