Who Hasn't Been Grieving Recently? Five Tips for Managing Loss

Disclaimer: If you are feeling unusual amounts of pain and loss, enough so that you might do something rash or harm yourself, call 911 or go immediately to your nearest ER for treatment.

The last several years have resulted in most of us experiencing loss -- loss of loved ones, loss of independence, loss of gatherings, loss of jobs, loss of health, loss of friendships and connections... loss of a future we once expected.

We are all grieving, suffering, struggling. Grief is a universal experience. We are all fighting a collective funk. Grief often triggers emotional, cognitive, physical, and behavioral reactions and outbursts. We may experience anger, fear, sadness, guilt, numbness, confusion, crying spells, loss of energy, physical pain, and trouble sleeping.

Most of us know the five stages of grief -- denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance -- but how many of us know how to cope and manage with the loss we experienced?

Here are Five Tips for Helping us Deal with our Loss

1. Permit Yourself to Grieve. Your feelings of loss are real, so allow yourself to truly grieve, spending time remembering what things were like before the loss. Don't let society/culture (or well-meaning friends) dictate what your grief should look like or how long it lasts. Moving on too quickly can result in the grief coming back and affecting you even stronger in unexpected -- and often unpleasant -- ways.

2. Focus on the Positive (people, hobbies, adventure). Positive/healthy distractions and self-care are vital when grieving because you don't want to fall into that black hole of despair. Focus on partaking in things that bring you pleasure and joy -- such as going for a hike or a bike ride, sitting on a bench in the park, visiting with friends and loved ones, drawing/painting/sculpting, enjoying a hobby (or finding a new one), taking day trips or other adventures. We need positive elements and things to look forward to when we are suffering from loss.

3. Talk it Out. For many people, venting and talking -- even just to friends and loved ones -- is one of the best ways to relieve pain from a loss. Of course, if you feel the need to talk with someone with more experience, seek out a qualified grief counselor. But also know that you do not have to talk it out; talking is simply a way to release those feelings. However, you can release them in other ways mentioned here.

4. Work it Out. Nothing beats physical exertion for increasing endorphins to your brain and achieving a sense of well-being. Go to the gym, or go out for a hike or a run, or a bike ride. Push yourself a little harder, a little longer -- with your doctor's approval, of course. If you don't typically work out, don't jump into something strenuous.

5. Turn to Spiritually/God. Sometimes with loss, there seem to be no answers -- at least here on Earth. When you start feeling this way, turn your heart toward your God. Many people find relief in knowing there is some greater power that has a plan for dealing with your loss. Many can find great comfort in prayer and meditation.

Final Thoughts on Loss and Grieving

Remember it's always okay to seek help from a professional. Sometimes these simple coping mechanisms are not enough for the weight of the grief and loss we feel.

Remember too, when possible, to refrain from drinking (or drugging) too much while you are grieving -- and also avoid making any major life decisions until you have had enough time to process and reflect on the grief/loss -- and your future.

Finally, do not rush to push away your grief and grieving. Instead, acknowledge your grief without judgment. It takes time -- as the saying goes, time heals all wounds... but while one person may only take a few months to grieve, others still are grieving years later. The key is taking steps (regardless of how small) to recovery and feeling better.

Dr. Randall Hansen is an advocate, educator, mentor, ethicist, and thought-leader... helping the world heal from past trauma. He is founder and CEO of EmpoweringSites.com, a network of empowering and transformative Websites, including EmpoweringAdvice.com.

He is the author of the groundbreaking Triumph Over Trauma: Psychedelic Medicines are Helping People Heal Their Trauma, Change Their Lives, and Grow Their Spirituality and the well-received HEAL! Wholeistic Practices to Help Clear Your Trauma, Heal Yourself, and Live Your Best Life.

Dr. Hansen's focus and advocacy center around true healing ... healing that results in being able to live an authentic life filled with peace, joy, love. Learn more by visiting his personal Website, RandallSHansen.com. You can also check out Dr. Randall Hansen on LinkedIn.