Loss and grief can come in many forms, all of which are difficult to deal with and usually cause much emotional pain.  Types of loss could be anything from a breakup or loss of relationship, to loss of a job or financial security, loss of health, the death of a loved one, or any other events that undergo losing something or someone.  Each form of loss is personal and unique to each that experiences it.

Grief is the natural reaction to loss, the feelings of heartache and sorrow that take over when you go through a loss.  Many people identify with the 5 stages of grief, which are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  But there is no “right” or “wrong” way to deal with a loss and grief, so don’t think there is a way you are “suppose” to feel.  On the other hand, don’t let grief take over your life, where you feel like you can’t move forward.  It is a process, but you should take care of yourself during it.

Here are 8 tips you may find helpful when trying to deal with loss and grief:

1.)    Take TIME to let grief run its course:  The grieving process should go at your speed and there shouldn’t be a rush to force yourself into feeling better or “being okay”.  The loss itself may happen suddenly, but grief is not a one-time event, it’s a progression.  Don’t give yourself a deadline to be finished grieving.  Grieving never really ends, but it can get easier over time.

2.)    Be honest and open with yourself about your feelings: It’s natural to have feelings of shock, sadness, anger, confusion, guilt, fear, etc.  When you feel like crying, embrace it!  Don’t try to hold back your sentiments.  Let yourself FEEL the emotions you are having rather than ignore them.

3.)    Allow yourself to feel happiness: It’s okay to let yourself to find moments of relief, happiness, or peace.  Don’t feel like you should be sad all the time in order to be grieving.

4.)    Talk to a close friend about what you are going through and the story of your loss: Vent if you need to.  Although you may think talking about what happened would give you distress, it may help to get some things off your chest.  Try telling someone close to you the story of what happened and how you are feeling as a result.

5.)    Find a mental health counselor or family therapist you can go to help with your grieving process: Often talking to a close friend helps, but sometimes it’s best to open up to a professional who knows how to help people overcome grief in a healthy way.  Counseling doesn’t have to be a long-term commitment, but can be that assistance you need to deal with your emotions of grief.  

6.)    Write a letter to yourself or to your loved one of what you wanted to say before the loss: Putting your words on paper or expressing things you wish you would have said before the loss might help you work through feelings of regret, loneliness, or provide you some relief.  Use the letter to help you work through your thoughts and emotions that you need to let out or put behind you.

7.)    Focus on good memories, rather than dwell on “could have” or “should have”:  Often loss can bring on questions of “why”.  Thinking about what you could have or should have done doesn’t change the past or make things any better.  Instead think about the positive experiences, memories, and outcomes to the situation.

8.)    Realize there may be setbacks, and that’s okay:  Even when you feel you have gotten to the point where you have acceptance of your loss, you can still have times where you feel sadness or grief.  Seeing pictures, hearing stories, or other reminders could trigger these feelings, but try not to let these emotions frustrate you or think you are back-tracking.  It’s natural to still have grief resurface in these situations; your goal should be to get to a point where you are sympathetic with yourself when this happens.  Seeing a therapist or counselor can be a great way to help you work through these situations and deal with your grief in a healthy way.