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The two sides of the same coin…Happiness and Grief

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In these hard times that we are facing, witnessing so many natural and manmade disasters, lucky are those who are safe in their world, with their loved ones.
Unfortunately, grief is as much a part of life as happiness. We can’t have light without darkness. Happiness doesn’t exist without grief. They are two sides of the same coin.
I feel compelled to write and hope to add some coping mechanisms to our lives, with some simple suggestions that can assist us in the time of grief and tragedy, making us strong, encouraging us to gather ourselves and keep going ahead. After all life is meant for the Living.

Grief can have a strong negative impact on our life. We may start to neglect those who are close to us and still need our attention and love…Our work and even our health can suffer. We have to focus on the living and rise above the pain that wrenches our hearts.

We may associate grief with the death of a loved one—which is often the cause of the most intense type of grief—but any loss can cause grief, including:

  • Divorce or relationship breakup
  • Loss of health
  • Losing a job
  • Loss of financial stability
  • A miscarriage
  • Retirement
  • Death of a pet
  • Loss of a cherished dream
  • A loved one’s serious illness
  • Loss of a friendship
  • Loss of safety after a trauma
  • Selling the family home

Learning how to handle grief in a positive way is a valuable life skill.

Grief can actually provide the seeds for happiness, if we know how to nurture them.

During times of grief, there are things we can do to make the best of the situation:

    1. Be grateful. One of the best things we can do ( I can personally vouch for this practice) each day is to make a gratitude list. List all the things that are good in our life. Focusing on the positive lessens the blow of grief and helps us to move ahead with hope.
      • Make it a habit to spend 5 minutes each day listing the good things about that day, preferably just before sleep.
      • Think of 3 thing…simple things…that made you smile or brought ease to your heart and mind
      • Think of 3 things that you could have done better (Let me know how that made you feel, after practicing it for 2 weeks, do it even if you not grieving, it’s a soul fuel)
    2. Focus on the things we can control. We spend much of our lives worrying over things beyond our control. This is time and energy that’s simply wasted. Enjoy the loved ones, Spend time with them making new memories and laughing about the old. In simple words, live here and NOW with those who make it worth living.
    3. Focus on the people we still have in our life. Our relationships are the only thing that will really matter to us at the end of your life. Let our loved ones know just how much they mean to us. Show them; tell them that we care and that they make our life worth living.
      • Make that phone call and write that letter or the email that we been putting off. One day, it really will be too late. There’s no point in keeping our love to ourselves.
      • Hug our children, Tell our Parents we love them, Hold the hands of our Spouses…smile at people and acknowledge their presence.
    4. Remember the good things. When someone is gone, we still have access to many wonderful memories. Remember the good times together and the loving moments. Reflect on the live well lived and cherish that. Point is, what do you choose to focus on??? The good, happy loving time or the emptiness… remember what we focus on grows.
    5. Rely on friends and family for support. Sharing adversity brings people closer together. That’s why old war buddies are always there for each other. It’s same reason why doctors remain close with their former medical school classmates.
      • Sharing our grief with others is a strong bonding experience. It’s one more opportunity to bring positivity to difficult times. Reach out to others, of all you know they might also be waiting for you to reach out to them and just didn’t know how to or whether you wanted to.
    6. Honor the memory. Do something in memory of your loved one. Did they adore children? Perhaps you could volunteer with a local children’s charity or sponsor a childs education. Everyone we love have special things that make them smile… we need to find that and honor that, it’s one of the most satisfying act that we can undertake for those we love and have lost.
    7. Look for universal support. Grief can be a great impetus to strengthening or beginning our spiritual life. Now might be the perfect time to go join a meditation class or listen to some motivational speaker or join a yoga center, anything that give us hope and we have faith in. There is a strength and support available from the around us that we may have been neglecting for a while.
    1. Allow the grief to turn into something positive. Spend some time considering what’s important in our life and make some positive changes. Perhaps spend more time with our children, take that holiday that we always wanted, learn a new skill, take a self-development workshop… find that strength that is within us and grow from and with it.

Everyone is forced to deal with grief at some point in their life. It’s challenging, but taking these steps will both lessen the grief and enable us to get something positive from it. Go slowly, but keep moving in a positive direction. There is always a silver lining, if only we focus and dig deep to look for it.

(Writer is a Life & Image Coach and practices in Mumbai, India)

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