5 Ways to Deal with Grief Recovery Setbacks

GriefHelp.org


by Ryan Rivera

One of the most difficult aspects of grief recovery is the fact that the process of grieving is a highly individualized process. Because the grief process is different for every person, it is impossible to know, for example, how much time it will take for your grief to abate, the severity of its psychological effects, and most of all the triggers that can cause you to regress to an earlier, more painful state.

Recovery setbacks can happen at any time: you may still have been hurting when you were pushed into a deepened state of distress, or you may even have finally begun to feel normal again when you unexpectedly found yourself experiencing an emotional breakdown. Whatever your situation, the following guide will help you to prevent any unwanted consequences that your emotional setback might result in and minimize the damage to yourself and others.

Managing Your Grief Setback in a Healthy Manner

There are good strategies and bad strategies for dealing with grief setbacks. Bad strategies like becoming disappointed with yourself, blaming others, hiding your feelings and shutting yourself away are dangerous for your health and may ultimately result in further psychological damage.

Outlined below are 5 good strategies for dealing with recovery setbacks.

  • Acknowledge the Experience – The worst thing you can do is to try and deny to yourself (or hide from others) the fact that you are undergoing a painful experience. Even if you are trying to present a stoic and/or healthy face to the world, resisting or pushing down your pain will only cause you further distress in the long run. Be honest with yourself and with others, because the more you are able to support yourself internally, and the more the people around you understand what is going on in your life, the stronger and better able to cope you will be.
  • Keep to Familiar Routines – When you experience a grief setback, your emotions are unexpectedly knocked off-balance. To regain a sense of balance and psychologically reassure yourself that your life is stable, try and stick to regular daily activities. These can be simple as waking up at a certain hour every day, eating your meals on time, or making daily journal entries of your thoughts and activities. It may not seem like much, but your body will be unconsciously reassured and react by helping you to heal more quickly.
  • Spend Time With Supportive People – Whether they are family, a close friend, a therapist or a counselor, people who will listen to you with sympathy and treat you gently are crucial during a setback. In addition to reminding you that you are cared for, being around supportive people when you are going through a difficult time will help you stay aware of your own behavior in comparison to others and avoid slipping into unhealthy habits.
  • Focus on the Present – To prevent yourself from shutting reality out and retreating too deeply into your suffering, notice the world around you. Wherever you happen to be: in a grocery store, walking through a park, or just lying in bed, notice the sounds, smells, colors and textures of the world in the present moment without assigning them any value, good or bad, and simply “be” in the moment.
  • Seek Help – Even if you are using the four above methods and starting to feel better, you may still need to find someone professional to talk to. If funds are an issue for you, be sure and search for free services offered in your community, by phone or on internet sites devoted to mental health, which often offer live chat sessions (via instant messaging or webcam) with trained professionals. Help is available to you—all you need to do is ask.

Recovering from grief is a process that requires patience, strength and support. You have all these things, no matter who you are. By maintaining a healthy mindset and engaging in healthy activities, you will have set yourself back on the road towards recovery.

— Ryan Rivera has seen the incredible way that grief causes anxiety and stress. He writes about anxiety to help others at www.calmclinic.com.

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