“Make your own recovery the first priority in your life.” – Robin Norwood
Grief is heavy. Every one of us – no matter where we are in life – will at some point come face to face with the seriousness of grief. Unattended grief can manifest as physical sickness, depression, and anger and can affect us in a wide variety of other ways, so it is important to give grief the support and attention it needs.
There are many healthy techniques for dealing with grief – such as talking to friends, joining a support group, prayer and worship, meditation, even exercising and other self-care activities.
You may find that one or more of these work better for you than others. The most important thing is to find what helps you process your grief in a healthy way and stick with it.
How to find a local support group near Fayette County:
Support groups here in Fayetteville can help you find other people going through similar situations, and help you feel like you are not alone. These groups usually meet weekly or monthly and can be a great place to talk through your feelings with others who understand what you are going through.
Churches, funeral homes, and even some local independent living communities offer local grief support groups, as well as some independent organizations, like GriefShare.org.
Here are the first few places you should look for grief support…
- Google “grief support group in Fayette County”
- Call local churches, funeral homes or retirement communities
- Use Griefshare.org or Grief.com directories
Remember to lean on friends and family when you need help, whether it is finding a group, or asking someone to go with you to the group meetings. Having someone to lean on can make the healing process a little bit easier.
Meditation is a way to clear your mind and relax. and can be another good way to deal with the heavy feelings of grief. Some people think meditation is a practice of eastern religions, but in fact, it really just means finding peace in your mind by staying quiet and closing your eyes. A lot of people meditate to music or guided imagery, or even just use the time to pray.
Here are a few ways you can use meditation to help heal your heart after a loss…
Relaxation Meditation: Sometimes when we feel overwhelmed, our bodies and minds go into fight or flight mode – causing us stress, anxiety, depression, and other physical and emotional problems. Relaxation meditation can help us to calm down, de-stress, and focus on the present. This type of meditation is usually done by sitting or lying in a comfortable position and focusing on your breath. You may also want to focus on a mantra (a word or short phrase that you repeat to yourself) or a visualization.
Mindfulness Meditation: Mindfulness meditation is a form of mindfulness, which is the practice of being aware and present in the moment. This type of meditation usually involves sitting with your eyes closed and focusing on your breath, but you can also do it while walking or doing other activities. During this time, you focus on what you are doing and notice the sensations, thoughts, and emotions that come up for you.
Guided Meditation: Guided meditation is usually done with a teacher or guide who leads you through a visualization exercise, either verbally or by playing music. For example… A guided relaxation might involve breathing deeply to relax your body and mind while listening to soothing music; a guided visualization might involve imagining yourself in a peaceful place, like sitting on the beach or walking through your favorite forest.
Prayer and Worship: Prayer and worship can be another form of meditation. This type of mediation usually involves connecting with a higher power or spiritual force and may involve prayer, singing, reading scriptures or other religious texts, or just sitting in silence.
Meditation Tools & Resources
If you are interested in trying meditation, there are a lot of great resources out there to help you get started.
Headspace: This is an app that offers guided meditations, mindfulness exercises, and tips for living a healthier life.
Calm.com: This website has a library of free guided meditations, as well as a section on mindfulness for kids.
The Mindfulness Project: This website offers a variety of guided meditations, as well as information on the history and benefits of mindfulness.
Creative Therapy for Grief
Many people don’t realize it – but creativity is one of the most influential ways to deal with your inner emotions.
Creative activities like journaling, coloring and painting, poetry, and even singing or dancing can be extremely healing during the toughest times.
Since the beginning of recorded history people have turned to song, dance, painting, and many other mediums as a means to heal.
Now, science has given us more definitive reasons why art therapy is so beneficial. Studies from the National Institute of Health show that listening to music, painting and drawing are powerful enough to reduce anxiety as well as process feelings that cannot be put into words. Other benefits of all types of art therapy include:
- Stress relief
- Providing an emotional outlet
- Offering a sense of accomplishment for a self-esteem boost
- Opening up opportunities for self-discovery
Focusing on creative therapy doesn’t mean pretending to be healed, or that you will suddenly be done grieving. Healing is a journey that takes time – and sometimes the best thing you can do is to anchor yourself on one page at a time.
In Frozen 2, Elsa’s younger sister Anna has to face the darkest moment in their journey to save Arendelle. Left alone in a dark cave that seems completely hopeless, Anna believes that her sister and their magical snowman, Olaf, are gone forever. In her darkest moment, she sings ‘The Next Right Thing’… here is an excerpt:
This grief has a gravity, it pulls me down
But a tiny voice whispers in my mind
You are lost, hope is gone
But you must go on
And do the next right thing
By focusing on what’s right in front of you, on your next move, you will be able to move through your grief. With art, all you can do is focus on one piece at a time – there’s no way to see the finished product – just like each day.
Other ways to handle mental stress
“Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.” – Pablo Picasso
Don’t Think, Color
Regardless of artistic skill, anybody can enjoy the benefits of art therapy. In some ways, coloring a page in a book can be more relaxing than looking at a blank canvas. By eliminating some of the decisions, you can focus on the calming action of coloring one piece at a time. It can also be helpful to keep a blank page nearby to write down thoughts or feelings as they surface.
How to start with creative therapy:
- Grab an adult coloring book at a local store or online
- Treat yourself to some new art supplies like blank canvases, paint or good quality pencils
- Write your own poetry by using prompts at Poetrygames.org
Getting probate help should be easy
Going through probate here in Fayette County can be tough, and you shouldn’t have to do it alone. There are resources available to help you make purposeful decisions and keep you and your family from being taken advantage of in your unique situation. Click here to schedule a worry-free conversation and get all of your questions answered.