Coping With Grief and Loss

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Studies show that grief and loss are common causes of certain illnesses. Aside from suicidal tendencies, staying immersed in a state of grief can increase the risk of heart disease and a slew of other psychosomatic and psychiatric disorders.

Unfortunately, there are some components of grief that almost everyone who experiences loss will have to go through. However, no one has to stay locked in that grief. There is help for coping and moving on to have a normal and productive life sooner than you might realize. Here are a few tips to help you get through it.

Don’t deal with the funeral preparations alone.

Find a funeral home or cremation company that will handle all your preparations professionally and quickly. They should offer a memorial service, death certificates, containers or caskets, and advice about burial. While taking care of the details, make sure you have someone with you who will support you and be able to talk for you if you get overwhelmed. These details are important, but grieving family members can often feel guilted into spending more money than necessary on funerals. So, make sure you’ve got a good support system in place who is clear about what you and your loved one wanted.

Allow yourself to grieve.

Experts say there are five stages of grief and it’s important to allow yourself to go through them. Pushing it aside can actually prolong the process and delay your healing. The first stage, denial and isolation, is usually fairly short-lived. It’s where you’ll tell yourself this can’t be happening. It’s a normal reaction that “buffers the immediate shock of the loss, numbing us to our emotions.”

Everyone is different and moves through the stages at a different pace. While this is perfectly natural, moving on to the final stage of acceptance is the ultimate goal. If this stage seems to never come for you after many months of grieving, it might be a good idea to seek outside help.

Take care of your mental health.

Getting help with your grief is one of the wisest things you can do in a time of loss. This applies to people who have lost loved ones through death, divorce, or abandonment. While it may be tempting to wallow in your grief alone indefinitely, getting stuck in that state of mind can be damaging. Not to mention the effect we might have on the people around us, like our kids, spouses, and friends.

There are many types of therapy available, including psychotherapy and group therapy that can really make a difference during your difficult time. A good therapist can give you the tools to cope with your grief in the healthiest way. They can help you transition back to your normal life at a pace that is best for you.

Take care of your physical health.

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It’s easy to tune out the world and isolate yourself after a loss, and a little of that is a natural part of the process. However, neglecting your health for too long can make you feel worse, prolong the process, and take away your will to live. This is especially true for people who had an active and healthy lifestyle before.

Experts agree that exercise has profound effects on mental health as well as physical health. For one thing, your body releases endorphins that make it easier to deal with stress and negative emotions. It also can increase your self-esteem, giving you more confidence in yourself and the situations you face. It’s important to note that grief is a different situation than depression, which is caused by mental illness, so exercise alone will not be an instant cure. But it can help you keep your mind and body healthy while you gradually mend your painful emotions.

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