Last week I shared my thoughts on allowing ourselves to go through the grief process. Here are a some tips on how to do that through Mindful Grieving.
"Mindfulness" is buzzing all around these days, and can applied to just about anything. And it isn't just yoga and meditation! In a nutshell, mindfulness is about awareness and non-judgment (including of ourselves!).
Grieving mindfully means embracing your feelings as you mourn the loss of your loved one. Instead of trying to stuff down and ignore our grief, mindful grieving requires an openness to the normal grief process.
What is the normal grief process? Many people are familiar with the book by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, "On Death and Dying" where Kubler-Ross describes five stages of grief - denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. The grief process does include these stages, but it isn't necessarily a smooth line you flow straight through. You may be moving along the curve and then back up to a stage or even feel more than one stage at the same time.
Allowing yourself to feel your feelings and go through the grief process will help you heal. We allow ourselves to feel our feelings through awareness and by attending to the present moment. Attend to the present moment by focusing on your feelings as they arise and feel them without judgment. Allow them to ﬂow through you. As thoughts arise, let them pass without judgment. As you embrace your emotions, you accept the reality of your loss.
When your mind starts to wander, keep yourself in the present by focusing on one of your senses. For example, focus on your breath. Or, focus on something you can see, feel or smell. When you find yourself spiraling in your grief, a good activity to keep yourself focused on the present is to name 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can feel, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste.
However you do it, the biggest part of mindfulness is to remain present and let yourself feel your feelings. This can be so hard because pain hurts and we want to do all we can to avoid it.
If you're going through grief, I encourage you to connect with a resource that will help you go through the grief process in an intentional and mindful way. This could be reading materials and individual study, seeing a therapist or joining a grief group. Whatever works for you, focus on your healing by going through the grief journey. If you're not sure where to start, contact me at email@example.com and I'll help you find resources.