Using Meditation to Help Overcome Grief
From a certain perspective, there are two kinds of things that happen in our lives: those that are within our control, and those that are beyond our control. Many of the things that happen without our permission and are beyond our control can give us feelings of disappointment, frustration, and grief. One thing that we often have very little control over is people departing from our lives.
Grief Recovery Institute Executive Director, Russell Friedman, defines grief as “the conflicting feeling caused by a change or an end in a familiar pattern and behavior.” Due to the changes we experience in life, we are all almost guaranteed to encounter grief and its associated emotions (including fear, anger, depression, regret, and loneliness). These feelings can trap us in an emotional mire that we may feel unable to rise above. When we are consumed by grief, it can completely take hold of our lives.
Instead of living our lives and acting on the things that matter to us, we can become limited, reclusive, and isolated. Often without us realizing it, we may let go of being in control, and allow grief to define our lives. Typically, grief is a normal emotion that all humans feel, and we all must go through at some point.
Normally, when we allow it, it passes through our lives for a limited time and leaves, or at least subsides over time. We regain the acceptance of a new reality, learn to adjust and manage our lives in a new order. However, in some cases, grief can become all-consuming, taking grip, and never letting us go. When this occurs, it is essential that we seek support from outside of ourselves and get the help of a professional to help us navigate our grief. If we are self-aware enough, and want to help ourselves, we can turn to meditation to help overcome the feelings of grief.
How Meditation Works
Meditation has helped millions of people around the world, to find inner peace by gaining an acceptance of what is, as opposed to what they wish was the case. It massively enables people who are suffering to free themselves from the torment, mental anguish, and pain they feel by cultivating a simple and regular meditation practice. There is no doubt that meditation can effectively help us process and make sense of our grief. Here are some of the ways that meditation can provide help for anyone going through the toughest moments of grief and pain.
Ways that Meditation Helps in Overcoming Grief
- Meditation helps you to manage your pain by finding meaning in your grief.
We need to understand that grief is not something we need to fix or get away from like a virus. Grief happens to us because we lost something we love or care deeply about and that is important to acknowledge. From that, we can enable grief to change us in meaningful ways.
Maybe we will learn something valuable. We could allow it to strengthen our resolve to live, instead of only existing, or never to take people for granted (for example). Grief teaches us, and it’s only when we validate it that it is possible, creating a new meaning in our lives and allowing us to find acceptance.
- Meditation helps calm anxiety and release tension.
We feel burdened by our grief due to the tension and anxiety created by our thoughts. Meditation helps us feel more centered and achieve a tranquil mind. This aids in releasing the tension, stress, bad energy and anxiety that is inside us. By enabling us to focus our attention on the present, we begin to feel more relaxed and in control of our thoughts.
- Meditation enables you to find acceptance in reality.
Grief happens, and it is normal to grieve when something bad happens. But when grief takes up permanent residence in our lives, it means we haven’t accepted reality, and are still clinging desperately to the past and the person that has gone. No amount of grief can change that. Meditation helps us to accept what has happened and to live with our new reality.
- Meditation empowers us to take control of the things we can.
Grief often makes us give up our power over the things we can control. There are many things that we can manage and control to help us make sense of our pain. We can choose our positive thoughts instead of letting our negative thoughts control us. We can control our attention and then our actions.
- Meditation makes us mentally resilient.
By empowering and allowing us to select our thoughts, gradually, we become less reactive and more mindful of the ways we react to things. Meditation helps create a buffer and enables us to pause, helping us to choose our responses and actions in spite of the barrage of stress and trauma that our grief may tend to wrap us in.
If you would like more information on how to use meditation in your grief journey there is a great article on Mindful.org