Grief and Renewal - Finding a Way to
By Ben Nystrom
Grief and bereavement are horrible but natural parts of
life. It's inevitable that someone you know and love
will die someday, and grief is a normal part of
recovering from such a loss. Grief isn't easy; it is
painful, debilitating, and can leave you feeling empty
and alone. The best thing you can do is find
constructive, positive ways to deal with your grief
before it cripples you or causes long-term harm to your
mental and physical health.
Grief is a term used to describe any number of negative
psychological states that occur after the death of a
friend or family member. Depression, sorrow, apathy and
lethargy are very common consequences of grief.
Recognizing your grief is the first step in coping with
it and moving on. Ignoring grief is a dangerous and
temporary fix, and can do major harm in the long run.
Grief is separated into five common "stages of grief";
denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
Developed in 1969 by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross,
the five stages of grief act as your guide to grief,
cluing you in as to what emotions you should expect
after the death of a loved one. They by no means apply
to everyone -- grief affects different people in
different ways -- but knowing what emotions are common
amongst the bereaved will help you through your grieving
There are a number of ways to cope with grief in a
healthy, positive way. Some people seek out spiritual
guidance from pastor, rabbi, or other religious leader.
Some people prefer the more structured support of a
psychologist or support group. Others might briefly seek
out isolation as a time to reflect on the memory of
their loved one. Whatever path you choose in dealing
with your grief, remember; as long as you are not doing
yourself or anyone else harm, there is no wrong method.
Pick what works best for you and surround yourself with
people that support your grieving process.
One of the most popular forms of coping with grief is to
find a support group or enter counseling. Surrounding
yourself with supportive people, especially ones that
have been through or are currently going through the
same thing you are going through will help lift your
spirits when you're feeling low and sustain them when
you're feeling good. Support can come in many forms;
religious congregations, family members, friends,
discussion groups, or counseling. It can be as simple as
having someone to take a walk with or a friendly chat
with a coworker. Whatever form your support system
takes, make sure it is consistent and positive.
Another great way to cope with grief is to stay busy.
Find a creative outlet and let yourself get lost in it.
Arts and crafts, home improvement projects, and keeping
a journal are all great ways to keep your mind focused
and yourself productive. You can even combine your
creativity with the memory of your loved one by starting
a memorial journal or scrapbook. These are great ways to
honor the deceased and deal with grief.
Make sure you exercise and maintain a healthy diet
during your grieving process. Many people fall into
unhealthy patterns that keep them from progressing past
their grief and ultimately cause them long-term health
Grief is difficult, yes, but it is not impossible to
deal with. By surrounding yourself with a positive
support system, making healthy lifestyle choices, and
keeping busy, you will find that your grief will soon
fade and you'll be left with the wonderful memory of a
life you are glad you were a part of.