How to Cope with Loss
Throughout our lives we experience times of happiness, doubt, despair, and also sadness. Although we’re not always prepared to cope with loss, it’s a necessary part of life. We have to learn to let go sometimes, even of the most important people in our lives, but it can be incredibly hard to do so.
There are many different types of loss. Changing from one school to another, when parents separate, loss of a job, moving away from the people you love… but one of the hardest to bear is the loss of a loved one. Perhaps you’ve heard about the different stages of grieving that describe the natural progression we all go through when someone close to us passes away. They consist of feelings of:
- Denial, where the person refuses to believe or accept what has happened
- Anger, when the person who has suffered a loss feels angry about the entire situation and time period related to the individual they have lost
- Bargaining, where they begin to understand why these things have happened and strive to look for a way to move on
- Sadness, this is the period of realization when they realize that the loss is permanent – this is one of the most critical stages of grief
- Depression, which can be the most time-consuming stage and the most difficult to get through
- Acceptance, when the depression fades away and the grieving person begins to understand that life moves on, in spite of their loss
Sometimes it’s not necessary to go through all six stages in the order that we’ve listed here, but in general it’s a progression that allows us to move little by little towards accepting and overcoming our grief. Obviously, we will always remember the person or thing we’ve lost with sadness and nostalgia, but those feelings gradually become less painful. Time is the only true remedy for these situations, but we also want to share a few recommendations that might help you cope with loss and feel better emotionally.
Express Your Feelings
Don’t be worried if one day you’re angry, the next day you feel resigned to accept it, and the next you just want to cry. The loss of a loved one isn’t something that happens very often, so it’s important to express your feelings – whatever they are – and know that holding them in will only cause more pain and psychological or physical harm; the health of the mind is very closely linked to the health of your body, as well.
Make a List of the Good Things in Your Life
When you’re depressed you might feel like your life has no meaning, or that only bad things happen to you, but don’t think that all is lost. Keep a diary or make a list of the important things in your life – your partner, work, your job, siblings, parents, friends…and keep in mind the saying about the glass being half full or half empty – you’ll realize that even though you have lost someone, there are so many other things around you that bring you happiness.
Try not to distance yourself from your family and friends. They’re the ones who will bring you the love that you need and will always be available to talk to you about the person you’ve lost. Talk about your feelings, and you can also find a good psychologist – they’ll understand what you’re going through and can help you cope.
Don’t Allow Yourself to be Bitter
Sometimes people who are grieving engage in an internal battle for years, always wearing black and avoiding any opportunity to enjoy life and share joys with others. Don’t fall into this trap – try to engage yourself in things that bring your spirits up, encourage you, and even distract you from falling back into depression.
Don’t Neglect Your Health
In times of depression it’s normal to lose the desire to eat, sleep, and generally neglect our appearance. But it’s critical to remember that the last thing you need right now is an illness or another setback, so eat well, get plenty of sleep, avoid alcohol and tobacco, and don’t take depressants if they haven’t been prescribed by a doctor.
Getting over the loss of someone we love is hard, but it’s not impossible. Embrace the feelings that you feel throughout the process and follow our suggestions – remember that your goal is to overcome your grief, and know that you won’t feel this pain forever.