Four Suggestions On How To Deal with Bereavement

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how to deal with bereavement

Different types of bereavement have different effects

Bereavement is the state or condition one is in after losing a loved one (as opposed to “grief” which is what we feel about the loss). Bereavement can have effects on a person’s nervous system, immune system, physical and mental state. It also impacts on children and adults in different ways. Bereavement comes in different types but here are four suggestions on how to deal with bereavement no matter what type it belongs to.

Bereavement depends on whom you lose

There are different types of bereavement depending upon whom you lose, and each type has its own effects:

➢ Losing a child – Hearing the news of your child’s death can turn your world upside down. It makes a parent feel that the natural order of things (“children should bury their parents and not vice versa”) has been upset. Parents can resort to shutting down and blocking out everything, including each other, in order to keep from being overwhelmed, often leading to a strained relationship between partners.

➢ Losing a parent – When a father or mother dies, you lose part of yourself, part of your past and someone you psychologically lean on, no matter how old you are. For a child, it usually means losing the most significant person in his or her life. This confuses the child and puts the burden of single parenthood on the surviving partner.

➢ Losing a partner – The death of a partner means losing the person one relies on for physical and emotional support. Filling the roles of the departed partner can overwhelm the surviving spouse and leave many tasks neglected.

➢ Losing a friend – An unrelated friend’s death leaves a huge gap in one’s life. Love, trust and security are lost including hopes and dreams for the future. This can leave a person feeling isolated, lonesome and depressed, sometimes frantically trying to find someone to fill the gap.

➢ Losing a pet – Sometimes, losing a beloved pet can be like losing a family member or a friend. Thoughts of guilt mingle with the pain and suffering at having lost a loyal and constant companion.

What you can do to deal with every type of bereavement

Regardless of the type, here are four ways on how to deal with bereavement.

1. Give yourself time – Bereavement is a big change in one’s life and you need time to adjust to the change. Take things slowly and don’t make any major decisions for at least six months. Don’t expect too much from yourself and give yourself some leeway to be disorganized and make mistakes.

2. Look after yourself – Take care of yourself both physically and emotionally. On the physical side, get enough sleep but avoid sleeping pills; exercise regularly, even if it’s only a relaxed walk; eat properly and stay away from alcohol or drugs. For your emotional wellbeing, boost your self-esteem by focusing on things you achieve every day; give yourself a treat at least once a week.

3. Confront your feelings – Write down what you feel, talk to family and friends about what you’re going through. Meditation is an effective way to deal with your feelings. Meditation stimulates the nervous system and the brain, increasing your tolerance to stress and anxiety. The sadness and depression you feel during bereavement are gradually removed by proper, regular sessions of meditation.

4. Get help – Sometimes, bereavement can be just too much to handle on your own. If you need to consult a physician or therapist, don’t hesitate to do so. Joining a support group will get you in contact with persons going through the same difficulty. Listening to how others cope can give you some ideas that will help you through.

It’s a very rare individual who will not suffer the loss of a loved one. Remember these four ways on how to deal with bereavement when you find yourself going through it.


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