Like happiness — grief is a universal feeling we all grapple with at some point. Grief comes in many different forms. While most people associate grief with death — throughout our lifetime we grieve many different “losses”. The loss of a job, divorce, separation, the loss of a home or other possessions as well as the absence of certain elements that we think are necessary to make us “whole” can also cause grief.

Whatever the source of your grief, learning to deal with it is necessary for you to move on to continue to live a happy and fulfilling life.

1.Do not blame yourself or others
Don’t blame yourself or your loved ones — some of us blame practically anyone who came into close contact with the situation. In the case of a death of a loved one, there is also survivor’s grief — “why I am still here?”, “What possible reason could the universe have for allowing me to stick around and letting him/her go?”

Most of the blame game — although a part of the grief process can prolong it — and make it ten times worse if you don’t nip it in the bud before it becomes chronic. Depending the type and severity of blame being passed — it can also cause irreparable damage to relationships.

2. Confront your emotions
Apart from feelings of guilt and remorse, you may be struggling with feelings of anxiety, anger, bitterness and sheer frustration at life. Allow yourself to confront each and everyone of these emotions. Your grief will demand that you give it your full attention — so best to confront it by engaging in positive ways of release like talking about it with people you trust as well as finding other positive outlets. You may get frustrated that these feelings linger and take time to resolve, but time is the universal healer — it will get better.

3. Nourish your soul and surround yourself with positive affirmation
Having negative, toxic people in your life at a time of grief will only add to your anguish! So many toxic feelings abound with grief and though some people may try to help — it sometimes makes things worse. You want to be able to focus on your feelings — not what others are saying about what you should/or should not be doing!

Common societal messages from a “grief-avoidant” culture can often cause additional tension — particularly when you are pressured into assuming normal duties — like work/career responsibilities when you’re just not ready. You may get comments like “just keep busy working”, “carry on”, or “you have to pull yourself together for the kids — they are watching you”. Surrounding yourself with people who affirm your current wants and needs will help to ease the burden so you can concentrate on your healing.

4. Own your new reality — and let go of the past
So many times tragedy changes our very identity — women who lose their spouses — suddenly become widows or even single parents. In the case of young widows, this is life-altering and places a lot more responsibility on the remaining spouse to assume responsibilities alone. If you are facing this situation — don’t be afraid to reach out for help from family members and friends. Owning your new status also means trying to let go of the past and not clinging to an old identity to keep fitting-in with the same crowd. This can lead to denial and a sense that your new situation is “less than” what it used to be.

5. Eat Healthy and keep up your physical strength
Many experts agree — the death of a spouse, child, or parent is one of the most stressful life situations. Divorce, separation and permanent job-loss ranks way up there too! Physically, it is easy to go into a state of shock and numbness. Your sleep may also be affected in so many ways — leading to insomnia and more exhaution. It is only when you care for yourself physically that you can process your losses emotionally and spiritually. In addition — nausea, headaches, changes in appetite, weight loss, are all ways your body may react to the grief and loss. Exercising and eating healthy can contribute to your overall well-being.

6. Allow your grief to be a catalyst for self growth
Grief and tragedy are usually so intense that they provide opportunities for self-reflection — and growth. Great lessons can be learnt from tragedy and grief. Whether from divorce, separation or death — you now have the opportunity to decide how you want to move on — and how you can live your best life possible. What about that hobby you never found the time for? The move to another city/country you always wanted? Grief provides an opportunity for self growth because it teaches critical lessons. Lessons that are key to successful transformation. Grief will bring out the authentic YOU because it lets you face your own mortality.

Life is short and meant to be well-lived! Nurturing your body soul and mind will set you back on a path to recovery and growth.

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