Regardless of whether the loss of a loved one is expected after an illness or due to aging, or unexpected as a result of an accident, the pain of losing someone you love is profound.
“When a loved one dies, the loss can leave us feeling numb, hopeless or in shock, and although in the beginning, we may avoid those painful feelings as a way to cope, the reality is our loved one will not come back and the pain will not go away,” says Erin Ashley, a yoga and mindfulness teacher who specialises in supporting people through grief.
“Instead of avoiding the pain, try to accept it, because the gift of pain is a message about what’s important in life.”
Recent research by Rice University in Houston, Texas cautions that people who show symptoms of extreme grief – such as being unable to accept reality, pining for the deceased, finding it difficult to move on and having a sense that life is meaningless – suffer from high levels of bodily inflammation, a contributing factor to a host of health conditions. With this in mind, finding coping strategies for grief becomes even more important.
Let it be
“Considering pain is an unavoidable part of the loss, mindfulness – the practice of observing ourselves and the world around us – allows us to meet and accept the hurtful emotions in a softer, more self-compassionate way, and this is where the healing begins to take place,” says Erin.
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