How Do You Process Grief?
Marina Mails, NCC, LPC
HPCG Bereavement Counselor
Each person processes grief and the changes it brings in his or her own unique way. You will most likely benefit from using coping strategies and activities that you have used during other difficult times in your life. If you are looking for ideas that may help you work through the intense emotional pain, swirling thoughts, anxieties and pressures of grieving, here are a few activities you can try.
- Writing in a journal
- Talking with a friend or counselor
- Singing or playing an instrument
- Participating in visual art, such as painting, drawing or building a collage
- Making a handmade item for your loved one
- Writing a letter to the person you lost
- Praying about your loved one
- Spending time outdoors
- Looking at photos and mementos or making a memory book
When spending time with grief becomes too much, take a break! Distract yourself by being around people or stepping away from focusing on grief for a while. Part of learning how to manage grief is finding a balance between the distractions that take your mind off of loss and active grieving that helps you process the loss.
This balance may be tough to obtain, when grief emotions feel overwhelming. Finding your way through grief requires ongoing experimentation. Ask yourself what works, and know that the answer to these questions may change as time passes. Being able to maintain your flexibility and patience during this turbulent time is ultimately the key.
For more ways to help cope with loss and deal with grief, check out HPCG’s workshops and support group calendar.