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Moving On From Loss

I know it’s been a few days since a post has been made; it’s not due to falling off on my habit but for the fact that I have had a death in my family – my uncle and godfather has passed away. He was my father’s older brother; but he was the last of his daughter’s immediate family as her mother, brother and now father are gone. She has been distraught with grief, as one can imagine, and keeps questioning how she can move on.

Loss can be felt very deeply by those who have experienced it, whether the loss is from death, divorce, or a job loss. While each has their own causes and issues, they will all feel the loss deeply. How we view the loss and our ability to deal with it will set the tone for how we move on; research has shown that loss, which relates to our social needs, activates the same threat and pain ‘circuitry’ in the brain which activate our cells so that we feel pain (Fuller, 2009).

Of course there will be a mourning time, where it’s ok to grieve the loss but there has to be a day when it is time to move on and to let the healing begin. The more we tell ourselves we can’t move on, we won’t; it’s when we take courage, pick ourselves up and decide to move on then we will – one day at a time:

  • recognize the loss: it is important to be full-in on the emotions that will result once a loss has occurred; for some, they will be inconsolable while others may suppress their emotions. It’s ok to feel whatever you are feeling and to let the emotions out as the body needs to release the painful and negative energies that build up.
  • focus on self: at times like these, anxiety can set in which leads to sleepless nights, loss of appetite and wanting to be busy to avoid thinking about the loss. Worrying about other or extrinsic factors can become the norm to avoid facing being alone and facing the loss over and over again. Allow yourself to rest, eat, take a walk, garden, or whatever gives you some peace, which can include allowing others to help you out.
  • find activities that will help you face the loss more courageously: pray, meditate, journal, take up a hobby, color or paint, etc. All of these activities help to calm the cortisol in the brain and increase dopamine to feel calmer and happier.
  • reframe the situation: often, guilt can weave its way into our thoughts once a loss is felt (“If only I had….” or “I wish I had…..”). Going back and writing out the situation that led to the loss can help to put it in a frame to see if we had a part in it, or if it played out as we think it does, which can get skewed when emotions take over. The loss can’t be changed so don’t allow yourself to stay in that dark area. Be grateful for all you have; as Tony Robbins says, “you can’t be {upset} and grateful at the same time.”
  • Seek help: as it’s often easy to have difficulty moving on, it is helpful to find help either in your social circle (family, friends) or professionally (a counselor or coach, or a support group) to help you express your thoughts and feelings and help you find comfort to move on.
  • begin planning for your next steps: you will eventually have to move on and get back into life. It’s ok to begin planning or what that might be in regards to your career, finances, legal matters (if needed), relationships, hobbies, spiritual, and household matters. Sketch out what it might look like, allow yourself to see into your future, whether that is a month, or 3,6, 12 or longer. Do what makes you feel comfortable but be sure to do so. Life will go on and you get the choice for what it will look like.
  • remember that you are Stronger than you know
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