Mourning is universal and is experienced at some time or another by people from all walks of life, all over the world. Grief is usually facilitated by the loss which channelizes mourning. Mourning is a response to one’s own terminal illness or the loss of a loved one, be it an animal or a human. But it is important to start moving on at some point. You need to know some common steps to know how to overcome grief.
The Process of Grief
Everyone deals with loss in their own way. This could be based upon the kind of loss, your relationship with the person or your own personal experience. But there are some common stages of grief that everyone goes through. Coming to terms with loss, is a process that usually comprises of five stages –
People who are grieving do not necessarily experience all of the above emotions and not in the same order either. Every person has their own way of dealing with each stage. Some may skip one or more of these emotions; some may stay in one stage for longer and rush through the other stages quickly. After all, grief is personal and different people react to it differently.
But while going through these common stages people have had common issues. These issues could be dealt with better if you keep a few things in mind. Make your way through grief a little less painful by dealing with the steps in some common ways.
How to overcome grief
Step 1: Switching out of the denial mode by accepting the current reality.
Denial is usually your first reaction when you receive bad news. It renders you emotionally distraught and the first reaction is to deny that the incident even occurred. ‘This can’t be happening to me’ is the first thought. This is a reaction to an overwhelming emotion. The emotion of denial is a common reaction and it buffers the shock of the loss.
How to move on from denial
Talk to close family or friends or a grief counsellor. Talking about it would ensure that you are recognizing the event. When you talk about it enough you would eventually start accepting it. Small mundane acts such as packing the loved one’s clothes and belongings can help handle the denial.
Step 2: Power through the anger phase
As the effect of denial wears off, anger takes over. This anger is often directed at the deceased for having left the world. You might think that they have left you alone even though you know very well that it is not the person’s fault. The anger is also sometimes directed at the Almighty for being unfair and unkind. Sometimes the anger is also directed at inanimate objects, friends and family because of the realisation of lack of control on the mechanisms of the universe. This anger is important to propel transformation.
How to power through anger
Communicate with loved ones. Exert the extra energy by sweating it out with exercise. Meditation can also help you regain control over some parts of your life. These physical activities will also help reduce anxiety and prevent from acting out. Get creative and express yourself through art to feel the release of anger.
Step 3: Stop bargaining
Reactions to feelings of helplessness are often accompanied by statements like ‘if only we had sought medical help sooner’ or ‘if only we had tried to be a better person’. We may also try and bargain with God in an attempt to postpone the pain of bereavement.
Bargaining stops when
You stop feeling guilty and remember you have done all you could have which was under your control. Take small steps to learn how to overcome grief. Regain control of your emotions and confidence in yourself. Pick up a hobby and get creative. Distraction would help you a big deal with managing the bargain.
Step 4: Deal with the depression
This is a very important step in how to overcome grief? There are two types of depression associated with grief. One is extreme sadness where your brain has thoughts like did we do our duty well, were the last rites performed properly, did we spend less time with the deceased during their last hours? These kinds of questions give rise to extreme emotions of sadness and regret. This may be eased by simple reassurance and a few kind words. The second type of depression is more private. It is a quiet understanding and an internal dialogue wherein you try to bid your loved one goodbye forever.
Dealing with depression
It is known that you can try to alleviate depression by exercises. These could be simple physical activities like walking regularly or regular practices like yoga, and Pilates. You can boost your mood with meditation. Also, speak to your loved ones and express your feelings. And remember this feeling, like all others, too will pass.
Step 5: Be graceful in acceptance
Death may be sudden and unpredictable and you may never look beyond denial and anger. But it is important to eventually accept the inevitable and make peace with it. This phase is marked by being calm, withdrawn and undemonstrative. This is not depression. This is just coming to terms with a loss that we were unable to accept earlier.
Coping with loss is a very personal experience. You have to internalize how to overcome grief and go through it to reach the stage of acceptance and make your peace with your loss. But if you keep the above-mentioned points in your mind, you will be able to cope better. Don’t lose hope. One loss should not facilitate another. Appreciate what you have and move forward.
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