Thoughts on Coping with Grief

1. Permit yourself to experience your feelings. Do your best to recognize and accept them as a normal part of your healing from a life changing loss.

2. Expect to have a variety of different feelings as you grieve, sadness is not the only emotion associated with grief.

3. Tears are not a sign of weakness and are nothing you should be ashamed of. Tears are often unpredictable and are a normal part of the feeling and healing process of loss.

4. Alcohol and sedative medicines can often cause difficulties with grieving and increase the possibility of developing a longer and more complicated course of grief.

5. Take good care of yourself. Eat, sleep, socialize and exercise as you need to in order to maintain your physical and emotional health. Neglecting yourself honors and benefits no one.

6. Don’t purposely avoid the remaining pleasures, joys and beloved people and pets in your life. You are still alive and need the joy and company they can provide.

7. Get back into your usual schedule of responsibilities and interactions as soon as is practical. The structure of your responsibilities and schedule reinforce your purpose and value in the ongoing world.

8. Express your thoughts and feelings about your loss to a trusted friend or professional. Bottled or hidden emotions may get overblown in your mind and become frightening. Sharing your feelings can allow you to see how normal you and your feelings really are.

9. Avoid making major decisions until you feel your grief has largely healed. Many people are tempted to make big decisions about jobs, housing, relationships, geographic relocation, etc. to try to make their pain less or to try to distract themselves from their sorrow. Major decisions made in haste may be regretted for years to come.

10. Expect to re-experience powerful memories and feelings as you go through the important holidays and anniversaries during the first year after your loss. Each one will be a new reminder of how different your life is now.

11. If you are not healing from your grief or you believe you are trapped in depression or suicidal thoughts you should ask for help from your doctor, clergy or loved ones.

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