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31 Mind-Body Tips to Support Your Grief Relief

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by: beetcole51
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Date: Sat, 20 Sep 2014 Time: 2:37 PM
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When you are caught up in the mental spin of reacting to a loss or trauma that has you feeling stunned, shocked and overwhelmed, it can be quite a challenge to shift your focus onto something new. The following exercise, designed to be follow daily for at least one full month, will help you take baby steps toward recovery, by giving your mind a specific task to address.

Although you don't have to do the game or exercise this way, it will be more powerful: print out this article, and then cut the thirty-one tips into separate strips of paper. Take two jars, bowls or vases that are both large enough to hold all the slips of paper. Set the jars side-by-side on your kitchen counter, or some other location in your home where you will have easy access to the jars, without their being in your way. Put the jar containing the slips of paper on the left-hand side.

Each day, reach into the jar on the left, pull out a slip of paper at random, and read the tip. This will be your "recovery task" for the day. Post it on the fridge with a magnet or bit of masking tape (which will not leave a residue on your refrigerator). The reason for this is to keep the tip in plain sight. Of course, you may find another place to post the note to yourself, where you will see it frequently.

The next day, put that tip into the right-hand jar or vase, and draw a new tip from the full jar. Repeat this process daily, using the "tip of the day" to give your mind a new assignment that will draw you back into a more regular schedule of living and responding to the people and activities around you.

When the left-hand jar is empty, simply swap its position with the full jar, and begin again. Invite friends and other family members to write ideas on slips of paper and drop them into the left-hand jar.

Have some fun with this. A big part of grief recovery is necessarily the task of returning to a light-heartedness about life that may seem foreign to you right now.

These thirty-one tips are not listed in any particular order.

1. Give back to the community in memory of the one you lost, such as volunteering at a local kitchen for the homeless, picking up litter when you're out for a walk, putting a shopping cart back in the designated area when you're in the grocery store parking lot.

2. Grow something. Plant seeds for flowers and/or vegetables in your garden or in small pots on the kitchen windowsill. Nurture this new life.

3. Play a board game, do a crossword puzzle, play cards, start a jigsaw puzzle. Do something that helps you feel child-like and carefree.

4. Daydream. Think about ideas for trips and activities you'd like to enjoy one or two years from now. By putting the trip off into the future, you bypass your thoughts that would protest an immediate trip would be "too soon." But of course you can vacation or travel anytime that feels right to you.

5. Stay hydrated. Drink fresh water, and avoid alcohol and excess caffeine. Add a splash of lime juice to your water; it helps your body have a healthier, alkaline balance which is good for your bones, too.

6. Focus on doing something today that feels good to you. Feeling good about life is the most important task everyone has each day. It helps you align with your higher self!

7. If you feel depressed, set a timer and allow yourself three minutes of feeling really bad about your situation—then turn your thoughts toward something that feels better.

8. Meditate. Use guided meditations such as the author of this article offers as free downloads, or meditate with your favorite music to quiet your overly busy thoughts.

9. Start a new tradition in honor of the one you are grieving, such as having a certain dish they liked once a month or once a week, or playing a game they liked, watching a movie that was their favorite, and so on. Get creative with this one, and see how many ideas you come up with.

10. Be a conduit for universal love with everyone you meet.

11. Pick an admirable trait or characteristic that your beloved displayed in the world, and be a copycat. If they were friendly and kind, do that too, at least for today.

12. Read a poem, essay, or book that is uplifting and inspiring.

13. Share comfort with others who are in greater need than you are.

14. Create a photo memorial book with pictures of the one you lost, capturing precious memories.

15. We live in an ocean of motion. Everything is moving. Get up and get dancing. Play a sport. Exercise. Go for a walk, jog or run. Do something you enjoy that requires movement even if it is only swaying in time with the music.

16. Network with others who have experienced loss, and realize that your own experience can be a benefit to the newly bereaved.

17. If you start to panic that you will never feel better, hit the imaginary "pause" button in your thoughts, breathe deeply and slowly a few times to calm your nerves, and remind yourself this is a process, and you will indeed recover from your loss.

18. Limit talking about your grief and pain. When you start to talking about how much it hurts that you lost this person or companion animal, shift your conversation and thoughts to talking about how much you will always love them, and the joy they brought into your life.

19. Get enough sleep. If you are experiencing wakeful nights, avoid watching the news, frightening or dramatic movies and TV shows in the hours leading up to bedtime. Quiet your mind before sleep by meditating, reading a few uplifting quotes or affirmations, and telling yourself that everything is working out for you, and you will feel better day by day.

20. Avoid relying on alcohol, pills, and junk food as a way to distract yourself from the pain. Better distractions include learning a new craft or hobby. Write a poem or e-book. Paint a picture. Practice the arts of photography or sculpture. Learn something new that brightens your day.

21. Minimize clutter in your home. Chaotic surroundings produce chaotic thinking in most people.

22. Rearrange the furniture, add a few colorful throw pillows or a bowl of fruit to give the living room a renewed look. This change in the scenery of your home alerts your mind that you are embarking on a new chapter in your life.

23. Establish regular meal times, and eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. You will feel better physically, and your brain will thank you for the healthier diet.

24. If you have pets, interact with them frequently and allow their unconditional love and acceptance of life to soothe you. If you don't have pets, then visit friends who do, or volunteer at your local shelter or pet rescue organization to help out with animals in need of love.

25. Reclaim the spiritual practices of your youth, if they are comforting to you, or seek out new places of worship that attract you with their messages of love and community.

26. If you are clearing out closets and drawers of your loved one's belongings, select a few precious items to keep, but bless the rest and donate it to an organization or shelter where these things will be enjoyed and put to good use. Know that the person you lost would be pleased their clothes and books are still being loved by people who wouldn't have such nice things otherwise.

27. Find a way to interact with nature, whether it is through walking in a park, taking a hike, visiting a botanic garden, or walking around a beautifully landscaped neighborhood. Enjoy the birds, trees, plants—all the signs of life around you.

28. Become a sky watcher, and enjoy the sense of calmness and peace that can enter your heart when you realize you are an eternal part of a vast universe—and so is the one you are grieving. They are not truly "lost" to you, but simply gone from sight for now.

29. Smile. Often. The muscles you use to smile send an instant signal to your brain that you are feeling happier. Your mood will automatically lift up, unless you drag it down by deliberately turning toward sad thoughts instead.

30. Share stories, jokes and anecdotes about your beloved, or ones that they would enjoy, and specifically tell others that "Joe (for example) would've loved this one!" or "Jane always told this joke and got the punch line wrong!" Laughter is healing, and the stories keep your memories alive in a healthy way.

31. Breathe mindfully. When we slow our breathing and bring calmness to a deep breathing exercise, the 63 trillion cells in our bodies become calmer and healthier. Our breath connects us with the Spirit we all are part of. Use your breath to access calmness, confidence, and serenity any time of the day.

About the Author

Evelyn Roberts Brooks is a bestselling author, speaker, and power coach who helps people go from where they are to where they want to be in life, in the shortest time possible. Learn more about grief recovery—and download your serenity meditation gift—at http://www.yourgriefrelief.com For stress relief gifts including a 25-minute guided meditation MP3, and to learn more about Evelyn Brooks' breakthrough coaching programs and e-courses, go to http://www.evelynbrooks.com


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