Are you coping with grief and loss? It certainly comes with the territory of love. Nothing compares to the pain you feel when your loved one dies. As the poet Kahlil Gibran said:
For even as love crowns you so shall it crucify you. Even as it is for your growth so is it for your pruning. Even as it ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, So shall it descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
In fact, psychologists rate death of a spouse at the very top of a list of all the stresses one can experience. In other words, it is the most challenging thing that can happen to you. We know how difficult grief, loss and heartbreak are to deal with. What it is like to be in the heart of darkness.
One of the baseline challenges in handling grief or loss is that it tends to make us second guess ourselves. For example, did we do enough for our loved one? Were we able to say goodbye properly? Did they feel good about our relationship? Did we do the right things when they were dying? Or, can we really function all alone? You know how these self-punishing thoughts go—and they cause lots of suffering.
So here are three powerful exercises to help you process your loss and feel better.
Exercise 1: Coping with Grief, Loss and Heartbreak: The Empowering Nickname
A great way to overcome this is to give yourself a nickname that empowers and validates you! Even if you are just not feeling like you can do that right now! You can. This is just a small door that can help you move forward into the light. So just try the exercise.
Think about adjectives and/or phrases that connote closure, healing, courage, empowerment, resilience, right action and/or forgiveness. And then create a nickname using that adjective or phrase that makes you feel better. Next, read the list below and feel into each one(s) to see what is a good fit:
- Who Can Handle Things Fine on Her Own
- Beacon of Strength Who is at Peace
- Who Performs Right Action
- Who Expresses Her Anger Constructively and Creatively
- Strong, Whole and Effective
- Connected to Her Loved One
- At Peace
- Who is Divinely Protected
- Who is Under God’s Protection
- Who Feels Her Feelings and Lets Them Go
- Note: this last one is highly important! Your grief and sadness will come and go in waves. So it is very important to be open to and allow that healing process to take place.
Once you have your adjective or phrase, think of an empowering noun to use for yourself, like Goddess, Angel, Wizard or Heroine. Add it to your adjective and/or phrase from the list above. So your empowering healing name could be Forgiving Goddess who is Divinely Protected. Or Triumphant Angel Who Performs Right Action.
Next, write down your empowered nickname and put it where you can see it every day. I promise that it will grow on you. Most important, it will help you feel better.
Exercise 2: Coping with Grief, Loss and Heartbreak: Breathing with Brief Affirmations
Studies have shown that various yogic practices can be very helpful in reducing stress reactions to traumatic situations. For coping with grief, we suggest a very powerful yet simple yogic breathing technique based on the Patanjali sutras (aphorisms). In fact, Patanjali is often credited as the father of yoga. Know, that this exercise alone will shift your mood!
Take deep, slow breaths in and out. Pause at the end of each inbreath and read one of the following sutras at a time, as your intuition dictates. It is not necessary to do all of them.
- Inner Light
- Transcendent Intuition
- Inner Peace
- Present Moment Awareness
- Clear Thinking
- Right Action
- Spiritual Guidance
- God’s Protection or Divine Protection
Write down at least five of the most meaningful sutras and do the exercise at home or in the office on a daily basis if possible.
Exercise 3: Coping with Grief, Loss and Heartbreak: Tapping
Cross your arms so that your palms are on the front of your shoulder joints. Then, begin tapping lightly with your hands on your shoulder joints alternating left and right.
Be sure that you are alternating left and right—NOT tapping on both shoulders at the same time.
So now, close your eyes. As you continue tapping, think about the story of what happened that led to you feeling grief or heartbreak. Every few minutes stop and take a deep breath. After the breath, as you sit quietly, feel the energy in your body shifting and settling in the silence.
After you do the tapping followed by a deep breath a few times, see how your are feeling. If you are still upset, continue with the process, saying whatever comes to mind to yourself as you tap your shoulders.
Create an Affirmation
So if you are feeling less upset and more peaceful, create an affirmation to use about this upsetting situation. Read the following list to pique your creativity:
- I am forever connected in love to my beloved.
- I am quiet, calm and settled.
- It is OK for me to feel whatever I am feeling.
- I easily and effortlessly feel calm, centered and competent.
- I use win-win straight talk and right action to help things to work out for the best.
- I am the center of my peace.
- I am connected to the Divine
- God is with me and overseeing my life with infinite love.
In fact, after you craft your affirmation, post it where you can see it very day. Be sure, to put your full attention on it for a few seconds each day.
So there you have three powerful exercises to help you in coping with grief, death and loss. I am very sorry for your loss and if you need further help don’t hesitate to contact one of my coaches for a free session.