Dealing with grief is one of the most painful things in life that we can experience. The finality of losing someone (or something) can trigger a range of emotions from anger, anxiety, sadness, and even depression. When dealing with grief, it can feel like you can’t move forward or you don’t know how you’re going to be able to live in a world without the person (or thing) you lost.
Learning how to process the sometimes overwhelming emotions of grief can be helpful. There are many ways to do this. One is through the use of a simple form of mindful meditation. Meditation can be a practice of calm and silence, where the racing thoughts and worries in your mind can be “quiet” for a moment of reflection. Through meditation, you can learn to open up to your emotions, assess your feelings, and come to a place of acceptance and peace with your grief.
Meditation for dealing with grief
- Find a quiet/comfortable space where you can be alone for some time. Ideally 5 – 20 minutes. (More if you like)
- Play some soft ambient music if you like with headphones if you prefer or on a speaker.
- Close your eyes and begin by taking slow, deep breaths. In the nose and then slowly exhale through your mouth. Exhale all of the oxygen in the air from your lungs. You’ll know you’re doing it correctly when you feel your chest start to sink in and your core engage. Let your lungs fill up again and slowly release all of the oxygen from them again. Do this 5 to 10 times and then let your breath find its natural rate and rhythm. Note: when breathing this way you should be exhaling about 2-3 times longer than the amount of time you inhale. Think: inhale for 5 seconds, exhale for 10-15 seconds.
- Notice whatever thoughts are present at this moment. Try to maintain an attitude of openness toward the thoughts. Don’t try to push them away or make them stop. This will only cause frustration.
- Begin by trying to imagine the face of the person you are missing, and imagine them with you now. If you struggle to visualize their face, you can simply imagine a memory or the feeling of what it was like to be with them.
- Express anything you would like to to them. Focus on an attitude of love and compassion. Again, if it’s helpful you can reimagine a memory.
- Put yourself back in time with them and imagine experiencing everything in that moment with them.
- Thank them for coming to visit you.
- End in a peaceful and loving goodbye.
- Slowly bring your awareness back to the room. Notice the sensation of your feet on the floor on, your back against the surface you are laying on. Notice the sensation of your breath as it goes in through your nose and out through your mouth. Notice any other sensations in your body as you start to come back to the present moment and open your eyes.
You can try this meditation anytime you feel the need to do so. Be aware that emotions will come to the surface and that is to be expected. Sometimes they may be painful and sometimes they may not. The moment you try to control, stop, avoid, or push them away, it will only make it worse.
There are also dozens of apps you can download for your phone to help guide through different meditations. Simply search “meditation” in the App Store. You can also do the same on YouTube for “meditations for dealing with grief.”
There is no one way or right way to grieve. Everyone copes with grief differently. There is also no timetable or deadline. Dealing with grief is personal for each individual, but there is only one way to get through it: by processing/experiencing/exploring whatever emotions come up along the way.
Life is short. But sometimes dealing with grief isn’t. If you’re struggling with painful emotions resulting from grief, find an awesome grief therapist you like and trust to help you unpack and sort through your emotions.
James Killian, LPC is the Principal Therapist & Owner of Arcadian Counseling in New Haven, CT where they specialize in helping over-thinkers, high achievers, and perfectionists reduce stress, increase fulfillment and enhance performance so they can move From Surviving To Thriving.