How to Grieve: 10 Steps to Healing, Peace and Joy
Grief. It’s an individual and private thing. I’ve learned that when grieving for the loss of a person, everyone will act and react differently. When my parents died, my sister and I grieved differently. Even though we are sisters, our relationship with our parents was very different. Even though my parents were involved in my kids’ lives, their relationship with their grandparents were all unique. As such, so was their grief.
Although grief is individual, it’s not always easy and there are some things you can do to help heal and feel greater peace and joy. Here are my 10 steps to healing, peace and joy:
- Remember that every person feels differently. Don’t be worried if you find you are having a harder time healing than another, even over the same loss. This usually shows how close you and the loved one really were and what kind of relationship you had. Some people will not cry, while it may take others weeks or months to stop crying. There is no right or wrong way to grieve.
2. Be gentle with yourself. Stop the coulda, shoulda, woulda. Don’t let the “if-only” feelings take over. “If only I’d been nicer.” “If only I’d made time to visit more often.” “If only I’d tried to do more.” You did the best you could at the time. Period. Don’t blame yourself.
- If you need to cry, cry. Let your emotions out. Feelings buried alive never, never, ever die. The more you can allow your feelings to rise to the surface and move through them, the closer you are to healing and peace. Remember that if you allow others to live in your head rent-free, you can’t BE free.
- Play with your pets or take time to pet them. Pets can tell when you’re sad, and research has shown that petting your cat, dog, etc.. helps stress levels for both you and your pet.
- Remember, you will heal in your own way on your own time. It isn’t a contest. Have the patience of Job.
- Music is a universal language and can be a very soothing way to cope when you’re feeling loss and pain. You can certainly listen to sad songs as a way to remember the person or relationship and FEEL. However, I recommend shifting to more positive songs to help you shift your energy.
- Journal or write. If you find yourself stuck after the loss of a loved one, consider writing them a letter. Include all your feelings towards their death – anger, sorrow, grief, regret. Writing down your feelings can be therapeutic. You may even want to burn the letter once you’ve written it as a ritual, per se. If you do this, imagine the smoke burning up all the negative, sad emotions and replacing them with peace, healing and joy.
- If you didn’t have an opportunity to share your feelings before your loved one died, know that you can still say what’s on your mind. Imagine saying “I love you” or “goodbye” and know that they can and do hear you. Forgive yourself for anything you think you did ‘wrong’.
- Do things you enjoy. Be sure to take time just for you. Watch a funny movie or do something that makes you smile.
- Love yourself. The more you love yourself and the more you are gentle with yourself, the more you create space for healing, love and light.
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