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Tips for coping with trials, grief

By Brenda Horrocks, KSL.com Contributor  |  Posted Feb 13th, 2013 @ 8:35pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — None of us get an “easy ticket” through life. We all face challenges and feel pain and grieve people, things or dreams unfulfilled.

Grieving is a healthy part of life and yet it brings us to our knees, stops us for a time and for some who might get “stuck” in their grief it becomes debilitating.

When we are in the middle of the trial or loss it is hard to see beyond the deep pain we feel, but as we work through the pain and we give ourselves some time, the changes start to come and we begin to see things and people different than we once had. We can work through our grief and become a stronger, healthier and more compassionate individual.

So what can you do to help yourself move forward?

Take one day at a time

When you wake up in the morning, get up, get moving and get out of the house, even if it is just for a little while. It is good to see that life is going on outside of our grief.

Feel what you feel

What can we do to help a family member or a friend as they deal with loss, pain and grief?
Validate their loss and their pain
Validation is one of the best gifts we can give to someone we love who is hurting. Don't minimize what they have experienced. Recognize what your loved one is going through or has lost. They need to hear it and feel it.
Don’t compare grief or trials
No one understands another person's pain no matter the cause. Our own experiences can help us have compassion and empathy for another, but we don't know how the other person feels inside.
Don’t try to fix them
While I was deeply grieving my infertility, I had many people tell me I needed to go get on medications. Others told me to talk to my doctor about my thyroid or they would tell me about a great doctor I should see.

One of the best things you can do for your loved one is to just be there for them. Listen, support and love them.

Don’t push your feelings down. Allow yourself to feel the pain or feel whatever it is you are feeling. There is no right or wrong way to feel. I love what Dr. Liz Hale teaches about this in her article titled “Finding Strength Admidst Grief.

“I have an acronym for G.R.I E.F. “Go Right Into Every Feeling.” Grieving is not an intellectual experience; it is felt deep within the soul as we ponder the mysteries of suffering and loss," Hale said. "Grief will demand our attention. When we willingly give it the attention it deserves, it will make the process of living with loss more doable. The only feelings that do not heal are the ones that we try and hide.”

Get a little exercise

Get your happy hormones working for you. A little exercise helps you clear your head and allows you to put yourself in the moment and not think about anything but just what you are doing. In the long run the exercise will bring great benefits to you as you face your challenges.

Erin Beck wrote in an article for Livestrong.com, “Grief may weaken your immune system and cause you to feel fatigued often. Taking care of yourself while grieving becomes especially important. Exercise is a healthy way to cope that helps take your mind off your concerns. Physical activity releases endorphins, natural chemicals in your body that can help enhance your mood, decrease stress hormones and improve sleeping patterns. Aim for 30 minutes or more of exercise a day, for three to five days a week. Try to get enough sleep and eat properly as well.”

Write down how you are feeling or your thoughts about what you are dealing with

For more information on loss and grief:

This can help you in your healing process as well as chart your progress as you look back. Write in a journal or create an online place for your feelings. Writing became my outlet as I struggled through my infertility grief. I found it not only helped release some of the pain but it made it easier for me to share my pain with others.

Writing was a great blessing to me as we said goodbye to our first foster baby. It was a very difficult time for me, but writing helped me to vent my frustrations and pain, allowing me to work through some of the most difficult days. Sharing my writings online also brought me a great deal of support from others who have experienced similar loss.

Seek out others going through similar challenges

Whether it is online or at a local support group, gathering with others who understand your loss or your trial can bring a great deal of validation and peace. You begin to see you are not alone in this journey. Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., wrote more about this in their article, “Coping with Grief and Loss.”

Trials, loss and grief are difficult, and sometimes we need help moving forward. If you or someone you know is hurting and feeling they are “stuck” or they are having suicidal thoughts, it is important to seek professional help. Seeking help can bring much needed hope when things seem so dark. When I finally sought counseling for my infertility grief, I learned a great deal about myself and it helped me get to the place I wanted to be — a place of peace.



Brenda Horrocks is a mother of four children who came to her family through adoption. She promotes foster care and adoption through public speaking and blogging at anothersmalladventure.blogspot.com. Contact her at smalladventuresfamily@gmail.com.

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