On Thursday, June 25, 2009 the world was silenced for a few moments. Shortly after, one could hear the sound of tears, weeping, and screams as well as music being played on every radio station in honor of Michael Jackson, one of America's greatest icons. A lot of people would like to know how to deal with grief. Grief can be defined as a multifaceted response to loss. It includes the emotional numbness, disbelief, separation, anxiety, despair, sadness, and loneliness that accompany the loss of someone or some thing that is loved. Everyone experiences loss or change at sometime in life and understanding grief can help you to deal with your feelings and to eventually grow and become a stronger person. Grief is apart of the healing process.
When dealing with grief be certain to take care of your emotional needs. This can be done by expressing your feelings. When painful feelings are repressed it can create and lead to additional concerns. Accept help from friends and family members, they often can ease the pain and help you to get through difficult moments. If you begin to see major changes such as fatigue, consistent feelings of sadness, excessive weight loss and or gain you may need to seek professional help. This does not mean you are crazy but it does mean you are in the red zone and could benefit from speaking with someone other than a family member. Keep in mind that it is normal to feel sad and it is beneficial to get plenty of rest. Set short-term goals which list some quick activities or things to do such as visiting friends or writing letters. Recognize your progress and treat yourself to something you like. If you feel like it is taking you longer than normal to do things such as go to the post office, set a time limit for yourself to assist you with staying on track. Try new activities to help you through this difficult time. It's a great opportunity to take that new aerobics class at the gym or that cooking class at your neighborhood grocery store. Be informed! Call your town's help line for a list of support groups that is going on in your areal. Often it is helpful to be around someone who has been through a similar situation; it normalizes you and help you to stay stable.
If someone you know is grieving be present. Being able to sit with someone face to face is power. If you are unable to be there send letters, e-mail, or make phone calls. Don't get caught up with your own feelings and make the conversation about you, become a good listener and that will decease feelings of anxiety for the other person. Be patient and respectful and remember that everyone owns his/her own feelings and grieve in their own way. If you sense your friend is asking for space then give him/her space. Continue to check in with your friend periodically. Recovery takes time; remember it has to rain in order to the sun to shine!