Sadly, there is much grief and distress in our communities right now. Events far and near touch us deeply, as we mourn for lost lives and senseless suffering. Grief is a very intense, sad feeling that we experience when we lose something precious. It does not matter what the item is, if it is important to us, we are likely to grieve if we lose or begin to lose it.

We especially grieve for other vulnerable, innocent human beings, adults and especially children. My eyes were more than a little moist this morning when I watched the television news while waiting for my dental appointment, and saw the flowers placed as caring memorials in Melbourne CBD. 

Understanding Grief

Understanding grief helps us to come to grips with it. Generally speaking, grief is tied to attachment. As we go through life, we cannot help but become attached to things. Some personality types are more inclined to become attached to things than others. For them, grieving is a very likely experience when the attachment is broken, even to what might seem small things to others.

Other personality types will also grieve when they lose something precious. It is a universal experience, and it is likely that no-one will escape it. But you can see from this that being able to manage our grieving feelings is important, as otherwise, we could not get on with our lives.

Things that cause us to grieve are loss of people, health (including illness or the loss of a limb or faculty), experiences, homes, jobs – in fact anything a person finds is important to them. Grief is a very individual experience. What matters deeply to one person may have little value for another.

Managing Grief

If we experience grief, there are things we can do to feel better. A good first thing is to realise that grieving is a ‘normal’ experience to an ‘abnormal’ situation. This can be very comforting. If you experience very unfamiliar feelings, you might worry that you’re going mad or there’s something wrong with you. Rest assured, that it is normal, and it will pass.

Once you are assured that what is happening to you is ‘okay’ in a sense, then you can avoid adding unnecessary stresses to your grief. Grieving times are times in which you need to give care to yourself. Amidst the disturbance that might be occurring, do remember that you matter too. Avoid self-neglect. Listen to you body. Sleep more if you need to. Time alone and time with friends and loved ones – both are important.

For more information see Grief and Loss and Managing Grief and Loss. And if you need to, talk to a counsellor or other grief therapist.

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Between Stimulus and Response, man has the freedom to choose (Stephen Covey)