During times of stress or loss we can be at increased risk for injuries and setbacks. One goal of Body Aware Grieving is to avoid creating new problems while we learn to recover from any current difficulties. [Read more…]
The most important aspect of Body Aware Grieving compared with other available services related to grief recovery is our focus on physical health. Even when we may not feel we are being affected by stress, sadness or anger, our bodies display symptoms that let us know we are functioning at less than our full capacity.
We are each so unique and different from one another. There is no reason to try and compare one person’s pain to anyone else. While the word “grief” is most commonly used in reference to a death, any reason we may be disappointed or struggling is equally important.
Common signs that we need to take better care of ourselves include: stomach or digestive issues, back or neck pain, fatigue, sleeplessness, muscle tension especially in the jaw and shoulders, dizziness, inability to concentrate, incessant crying, under or over-eating, overuse of medication, drugs or alcohol, getting colds or the flu repeatedly.
Even years after a romantic breakup you may find it hard to stop thinking about the person you love. Other people become overwhelmed when they observe the natural signs of aging happening to their face, body or ability to function. It is common to struggle with low self-esteem, even depression, after losing a job, business or accumulated amount of money. There are even people who envy those of us who are in mourning and wonder if they are ‘normal’ because they don’t seem to care enough about anyone or anything in their life to feel loss.
Physical signs of stress may be subtle, at least at first, or can become more extreme if we choose to ignore them. One of the most vital moments in healing can occur when we realize that we are having a problem that is not passing on it’s own. Perhaps instead of feeling ‘weak’ when we realize we may need help, it can be exciting to explore, “How can I get through my current situation with the least amount of extra suffering?” THAT is a question that can begin to lead us towards becoming healthier and happier.
The source of why we are upset is not specifically important. Regardless of why our emotional or physical health is being diminished, we just want to find ways to console and care for ourselves as easily as possible. If you or someone you care about is going through a challenging time, please go to the Healing Techniques section in our sidebar for a choice of wellness activities.
Best wishes to you,
photo © Adam Weiss email@example.com
I was reading an article recently about a man who had two Aunts die within three weeks of each other. It seems common to hear stories about important events happening at nearly the same time of the year. Body Aware Grieving has created a healing technique for this instance to help people who find themselves dealing with multiple losses within a short period of time.
When two or more dates close to each other become associated with sad experiences, I have started to call it “a natural grief vortex”. This expression refers to the period of time between two dates in the calendar that have become associated with losses like the death of a loved one and/or other painful experiences.
For the man who just lost his Aunts, those three weeks of the year may become very emotionally intense for his family in years to come. In terms of healing from grief, it can be calming to just accept that the weeks between these dates will likely feel sensitive and sad. It is possible to plan for extra personal care and mourning activities on an annual basis during a Natural Grief Vortex…for at least the first few years after a loss.
It can be comforting to:
- Plan extra visits and communication with family and friends
- Try to limit additional stressful challenges as much as possible
- Be extra careful during potentially risky activities like: driving, exercising, dealing with bad weather conditions, etc.
- Treat oneself to more self-care like favorite activities and other rewards.
Here is an example of a “natural grief vortex” from my own life:
My Father, who I loved very much, died five and a half years ago. His birthday, May 31st is just a few weeks before Father’s Day on the third Sunday in June. Now that he has passed away, both of these dates can bring up memories of him and ways we used to celebrate together during that time of the year.
It has taken me a while to figure this out, but now I don’t even bother trying to ‘cheer myself up’ between these dates if I’m missing him. Having learned through trial and error, I now also make sure to plan to be with people I care about on both my Dad’s birthday and on Father’s Day.
Because of this extra attention between May 31st and Father’s Day, I tend to feel relieved, fresher and brighter once these two important dates have passed. Perhaps as time goes on, this need for annual commemoration will diminish somewhat. For now however, rituals of self-care during this “natural grief vortex” help me feel calmer and function more efficiently the rest of the year.
If you find yourself with an emotionally significant “grief anniversary”, you might use the natural grief vortex as a healing technique.
These healing techniques are incredibly simple, yet if you try them, you may find the “lift” you get to be quite profound. You can change how you see things in moments! Here are a few suggestions.
The next time you are feeling depressed, irritable, or uninspired try cleaning some of the surfaces you look at…and through. It is possible to symbolically open, brighten, and clarify one’s viewpoint by taking a few moments to physically clean ones:
- Car windshield (An easy way to make driving safer)
- Computer/phone screen
If you want another way to adjust your perspective, try spending time with someone very different from yourself. For example I was recently walking around San Francisco feeling worried about money…until I saw a young homeless woman eating ants from the cracks in the sidewalk. Wow! I talked with her for a few minutes, gave her a granola bar I was about to eat, and five dollars. Walking away I felt transformed, and have not viewed the challenges I face the same since.
When you feel concerned about aging and wrinkles, try watching people with mobility problems due to injuries, illness or advanced old age. See if you can remember them the next time you are able to get out of your seat or up a flight of stairs easily. If you are sick, perhaps talk to someone who is in hospice care while maintaining a positive attitude. It is possible to research how people from a variety of different cultures approach a problem similar to your own. Maybe one of them has an approach you find useful and relevant to your own situation.
The next time you feel stagnant, find a wide place with an expansive view to look at. If you are near a place with access to nature, that is great. In a city perhaps walk to the top of a parking garage, hotel, or other tall building for a bird’s eye glance at things. Even photos and videos of beautiful, open vistas can help open one’s thinking.
If you tend to spend most of your time interacting with other people, maybe see what solitude is like. A few hours would be great, but a few days would be even better. Likewise, if you tend to be alone, get out to a cafe, group activity, or event that interests you. If you usually talk a lot, maybe listen more for a while. People who keep their ideas to themselves could experiment with being more expressive, either verbally, on-line, or through an artistic project.
Anyhow, these are just a few suggestions. It would be great if you have creative ideas or personal experiences to share about shifting one’s point of view in an uplifting way. Please use the comments section below! Body Aware Grieving is here for all of us to co-create together.