Studies show that those who openly grieve heal much faster than those who repress or avoid their feelings. Running away from grief postpones sorrow; clinging to grief prolongs pain. Neither leads to healing. The grieving process is nature's way of helping us heal. If you've had a recent loss, keep the following in mind:
- Talk about your sorrow. Seek comfort from those who will listen and accept your feelings.
- Forgive yourself. Work through any guilt or "should haves" by acknowledging them and expressing your feelings.
- Take care of yourself. Exercise, maintain a balanced diet, get plenty of rest and make time for relaxing activities that clear your mind.
- Start something new in your life. When you're ready, find interesting things to do, like taking a class, volunteering, joining a book club, traveling or adopting a pet.
- Get help. If you are in great distress or feel very depressed, talk to your family doctor, who may want to refer you to a counselor.
If you know someone who is grieving, these suggestions may help:
- Reach out and listen. Ask about the deceased and allow the person to talk freely.
- Offer to help. Offer to do simple tasks at home or work.
- Include the grieving person in your social life. Grieving people don't necessarily want to be alone, but they may need encouragement to rejoin social situations.
- Pay attention to these signs. Signs of weight loss or gain, substance abuse, depression, prolonged sleep disorders, physical problems and talk about suicide require immediate attention. Suggest the grieving person talk to his or her doctor or a counselor.