Grieving is inevitable
I’ve been thinking a lot about broken hearts recently. Whether it’s death by a thousand cuts over a long period of time or a dramatic, instantaneous loss, heart ache is pulsating in my awareness.
Grieving is not a skill that society teaches or supports, particularly here in the Western world. In fact, we have a predilection for believing that we are entitled to unbridled happiness, at all times. When we experience loss and the attending heartbreak, we are often unclear as to how to stay present, even frightened by navigating these painful emotions. We turn to our many ways of numbing ourselves…drugs, alcohol, and overworking to name a few.
The right way to handle Grief
I recently lost one of my very best friends in a shockingly fast departure after finding out about her progressed cancer. I was catapulted into shock and couldn’t even access my grief initially. However, I knew that if I stayed aware and present, that if I resisted the impulse to “get busy” as a means of numbing myself, that soon the heartache would emerge. And emerge it did.
While grief is a natural and unavoidable part of the human experience, there is such a thing as “healthy mourning.”
I have experienced many losses in my lifetime, death, jobs, friendships, even the death of who I thought I was supposed to be. I have learned that what helps me the most in my healthy grieving is my creativity. Research shows that experiencing loss and sadness results in deactivation of the left prefrontal areas of the brain. While the left hemisphere specializes in positive emotions like joy and hope, the right hemisphere dispenses emotions like anxiety. Unsurprisingly, the right hemisphere is more active during periods of grief. This is where right-brained creativity can serve you.
Mourning is an opportunity for Growth
Understand mourning as an opportunity for personal growth and a deeper sense of self-compassion. This leads to boosted creativity and a renewed sense of purpose.
- Journal your feelings. Often, we experience anger with a loss. Allow this without judgement. Keep asking yourself why you’re feeling these emotions and let your thoughts empty onto the page. Be curious about your answers and keep asking why.
- Dance. Turn on some music and move. Get into your body in any way that feels good to you. We hold emotion in our body and somatic work can brilliantly help in the healing process. Deep breathing work, massage, yoga, walks in nature, a great game of basketball. Allow what you love and what you’re curious about to lead you.
- Sing. This opens your throat chakra where we can hold a lot of grief. Sing, talk-sing, lullaby your sadness. Allow the tears to flow, and don’t be afraid of that lump in your throat.
- Paint, draw, collage. Connect with images that feed your thoughts and emotions around your grief. Allow the story and deeper truths to emerge.
Allow yourself the time to learn to grieve. By all means consider well known support systems like therapy or grief counseling groups but understand that grieving is an on-going process and that you can grow your mourning muscle. It is the work of being human to stay present to both the joy and the grief of life.
For further details or questions on how you develop Creativity and create greater resiliency for you and your team, to maximize impact, productivity and balance, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org