Grief is the extremely painful emotional response to varied experiences stemming from loss, sadness, and hurtful situations. Individuals who are grieving may have crying jags, trouble sleeping, be less productive at work, have a lack of or increased appetite, and experience various other methods of managing pain. Grief is a vital and necessary process often experienced in five stages which include:
1. Denial, disbelief, numbness
2. Anger, blame
4. Depression, sadness, crying
If you or someone you care about is coping with grief, there is very little one can do assuage his or her feelings but there are simple things you can do to support the individual experiencing grief. Here are the 10 Best Ways To Manage (Or Assist) The Grieving Process:
1. Avoid cliches, most importantly the overused "Time heals all wounds" phrase and any of its offshoots. Cliches are empty whereas supportive actions and words of encouragement are the fullest way to assist a person in the grieving process.
2. Relate to the emotions presented by the person grieving, but refrain from stating: "I know how you feel." You may relate to the person's struggle but you have no way of knowing how the person truly feels as each person's experience, though similar, is never the same. Relating to the person's experience with your own is often the best way to express empathy.
3. Support but don't force strength. Avoid doling "You're so strong, you can do this" as it only adds to the pressure the person is feeling. The last thing one needs is another burden while trying to cope.
4. Encourage non-destructive coping methods and intervene if necessary. Some people in the grieving process often tend to self medicate the feelings involved. Encourage the person coping with grief to get help and intervene if necessary by promoting healthy ways to manage his or her pain by writing, listening to music, exercise, reading, offering a form of distraction, or seeking professional help.
5. Write a physical, handwritten letter acknowledging the person's pain and positive attributes. Penning your words of encouragement and expressing your feelings for the person struggling with grief is a permanent, constant reminder for the person to reach for in the darkest moments.
6. Be available because face time is what matters most. Grief is isolating and insulating. If you or someone you care about is coping with grief, just being present for the person with a sympathetic ear or shoulder to cry on is often key to helping him or her through the process.
7. Offer assistance. The individual managing grief is often "paralyzed" in their emotions for a time. Offering physical, emotional, or of whatever means of assistance you can, is often best way to foster the grieving process. Though one has to work through each and every step of managing grief, help along the way is always appreciated and welcome.
8. Anticipate needs. All humans eat, sleep, and breathe (among other things.) Often the best support comes from those who prepare a meal, make a bed, throw in a load of laundry, or wash dishes. Tending to the simplest and base needs of the person managing grief is quite often the most efficient way to smooth the transition of the grieving process. Offering what we can with what we are is the greatest gift of life.
9. Don't trivialize or downplay the grieving person's experience. The ramification of a painful experience is long lasting. Do not negate the grieving person's pain or downplay the significance of the experience.
10. Empathize. In times of grief, the ability to share, via experience or just your presence, the sadness of someone you care about through a conscious effort to be compassionate is one of the most efficient ways to help in the grieving process. Empathy is one of the greatest, most respectable characteristics of humanity. Share it whenever and wherever you can.