By Bill Urell
The tragic loss of a loved one, the death of a spouse, the break up of a long and fruitful marriage — life for those over 50 (or anyone) is full of chances for grief, and can easily be wasted on grieving.
Grief is certainly a reality that we must all face
but when we go beyond facing it when we sink deeper and deeper into it, we tend to lose sight of other things in life that are more important. We may neglect people who are close to us, alive, and who still need our love. We may drag ourselves to work, there to do nothing but sit and stare out into space all day. We may be wasting away without knowing it, and only because we did not know how to handle grief in the first place.
Grief is not easy to handle
The long road to recovery is often winding, and can sometimes lead you back to where you started if you are not careful, or if you are too intent on forgetting the cause of your grief. The key to handling grief is to recognize that recovery can be painfully slow, and to know that the faster you get out of it, the less numb you will be. Numbness is not something that you want your heart to experience, because there is more to life than grief: numb your heart, and you will find even the more enjoyable things in life difficult to appreciate.
10 tips to follow on the way to recovery
How can you handle grief and make your heart better prepared to deal with life in general? Here are ten tips that you might want to follow as you trek the long and winding road to recovery. Note that this list is by no means comprehensive: you can find other ways to heal yourself, and cope with your grieving heart.
1. Learn to let go of things that remind you of the person or situation.
Whenever someone is lost to us, or whenever we find ourselves in a situation of grief, we tend to hang on to things that remind us of what we have lost. This can be attributed to the human need for something to hang on to when all else is falling: it is the human need to hope for something when all the world seems hopeless.
If someone you love has died, you might want to keep a few mementoes of his or her stay on earth. However, you will need to let these things go little by little. By letting that photo, dress, or figurine go, you are also letting the person go, and letting the grief dissipate. Think: would the person have wanted you to waste your life pining away for him or her?
2. Write a gratitude journal.
By recognizing what things you can still be thankful for, you are also giving yourself a chance to see the rainbow through the rain clouds. Take any ordinary notebook or diary and make a commitment to write in it at the same time every day. List down five (or more) things that you are thankful for. They can be as simple as seeing a rose bloom, or great as getting a long vacation from work.
Make this a habit, until you learn to see the good things through the bad. A gratitude journal works wonders not only in allowing people to deal with heartbreak and grief. It can make all of us understand that there is more to life than misery and pain.
3. Blog about your experiences or write a diary.
Writing about your grief is one sure way of letting go of the pain. Unreleased pain can turn your heart into a festering wound: without air and a salve, the wound can go deeper, and will never heal. By writing an online diary, you can also get people to see how you feel; if your blog has a commenting or reply feature, people can also take the time to comfort you and make you feel better.
4. Engage in as many hobbies as you can.
By focusing on other things instead of your grief, you can find yourself healing faster.
5. Find a support group.
Talk your problems out, and listen to people with the same grief and problems as you. As many psychiatrists will tell you, talking always helps, and a support group can help show you the way to a faster recovery.
6. Don’t go it alone.
Do not refuse the help of your spouse, children, or friends as they try to comfort you. The more people there are around you, the fewer the chances you will have to concentrate on your grief.
7. Have a spiritual life.
Engage in prayer, or enroll in yoga or meditation classes. There are many ways to feed your spirit. By having a spiritual life, you can find strength and support in divine and unseen forces an important thing to consider when your friends and relatives are not around to support you.
8. Stay away from vices and addictions!
People in grief tend to turn to alcohol, drugs, and other vices to drown their sorrows away. Stay away from these! There’s so much more to life than empty addictions!
9. Don’t force the grief away.
Keep a mindset that gradual is good. The faster you get out of your grief, the easier it comes back. By keeping this mindset, you can recover better.
10. Help others.
Put up a foundation celebrating the goodness of your lost child or friend. Join a charitable organization. Work in outreach programs. If you open your heart to doing good, you can stay away from the debilitating effects of grief and put smiles on the faces of those who come in contact with your goodness. <<
Bill Urell MA.CAAP-II, is an addictions therapist at a leading drug addiction treatment center. He teaches healthy life styles and life skills. Tell your story! Visit: http://www.AddictionRecoveryBasics.com/ Pick up your Free Recovery Rolodex, Over 97 pages of self help and recovery tips, resources and links to enhance your life