Loving Someone With BPD

4 Tips for Letting Go Of Regret

By Paul Triggs, LMSW

Regret is defined as “sorrow aroused by circumstances beyond one's control or power to repair” (Meriam-Webster, 2019). Regret is a common challenge that most people face at one time or another during their lives. For example, anytime you think back on the past and what could have happened or how things should have gone differently may lead to feelings of regret. Although, regret maybe a strong negative emotion, letting go of regret is possible if you implement these four tips.

⦁ Stop focusing on the mistake and try focusing on the lessons learned.

The benefit of shifting your thinking from what you did wrong to how this affected your decision making is a very important first step. For example, if you ate too much food at lunch and are feeling a sense of regret instead of being upset about how you feel after the meal try to focus on the point you felt satisfied. In turn, by focusing on the point you felt satisfied, your frame of thinking goes from ruminating about the point of excess to appreciating the point of pleasure.

⦁ Accept the circumstances and validate the risk.

The theory of accepting the circumstances is difficult and maybe the hardest hurdle to eliminating regret. On the other hand, if you take a chance to accept the circumstances you can look at your own role in this mistake and see if you even had an impact (Shreenivasan & Weinberger, 2018). For example, in NYC its common to arrive late to a location due to transit issues which could lead to feelings of individual regret. Although, feeling regretful about being late is a bad feeling this sometimes cannot be avoided and even on days you leave early to counteract delays unexpected issues occur and spoil your due diligence. In this case, you did everything in your power to arrive at your location on time and the negative result was out of your control.

⦁ Determine your acceptable level of satisfaction.

The benefit of deciding your acceptable level of satisfaction in the planning process will aid you to determine the minimum standards to achieve happiness. In other words, spending less time worrying about what is enough will help remove the urge to reflect on what you could have done better. Another trick to establish an acceptable level of satisfaction is ignore unimportant things that will not bring you happiness. In turn, ignoring unimportant things will help you focus on what really matters and the goal you are trying to achieve. One tool that could help with setting a baseline of an acceptable level of satisfaction is setting time limits on a task. Setting time limits on how much you are willing to invest in a project will help you identify which results were within your control and which outcomes were out of your reach (Boyes, 2016). For example, if you are attempting to complete a project at work that is difficult, set a limit each day of how much you are willing time you are realistically able to invest each day and stick to that schedule. In response, by sticking to that schedule you are establishing a boundary of acceptable performance which will help in determining what was out of your control and you can experience satisfaction for the hard work you contributed.

⦁ Believe in your ability to bounce back.

Regret after a poor outcome is a very common feeling that could happen after many different types of disappointment. For example, during life transitions most people feel regret about what they should have done and ruminate about how things could have gone differently. Although, seeing the negative side of a result has its place, try seeing the benefit of your experience and appreciate the fact that many bad decisions lack permanent consequences (Boyes, 2018). In other words, the fact that you can look back on your mistakes without having to live with the consequences proves that you did something right. In turn, making mistakes is inevitable, everyone is prone to poor periods of poor judgement but it’s not how an individual reacts to a success that makes them a champion but rather how they learn from failure.

Boyes, A. (2018). 5 Tips for Coping with Regret. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-practice/201808/5-tips-coping-regret

Boyes, A. (2016). How to Focus on What’s Important, Not Just What’s Urgent. Retrieved from: https://hbr.org/2018/07/how-to-focus-on-whats-important-not-just-whats-urgent

Regret. 2019. In Merriam-Webster.com. Retrieved February 18, 2019, from https:// https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/regret

A Snapshot of Brené Brown’s Study of Shame and Resiliency

By Amanda Polster, LMSW

“If you put shame in a petri dish, it needs 3 things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence, and judgment. If you put the same amount of shame in a petri dish and douse it with empathy, it cannot survive. The two most powerful words in a time of struggle are me too” - Brene Brown

Brené Brown, an American researcher, professor, author, and inspirational speaker, has spent two decades studying difficult emotional experiences such as courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. Brown’s extensive research has helped us understand how these emotions relate to each other, and how to work through difficult emotions like shame. In her recent book, I Thought It was Just Me (But It Isn’t) , Brown illustrates the power of shame and helpful tips to work towards shame resiliency. Whether its relationships, parenting styles, work environments, family dynamics, you name it, Brown demonstrates that shame impacts all of us,  it’s an unspoken epidemic, and the less we talk about it, the more power it has over our ability to feel connected.

Brown defines shame as “an intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging. Shame creates feelings of fear, blame, and disconnection.” She goes further to describe the gender organization of shame, in which “women most often experience shame as a web of layered, conflicting and competing social-community expectations that dictate who we should be, what we should be, and how we should be.” Brown’s definition highlights that shame is part of all of us, and is often impacted by the environment we live in and our gender identify.

Brown shares in her book that we often confuse shame with guilt because these two emotions can seem similar in the ways they impact us and our relationships. Yet, she helps us understand the important difference between shame and guilt: shame is focused on ourselves while guilt is focused on our behaviors. Some common thoughts below illustrate the differences between shame and guilt, and the impact shame has on our identify, self-confidence, and connection towards others.

 

Guilty Thought                                                          Shameful Thought

“I did something bad”                                                  “I am bad”

“I made a mistake”                                                      “I am a mistake”

“I made a stupid choice”                                             “I am stupid”

 

When we experience guilt, we have a strong desire to take accountability and ask for forgiveness from the person or people we harmed, which involves empathy, compassion, and courage. However, when we experience shame, we feel hopeless, isolated, and unforgiving. Brown describes how this harmful self view has been a leading cause for addiction, depression, violence, aggression, bullying, suicide, and eating disorders.

Shame is not a hopeless epidemic though. How do we build strength to work through some of our most shameful experiences? Brown shares some helpful tips on how to develop shame resiliency to overcome some of our deepest struggles.

To get out from underneath shame, we have to understand how it affects us and the relationships we have.

Brown describes the ways human connection - our ability to forge meaningful and authentic relationships with others - is on a spectrum where empathy is on one end and shame is on the other. She also illustrates the nob that moves us on this spectrum is vulnerability, where the more vulnerable we are - the more capable we are of sharing our strengths and struggles - the more empathy we hold. Brown uses four tips to help us move this vulnerability nob further from shame and closer towards empathy and shame resiliency.

 

1. Recognizing Shame and Understanding Triggers

Brown shares that the first step towards shame resiliency is recognizing shame and understanding our triggers. When we become more aware of our shame and things that increase these feelings, we can make mindful, thoughtful decisions about how we can respond to shame in a productive and healthy way. Brown provides a helpful companion worksheet to help us increase awareness, identity, and connection to counter shame symptoms. https://brenebrown.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/ITIWJMreadingguide.pdf

 

2. Practicing Critical Awareness

Brown helps us identify the ways shame can feel like the zoom lens on a camera; when we feel shame, the camera is zoomed in and all we see are our struggles and flaws. This experience can feel isolating, as if “I am the only one and something is completely wrong with me.” Brown challenges us to zoom this internal camera lens out to think more broadly about our struggles and to reflect on how these situations can be impacting many other people in the same way. We can begin to ask ourselves questions that challenge where expectations come from and what type of pressure we naturally feel as a result of these expectations to normalize our shame. Some questions Brown suggests we ask ourselves to increase critical awareness are:

•    What are the social-community expectations?

•    Why do these expectations exist?

•    How do these expectations work?

•    Who benefits from these expectations?

 

3. Reaching Out

“Regardless of who we are, how we were raised or what we believe, all of us fight hidden, silent battles against not being good enough, not having enough and not belonging enough. When we find the courage to share our experiences and the compassion to hear others tell their stories, we force shame out of hiding and end the silence”

 

Brown emphasizes in this tip the ways we can heal through our connections with others. She also highlights the ways we are more alike than we are different, in that we all need to feel valued, accepted and affirmed. Reaching out and giving space to hear other people’s stories of their internal struggles increases empathy and connection and reduces experiences of judgment and rejection. Brown shares six ways we can reach out to increase our connection with others and to use our voice as power to counter shame symptoms; she calls these the six P’s:

•    Personal: your interactions with family, friends and co-workers

•    Pens: writing a letter to organizational leaders and legislators

•    Polls: getting educated about leaders and issues, and voting

•    Participation: joining organizations that support your issues

•    Purchase: buying from companies that support your values

•    Protests: standing up for what you believe in

 

4. Speaking Shame

This is likely the toughest tip because it requires us to seek the vulnerability to share our shame experiences with others. Brown helps us understand the benefits of sharing and the ways storytelling helps us communicate who were are, how we feel, what’s important to us and what we need from others. Telling others how we feel and asking for what we need are basic requirements of resilience and connection. Brown also highlights that speaking shame holds people accountable for the ways their actions might have impacted us, and creates opportunities for others to increase empathy towards us to build stronger relationships.

 

While shame can feel deflating, there are many ways we can get out from under shame to build resiliency, courage, compassion, and empathy. If you are struggling with shame, we are here to help. Call us at 347.994.9301 to schedule an appointment to begin working through your experiences of shame together.

 

Take Control of Feeling Overwhelmed

By Kacie Mitterando, LMSW

“I am feeling so overwhelmed today”

“Life is just becoming extremely overwhelming.”

These are few of the statements surrounding overwhelm that I’ve recently heard in several of my sessions. Interestingly enough, I’ve noticed the majority of these statements expressed by those who are experiencing “all-or-nothing” behavior that is causing mild to moderate stress and anxiety in their day to day.

What is overwhelm anyways?

Webster’s dictionary defines overwhelm as “defeat completely” and “give too much of a thing to someone else.” As a therapist, I have been discovering that there’s much more than a simple dictionary definition to this emotion of overwhelm and where it initially stems from. Research led me to an important topic that many of us struggle with from time to time… balance.

Answer emails, answer your friends’ phone call, maintain a relationship with your partner, take the dog for a walk, keep up with the dishes and don’t forget to try to make it to the gym for your cardiovascular health. How do we manage all of this plus more without completely falling over backwards? Defining what’s a priority, reducing multitasking and setting boundaries may help us lead a more balanced life, however, why is this more difficult when we also find ourselves experiencing an “all or nothing” mentality (1)?

Our adult selves are able to handle stressors, threats to our emotional wellbeing and emergencies by using tools we have, such as self-soothing and coping modalities. Conversely, often times and especially when we’re experiencing “all or nothing” mindset we find ourselves thrown into our child self. This is described in theory as transactional analysis. Transactional analysis is a concept based in the principle that we can switch between a parent, adult and childlike ego state and therefore, assess and react to situations based on whichever state we are in (2).

So how do we move away from an all-or-nothing approach and towards our adult-like states to help us efficiently practice balance and reduce overwhelm?

Observe the ego state you are in throughout a conversation with someone you are close to:

When a conversation goes poorly it is often attributed to the conversation being on a sensitive topic. This may be a conversation about politics, religion, or sex. Ask yourself what ego state you were in when a conversation goes wrong. Did my child-like self respond when someone was seeking a parent response? What did I say that could have triggered the child-like self in this person that matters to me (4)?

Identify all or nothing language:

Recognize times in which you are using words such as “always,” “never,” and “every-time.” Some examples of instances in which we all may fall victim to using all or nothing language is statements like “my anxiety ruins everything,” “I will never fight the right person,” or possible to your partner- “you always forget to take the garbage out.” Once recognizing, spend some time thinking of ways in which you can replace this all-or-nothing language with a more realistic approach.

Avoid black and white extremes:

Black and white thinking is not always bad. In fact, it may have helped you get through some tough and challenging moments in life. However, black and white to the extreme can be dangerous and impact overall mood and well being. Once recognizing this thinking, ask yourself another way to look at this situation? For illustration, if a family member did something hurtful and you find yourself thinking “they are a completely terrible person.” Try and reframe this situation by asking yourself “could there be a reason why they made this decision (3)?”

Prioritize:

Make a list of what is important to you right now as well as your goals for the upcoming month. Lean on this outline to remind you to place importance on what you would like to get done so balancing tasks becomes a habit. This list doesn’t have to be limited to accomplishments at work or organizational tasks at home but should address many different parts of your life. It is perfectly OK to include in your prioritization list satisfying your social needs or setting a self-care schedule.

If you find yourself struggling with all-or-nothing thinking and your ability to achieve balance is not working, therapists are here to help.

How To Achieve Balance. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/happiness-in-world/201004/how-achieve-balance

Description of Transactional Analysis and Games by Dr. Eric Berne MD. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ericberne.com/transactional-analysis/

5 Ways Black and White Thinking Poisons Your Perspective. (2018, September 11). Retrieved from https://www.talkspace.com/blog/2018/07/black-white-thinking-ways-poisons-your-perspective/

Morad, N. (2018, February 28). How to Use Psychology to Communicate Better and Avoid Conflict. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@NataliMorad/how-to-communicate-better-with-transactional-analysis-d0d32f9d50da

4 Tips To Begin Prioritizing Your Mental Health

By Kacie Mitterando, LMSW

From the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep we are faced with a multitude of choices. In fact, some research has even shown that each and every one of us makes roughly 35,000 decisions a day. When broken down that equals 2,000 decisions an hour and even further… one decision every two seconds (1). Hopefully, on the majority of these days the choices are decently simple, which is why we don’t notice we are making them. What will I wear to work today? What will I eat for lunch? Do I want to workout in the morning or at night? Other times these choices can be much more difficult, these are the choices we seem plagued with and find ourselves thinking about often. Do I want to stay in this relationship? Is it time for me to move on from my place of employment? Do I continue to rent or do I purchase a home?

Research shows that decision-making, will power and self-control are all similar concepts in the sense that they can be fatigued. Essentially, this means that we each have a limit to the amount of decisions we are successfully able to make in a day. For some this may be 35,001 and for others this may be 34,000. Picture your decisions as a glass full of water and each time you take a sip, you begin to deplete your cup. Once all of the water is drained, there isn’t anywhere else to tap into, unless of course your cup is refilled. This may help explain why you feel extra exhausted after coming home from a long day at work in back-to-back meetings and also explains why many successful entrepreneurs, such as Mark Zuckerberg, wear the same outfit every day- to save his decision making ability for tougher and more important tasks (2).

This brings me to a tough decision that many of us face each day, the decision to heal from our emotional struggles when we sense our defense mechanisms, particularly denial kicking in during emotional pain.

Denial is normal.

Defense mechanisms are there to protect us and when you think about it intensely, they illustrate the true beauty and intelligence of the mind as it goes to such lengths to keep us emotionally safe. Sometimes we don’t even realize that we are using them.

 

Switching from denial to emotional healing:

1.      Acting as though a painful situation did not exist and discounting your feelings:

Sometimes it can be easier to deny a heartbreak or stressful situation at work than to face the challenge head on. However, honoring your pain and facing the facts of hurt are a pivotal piece in eliminating any unhappiness you may be experiencing.

2.      Allow this to teach you:

If denial is taking over during a stressful or emotionally painful situation, we take away from the powerful lessons that we may learn from it. While getting through the messy part of facing our fears or hurt can be excruciatingly difficult, asking yourself what this situation can teach you can allow you to grow in ways that may have not been possible.

3.      Punishing yourself and shoving the feelings deeper:

Remember that it is OK to take a break when things become difficult. While it is important to always do your best, it is equally important to remember that your best changes from day to day. Punishing yourself will only dig a deeper hole of emotional pain.

4.      Reach out to support systems:

Remind yourself of the people in your life that are positive supports and you can count on. Make a list of these people with their phone numbers if needed. The key to this is keeping track of those in your life who are positive. A piece of emotional healing may be facing those in your life who are not having a positive impact. In denial, we may continue a friendship or romantic relationship, or even pretend that all is well. However, to emotionally heal we must make the shift to healthy relationships.

 

Are you struggling with emotional healing? We understand. Schedule a 15-minute phone consultation with us today.

 

1. How Many Decisions Do We Make Each Day? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/stretching-theory/201809/how-many-decisions-do-we-make-each-day

 

2. Mesh, J. (n.d.). We Make 35K Decisions a Day-Here's How To Beat Decision Fatigue. Retrieved from https://advice.shinetext.com/articles/we-make-35k-decisions-a-day-heres-how-to-beat-decision-fatigue/

 

Taming Perfectionism With CBT

By Amanda Polster, LMSW

Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.” (Brown, 2010)

Perfectionism. That strong and often annoying desire  to accomplish everything unwaveringly and flawlessly. Research shows that perfectionism often leads to symptoms of anxiety and depression, and has increased over time with the influence of social media and technology (Schrijvers, 2010).

Perfectionism is defined as “the compulsive need to achieve and accomplish one’s goals, with no allowance for falling short of one’s ideals” (Neff, 2011). Sounds familiar right? While it is important to set goals and create a level of motivation to reach accomplishment, perpetually attempting perfectionism can actually hinder our ability to achieve our desires due to the enormous level of stress and anxiety it can cause. Setting incredibly high expectations often leads to disappointment and failure if full accomplishment is not achieved. 

Perfectionism does have an upside. Even if we drive ourselves crazy in the process, perfectionism can be an incredible determinator to do our best. “Striving to achieve and setting high standards for [ourselves] can be a productive and healthy trait” (Neff, 2011). The problem is, this mentality can become dangerous when our entire self worth is valued by our ability to accomplish everything perfectly, with no mistakes or room for error. 

Try these tips below to help relieve some of the anxiety and fear of failure that we experience when we set extremely high expectations and judge our worth based on accomplishing these goals. 

 

Acknowledging We Did Not Create this Culture Ourselves

Society places extreme pressure on us to achieve. We live in a society where individual success functions on a “survival of the fittest” culture. Making mistakes is viewed as failing instead of as opportunities to learn and grow. As a society, the interest to achieve perfectionism can lead to the belief that “the better I do, the better I’m expected to do” by others (Benson, 18). When we acknowledge that we did not create this culture, we can relieve ourselves of the blame of attempting to live a completely idealistic lifestyle. Identifying this societal standard can also normalize the perfectionist mentality and reduce feelings of isolation and beliefs that I am the only one who experiences this pressure.

 

Identify our Contrasting Values

Perfectionism may sound wonderful on the surface, but often contrasts with our interest in growing, learning, and continuing to set new goals. If we achieve perfection in every aspect of our life, we likely will experience boredom and a level of dissatisfaction because our desire to compete  and find new things to learn will be compromised. Living a perfect life in all realms will result in a lack of space to grow or develop. This is an opportunity to acknowledge our imperfections as not faults but as part of our humanity. Identifying our contrasting values also allows us to acknowledge the cliche yet real experience that we often learn more from our mistakes than our successes.

 

Setting Boundaries

One of my favorite authors, Brene Brown, discusses the importance of setting boundaries to improve self compassion and acceptance and counter feelings of perfectionism. Setting boundaries can be challenging, especially if we enjoy presenting as sweeter and perfect on the outside. However, study shows that the more compassionate a person is, the more boundary-conscious they are; the heart of compassion is actually acceptance (Brown, 2010). If we accept ourselves for our imperfections and flaws, we are more likely to hold others accountable for hurting us and less likely to allow others to take advantage of our kindness and support.

 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Imperfection

Worthiness does not have prerequisites; however we often assign prerequisites to our levels of worth in an effort to achieve perfection. Examples of these prerequisites might be…

 

            “I’ll be worthy if I get an A on this paper”

            “I’ll be worthy if he calls me back and asks me on another date”

            “I’ll be worthy if I lose 20 pounds”

            “I’ll be worthy if they offer me this job”

            “I’ll be worthy if I can hold my marriage together”

 

Often times, these prerequisites not only create additional feelings of anxiety to accomplish these expectations, but they also are expectations that may not completely be within our control. For example, if we take sole responsibility for repairing a relationship, we are holding our own blame as well as the blame of someone else - that must feel very heavy! Moreover, if we ground our worth in whether we get offered a job, this can result in displacing feelings of shame on ourselves where the decision is not a reflection of our capacities but a reflection of the decision of an agency.

 

Cognitive behavioral therapy can be a powerful tool and model in reframing and countering prerequisites to our feelings of worthiness. When we challenge some of these expectations and their impact on our worth, we can relieve ourselves of the pressure to accomplish everything perfectly. CBT can also support in reframing destructive self-talk language of blame and shame around not accomplishing tasks at our highest capacity to develop healthy self-talk language around compassion, courage, and care. Cultivating self-compassion as part of CBT allows us to reframe our experiences from imperfections to opportunities, identifying that the more imperfections we have, the more opportunities we have to grow.

 

Benson, Etienne. The many faces of perfectionism. 2003. Vol 34, No. 10.

 

Brown, Brene. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. Brene Brown. 2010.

 

Schrijvers, Didier L., Ellen R. A. De Brujin, Marianne Destoop, Wouter Hulstijn, Bernard G. C. Sabbe. The impact of perfectionism and anxiety traits on action monitoring in major depressive disorder. 2010. Vol 117, Issue 7. pp 869-880. Journal of Neural Transmission.

 

Neff, Kristin. Self Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself. Kristin Neff. 2011.

Coping with Loss During the Holiday Season

By Amanda Polster, LMSW

Grief and bereavement are natural experiences of life, and none of us are immune to this type of pain. At some point in our lives, we have experienced grief – a death of a loved one, a loss of a job or financial security, divorce or relationship separation, an estranged family member, a miscarriage, ongoing trauma that compromises senses of safety, etc. Although a healthy response to loss, grief can lead to suffering and symptoms of depression if we are unable cope and feel supported during these tumultuous experiences.

 

The intensity of grief is often related to the attachment to the person or thing we lost. For example, if we lose someone very close to us - a partner, a friend, a parent, a sibling, a child - we will be more impacted and challenged to accept reality that this person is no longer here.

 

The correlation between our attachment to someone and the impact their loss has on our lives is not to discourage healthy and strong relationships at the fear of potential loss; it is the contrary. By experiencing healthy attachment relationships, we gain a greater connection with our identity and needs. If we are challenged with a sudden loss and are left questioning how to repair or fill this void in our lives, we are given an opportunity to identify our needs during this difficult life experience. We can ask ourselves questions that can prompt a greater sense of self compassion and connectedness. Anodea Judith, an American author, therapist, and public speaker grounds her work in internal healing methods, and suggests asking ourselves these questions in time of grief and crisis:

 

“Why was this person in particular so special to me?” 

“What did this person bring to me that I am missing in myself?” 

“What part of me was particularly bonded to this person, and what does that part need?” 

 “What have I lost touch with in myself as a result of this ending, and how can I nurture and regain that part of myself once again?” (Judith, 278)

 

Along with these thoughtful questions, below are some additional practices that can move us from pain towards healing in times of emotional adversity.

Connecting to Our Heart Center

“When our heart is heavy with grief, it is hard to open, even hard to breathe. When grief is denied, we become numb to our feelings and our aliveness. We become hard and cold, rigid and distant. We may feel dead inside. When grief is acknowledged and expressed, however, we find a vital key to opening the heart. Tears are shed, truth expressed, and the heart lightens. The breath deepens. There is a sense of spaciousness that emerges, allowing more room inside for our spirit. Hope is reborn. Coming to terms with our own grief leads toward compassion for others”

 

Grief challenges and counteracts the heart’s connection to ourselves and others, and makes it feel closed and heavy. For this reason, feelings of isolation and disconnect are common in times of need. In these distressing times, it is important to allow ourselves to share our pain with others to relieve the heaviness of these moments. Times of grief are a perfect opportunity to validate that not being ok is ok, and feeling pain is part of our humanity. Validating our state of grief allows our hearts to open during this process to begin working through the pain.

 

Using Mindfulness Practices to Grieve

“Grief, after all, is not a pathology or an illness, but a natural part of life that causes us to experience suffering. Since the goal of mindfulness practices is the cessation of suffering, it can only make sense to bring the two together” (Stang, 10).

 

The good thing about mindfulness practices is they are easily accessible - all you need is yourself. Mindfulness allows us to pay attention to our bodies with observance and curiosity, eliminating acts of judgment that come naturally, especially during times of grief. Mindfulness can help relieve various emotional expression: stress that come with expectations to grieve within a certain period of time; anger that comes naturally with the loss of someone or something we are attached to; denial that the information in front of us cannot be true.

Qualities that come from using mindfulness to work through grief:

            -improved self-perception

            -improved sense of strength

            -improved level of compassion

            -better relationship with others[1]

 

Breathe. A helpful mindfulness practice during bereavement is focusing on our breath. When grief causes panic, focusing on our breath can be very soothing and calming, and relieve us of the immediate overwhelm during adversity.

 

 

Tapping Into our Support System

When we lose someone close to us, it can feel disturbing or discontenting, as if pieces of our identity have been removed or lost as well. In these times, it can be easy to try to fill that void by taking on the role of healer and making sure loved ones around you are safe and supported. This act of kindness can demonstrate our unconditional support for those closest too us. While this might feel powerful and helpful as a distraction, it is important to ask ourselves:

“What do I need right now?”

“Am I allowing myself the time to grieve?”

“Why is it important to me to help others at this time?”

 

Additional Resources

Honor yourself for your openness to explore this time of adversity with hope and optimism.

 

Grief is very powerful.

 

It can change your relationship to others, your worldview, and your relationship to yourself. The energy that comes with grief can influence our physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional capacities. However, we have the power to determine how we grieve. We have the ability to allow grief to either hinder our progression or become an opportunity for self reflection compassion, and acceptance. This form of acceptance does not mean we have to fully accept that our loved one is no longer with us, but we can accept our ability to move forward and to have a different yet still personal relationship with someone who holds a special place in our hearts.

 

If you are seeking additional support to work through your grief, we can help. Contact Us Today for a free 15 minute consultation.

 

1.      Judith, Anodea. Eastern Body Western Mind. 2004. Anodea Judith.

2.      Stang, Heather. Mindfulness and Grief: With Guided Meditation. 2014. CICO Books.


[1] Stang, Heather. Mindfulness and Grief: With Guided Meditation. 2014. CICO Books.