Overcoming Grief Through Mindfulness
Grief might very well be life’s necessary evil. Nobody wants to go through the pain and suffering that comes with grief, but the truth is, life comes loaded with several reasons that make us feel happy or sad. Our ability to relate and feel all these things together makes up a huge part of being human and somehow also makes life more beautiful and fulfilling.
We can’t completely avoid grief. Somewhere along life’s path, it’ll come as it probably has for most of us. When it does, what is your main perspective towards grief? Do you wallow in your pain and allow it to change you? Or do you avoid grief and do everything you can to deny its existence? Both modes of living are possible, but if we want to heal, we need to face it, accept it, and eventually recover from it.
When something or someone we value is taken away from us, we experience loss, and grief comes naturally. How we experience our grief varies and greatly depends on how much we value whatever we lost.
We need to face our grief to find healing. We do not do so simply to torture ourselves. We do not need to rush it either, as healing takes its own time. It is a gradual process. One of the healthiest ways we can find healing and overcome our grief is through mindfulness.
How Mindfulness Helps Resolve Our Grief
Mindfulness is the practice of being aware and present in the moment. It is not only an effective strategy for processing grief, but it is also well-known as an effective method for combating depression, anxiety, and managing stress.
A mindfulness-based approach to our grief helps us face our difficult emotions. In this context, it is the opposite of avoidance or suppression. Mindfulness ultimately helps us grieve by allowing our emotions to surface and working through them. It might seem counterintuitive to how we tend to avoid our painful emotions, but grief cannot be solved through logic, it needs to be felt and experienced before we can move on from it.
This is why emotions are a core component of experiencing the present. We only truly arrive at healing when we allow ourselves to feel and allow emotions to surface. We often say that “in life, you have to go through something to get through something.” This is what dealing with grief is about. It may be messy, painful, and distressing, but it is the only way to properly heal. Mindfulness enables you to experience your emotions right now, with acceptance.
Emotions Are Key to Healing
Mindfulness allows you to face and to feel that grief that is in your heart. You are grieving because you lost something. Grief is a very valid emotional experience. By allowing yourself to feel, you are being present in your experience, not running away or denying the painful reality. While no one knows for certain how long or how much pain you can feel, it’s certain that emotions don’t last forever. This too shall pass.
On the other hand, thoughts play a different role than emotions. Emotions are experiences, and they are tied to the present moment. When we find ourselves looking back or looking ahead, it’s our thoughts recreating the experiences and emotions, thereby recreating the suffering we feel. Not being able to get past our grief is ultimately a work of our thoughts. Emotions will naturally evolve and eventually they lead us to find meaning even in our painful experiences.
Mindfulness enables the separation of our feelings from our thoughts through becoming more aware and engaged right now. By allowing emotions to come to the surface, we are feeling, but suspending our judgment of those feelings. It is acceptable to feel this way. It is our thoughts, not our emotions, that keep us stuck and causes us more suffering beyond the present.
Life will surely go on, and new things will happen to us, allowing us to feel new and happier emotions. In time, we will heal as our emotions are processed. We ultimately reach acceptance when we grieve in healthy ways. When we find grief in our midst, we need to trust in the knowledge that feeling our emotions is a good thing, not denying it in our mind. No matter how much it feels like our emotions will destroy us, they are there to give our experiences some validity.
Grief is not a problem to be solved, but a present emotion that we need to feel and process, ultimately to make healing possible.