Updated: Aug 18, 2020
Is grief taking over? Am I losing myself instead of simply mourning?
We need a healthy balance of mourning and distractions from grief to maintain our sanity! I think we all have an aspect of our physical bodies that give us trouble. For me, it is my skin. Freckles and moles can be found everywhere on my body. When I moved to a new state, I put off finding a dermatologist. Two years went by and I finally decided to make an appointment. I then spent the next year of my life at the dermatologist weekly dealing with moles that had started to show signs of precancerous cells. Now three years later I finally have my skin back "under control." I have gone from weekly visits with critical removals to visiting every 6 months for skin maintenance. So too with grief! We need to get to a point where we only do grief checkups.
Recent studies show that avoidance improves adaptation to loss. Being able to avoid loss helps us to regulate the amount of stress that strong emotions cause. In this way we prepare our bodies through finding restful avoidance in our current lives, so we can better handle the stress grief brings in small doses. Gradual exposure to grief allows our minds time to process loss.
Here are 3 options you can consider that support you in distracting yourself from grief.
1. Keep a gratitude journal. Did you know gratitude truly is contagious! The more you focus on things you are thankful for the more thankfulness will become a part of you.
I am thankful for food to eat.
I am thankful for a place to live in.
I am thankful for the sunshine.
2. Use your 5 senses. When we taste, touch, see, smell, and hear our environment we are transported out of our current situation.
Drink a cup of coffee or soothing tea and focus on its smell and taste.
Take a soothing bath and focus on the way the water feels and the sound of the water flow.
Take a walk and notice the beauty all around you. Stop and smell the flowers. Listen for cars, birds, and people talking. Watch airplanes and birds fly with ease.
3. Reconnect with someone uplifting. The listening ear of a friend is the greatest gift given.
Call someone uplifting. Ask them what is happening in their life. Truly listen to another’s story.
Sometimes during grief, people feel hard to connect to. My grandma called the cast of her favorite show "Friends" her buddies. When the show ended, she waved goodbye with love for them. Do you have a show that makes you laugh, where the cast feels like friends? Watch an episode. Laugh with their jokes, take in their stories.
Read a book with uplifting characters. Think through what is happening in the story. How would you fit into that story if you were there?
We need a healthy balance of mourning and distractions from grief to maintain our sanity!
What distraction will you use to keep your sanity intact?
What specific time will you allow mourning into your day?
For more ideas on how to navigate your loss check out my book: