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As human beings, our systems are hardwired for connection, but loving others can sometimes come with loss. Whether you’re experiencing a breakup, a divorce, or the death of a loved one (even a pet), saying goodbye to those we care about can be a traumatic experience.
Without tools to navigate uncomfortable changes, heartache, in all its layered forms, can stop us from healing and finding hope again. The feelings of grief and loss that come with breakups, deaths, and huge life transitions can leave us feeling exposed, vulnerable, hopeless, and ultimately heartbroken.
While it may not always be easy, there is light on the other side of heartache. With a toolbox of healthy coping mechanisms, you can move forward with more ease.
Through any type of loss, finding balance and normalcy can feel far-fetched. When something shifts in your life, especially when the rest of life feels out of your control, your inner world is something you have full autonomy over. One of the best ways to move forward is to take your attention off the outside world and tend to your inner world: your emotions, feelings, desires, and needs.
These tools and self-care rituals will help you cope with grief.
I often tell my life-coaching clients that after a loss, you should take as much time as you need just for you. I call it “Me Matters” time, where you focus on your own physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs. Figure out who you want to be in the next phase of your life and what the universe is asking you to let go of. In times of loss, we are releasing not only people and a life we used to live, but also our own sense of self as it relates to the one we have lost. Take time to be with yourself and nurture your own needs.
It’s important to be kind to yourself as you go through tough times. There is no expiration date on when you feel healed. In fact, losing someone is often so hard because we loved them so deeply. And the truth is, no matter how difficult the relationship or the ending may be, love stays with us forever. Love is never wrong, for you gave yourself permission to open up and expand into another connection. The depth of your pain is a testament to how much you loved and gave of yourself. Let yourself heal as time unfolds, but realize there is no need to rush, bypass, or jump over the loss and all the emotions that come with that.
Taking time to connect to our inner world each day and writing out how we feel can do wonders in all stages of the healing journey. You can share how you feel in a journal entry or do a free-writing session. Give yourself permission to write for 5–10 minutes (or longer if you feel empowered by the process) and let your mind flow into a stream of consciousness. There is no need to pause, look at spelling or grammar, or even consciously focus on what you are writing. This is a mindfulness activity to help you connect more deeply with the subconscious layers of your heart.
If you’re really struggling, consider going to therapy or working with a life coach who specializes in grief or trauma. Sometimes these things are too much to deal with without the guidance and support of a professional. As a life coach, I always appreciate when clients tell me they are also in therapy because working through our grief and processing difficult emotions is an ongoing process that requires gentle support and compassionate care from a community of helpers. Building up a care team to be in your corner to assist you during this transition can help a lot. If it feels like it’s too hard to manage on your own, seeing a coach or therapist or attending a support group could definitely be helpful.
The feelings of confusion, overwhelm, sadness, or even dread can take us down daily, but grief in itself can be a sacred human experience, especially when you find a community of people who can also support you.
Our ancestors accepted grief as a normal part of life. They knew that unprocessed grief hurts the mind, the body, and the soul. When a loss happened to one member of the tribe, the entire tribe processed and grieved—together. When grief is fully processed and integrated, it transforms into life force to help revitalize and rejuvenate our connection to ourselves, one another, and our communities. Consider joining a support group in-person or online; getting involved in the community and surrounding yourself with like-minded people can help the healing process.
Research has shown that positive affirmations help people cope with difficult emotions, including suicidal thoughts. Affirmations involve repeating a self-selected phrase or series of phrases to help retrain the brain and body to focus on feeling better.
Affirmations work primarily at the conscious level, whereas many of our conflicts about our sense of self in the world following the loss of a loved one are within our subconscious or unconscious mind. This is why it is important to pair affirmations with reflective action.
I am doing the best I can, and for today it is enough.
I am hurting, and it is okay.
I breathe in peace and acceptance.
I am willing to focus on healing and forgiving myself.
I am stronger than I give myself credit for.
I am healing and allowing things to be as they are instead of what I think they should be.
I surrender to what is and let go of what was.
What is meant for me will find me, always.
Love stays in my heart forever.
I am wiser for what I have been through.
I am not helpless; I choose to heal.
I allow myself to feel what needs to be expressed.
I trust the unknown; God has got this.
One small step at a time, my peace will be restored.
I embrace all layers of the human experience; the depths of my emotions show that I care.
I am thankful for what I had and for what I still have.
My pain will turn into gain.
I accept the things I cannot change.
I am not alone; I am surrounded by love.
All I need is right here within me.
While it’s not easy to take time out or create space to focus on grief, recognize that it is a process and it calls for ritual and healing ceremony. When we honor the space between our before and after and witness our grief, we become stronger and, soon, more hopeful and healthy.
These mantras are inspired by and excerpted from Shannon Kaiser’s book Find Your Happy Daily Mantras.
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