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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Barsky

How Mindfulness Can Help You Cope with Grief

When you’re in the midst of grief, it can feel like you will never be truly happy again. At the same time, it seems like everyone wants you to put on a happy face and stay positive.

To you, this feels impossible—you’re distraught over the loss of your loved one, and you know you need time before you can truly move forward. Unfortunately, our society tends to respond to grief with toxic positivity. Many people are faced with the suggestion that they need to cheer up and get back to “normal” as soon as possible.

But the truth is that accepting these complicated emotions is the only way to heal. That’s where mindfulness comes in. Here’s how mindfulness can help you navigate the grieving process.

Stay Present

Mindfulness is all about staying present. When you’re grieving, this can be a gift. If you have recently lost someone you love, you may find yourself reflecting on the past or trying to imagine your future without them on a daily basis.

When you practice mindfulness, you give yourself a few moments to simply exist in the present. These moments can be a welcome respite.

Avoid Judgments

Grieving brings lots of difficult emotions. Some days, you may feel sad, while on others, you might feel angry. There might be moments when you feel relieved because your loved one suffered greatly before they died. And at other moments, you might feel incredibly anxious as you try to picture yourself going through life without them around.

It can be hard not to judge yourself for the way you feel in the aftermath of a loss. Mindfulness invites you to resist the urge to judge yourself. Instead, you can let yourself feel however you feel. You do not have to judge yourself for challenging emotional reactions.

Honor Your Loved One’s Memory

Through mindfulness, you can find a beautiful way to honor your loved one’s memory. Perhaps you will find yourself reflecting on how loved their presence made you feel, and where you can still feel that presence in your daily life.

You might even think about the qualities your loved one possessed that you may want to emulate.

Fully Feel Your Emotions

In a culture that is always telling you to keep your chin up and look on the bright side, even when you’re grieving a devastating loss, you might try to suppress your emotions. But you can only ignore grief for so long.

If you try to repress your grief, you will only prolong the grieving process and you will likely end up feeling even worse. Mindfulness gives you the space to feel your emotions fully without trying to keep anything inside. You do not have to hold back your grief when you practice mindfulness.

The Path to Peace

It may sound counterintuitive, but being mindful and accepting your grief is the only way to truly heal. It’s important to note that healing does not mean forgetting about your loved one or never feeling sad again.

It means reaching a place of acceptance and understanding that you will experience joy again. You do not have to rush yourself to this point and trying to do so can cause an even deeper hurt.

Practicing mindfulness means that you are slowly walking down your own path to inner peace on a timeline that honors your grief. The only way to overcome these emotions is by accepting how you feel.

Are you struggling with grief over the loss of a loved one? Working with a therapist can help. Reach out to me today to discuss your options for scheduling your first session.

For more information on therapy for trauma, check out this link!


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