We experience pressures in our lives every day and when those pressures start piling up and get to be too much for us to handle we can begin to feel like a stick that is about to break.
When grief from a loss combines with daily stresses the feeling of being overwhelmed can heighten stress and make us feel weak and close to snapping.
Stress can lead to a number of health problems and can zap us of energy and a zest for life. But when we learn how to perceive stress and learn different ways of managing it, we can begin to strengthen and learn how not to break under pressure.
3 KEY Stress Reduction Techniques to Help with Grief
We all have our own ways of dealing with stress, some healthy, some not so healthy. When stress and grief combine after a loss or death it can be significantly harder to choose healthy ways of dealing. While we might feel like shouting at everyone and everything, might be afraid to go to sleep at night and may turn to unhealthy habits to make us feel better, these can all make the problem worse. Some healthier and more productive ways to deal with stress include; meditation and prayer, relaxation and sleep, and healthy eating and exercising.
Meditation and Prayer:
When grieving, our natural instincts often lead us to retreat inside of ourselves. And while reflection can be helpful, we often choose to dwell on what we’ve lost and concentrate on the negative. Instead, spend your time alone practicing relaxation techniques like meditation and prayer.
Relaxation and Sleep:
It’s important for both our bodies and our minds, to help them cope with stress, to establish a consistent sleep pattern: go to bed and get up at the same time every day, make sure you are getting enough sleep (6-8 hours) and allow yourself time to relax before bed. If you are having trouble with this last one, try taking a warm shower or listening to something relaxing before bed.
Eating Healthy and Exercise:
Instead of turning to junk food, alcohol, or other unhealthy habits when stressed, keeps your body at its best by turning to healthy foods and eating habits. It’s also best, though difficult, to keep your body active by participating in 20-30 minutes of exercise a day.
When we lose someone or find ourselves in an uncomfortable and unfamiliar situation we tend to want to avoid it. Our minds struggle to block it out, unconsciously creating resistance and stress. One of the best ways to deal with grief and stress is to let go of this resistance and become aware of how we are feeling in the present moment.
Humans love to be in control, and when a moment comes that we cannot change or control we become stressed. But in accepting that we cannot change what has happened and becoming aware of our thoughts and breathing, we can begin to de-stress. Try it out slowly, with small things that bother you; become aware of them and how they make you feel, and where they lead your thoughts. Then try it again, and again. It may take practice but letting go can be one of the most effective stress relievers.
Click here for information on Donna’s new healing workshop: “Grieving Mothers-Grieving Women”, April 27, 2013.