During the grieving process, it can be easy to turn to alcohol, food, and other harmful substances to help you cope with your loss. However, using unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with your loss can lead to more problems for you down the road. If you have a tendency to use unhealthy coping mechanisms during difficult times, use some of the healthy coping mechanisms listed below instead.
1. Get Outside and Exercise
When you are dealing with grief, the last thing that you will want to do is go outside and move. However, this is the thing that will be the most beneficial to your well-being. Challenge yourself to go outside and exercise for at least 20 minutes a day. Exercise produces endorphins and vitamin D raises levels of serotonin, which both help to improve your mood.
2. Creatively Express Your Emotions
Sometimes, we know which emotions we are experiencing but we have no way to express them. Instead of being frustrated about your emotions, express them through art, writing, and music. You could paint about your feelings, write a poem, or even compose a meaningful piece about your loved one. The only limit to what you can create is yourself.
3. Consider Therapy
For those who are experiencing grief a way that seems worse than what the average person experiences, consider getting help from a therapist or a grief counselor. These people will be able to help you express your emotions and deal with them in a way that makes your grief more manageable. If you prefer a group setting, you could also search for a grief support group.
4. Use Special Dates to Celebrate Your Loved Ones
Special dates and anniversaries tend to bring up feelings of sadness and loss. However, you can make use of these holidays and special dates to celebrate your loved ones instead of mourning them. If a birthday or an anniversary rolls around, try spending your day honoring your loved one and making it a day of remembrance and happiness. If a holiday comes around, dedicate a short ritual or a meal to them while you enjoy the day with loved ones who have also experienced the loss.
5. Work Around Your Grief Triggers
Triggers are things such as people, places, and dates that remind you of your loss and cause you to experience an episode of grief. If there are certain people, places, things, or dates that you know will cause you to be triggered, become more knowledgeable about them and, instead of avoiding them, use healthy coping mechanisms when they trigger you. After all, avoidance will only postpone the grief that you will eventually experience when you encounter a triggering situation.
Next time that you begin to have difficulty dealing with your grief, ditch your unhealthy coping mechanisms and use the healthy coping mechanisms listed above instead. Remember, grief is a healthy response to loss and the way that you deal with grief should be healthy as well.