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What is grief and how to move forward with it

It is hard to sum up the events between the last few years as anything other than challenging and painful. So how do we move forward into this New Year if we don’t feel “done” with the last one? Here we will take a look at grief, coping with loss, and moving forward with it.

Grief is defined as a natural response to loss of someone or something important to you. There are several steps to the grieving process, and each step is centered on a different emotion. Losing someone or something important to you can be truly hard to come to terms with, and navigating these different emotions can be challenging to handle on your own.

One thing to remember about grief is that it looks different for everyone. There is no correct way to grieve and no timeline for how long it will or should last.

“Add in a global pandemic and it can be especially difficult,” says Sherry Randles, Director of Crisis Services for Centerstone. “Even some of the important rituals of grieving have been taken from us such as memorial services and even the simple act of being physically present for a hug.”

In our fast-paced society, there is the temptation to “get over it” quickly and move on with your life. But it is vitally important to remember that you need to be patient with yourself. If you want to process your grief adequately, give yourself time and grace, especially after a year filled with hardships and disruptions.

The first step toward processing grief is recognizing the grief you feel and allowing yourself to feel it—try to sit with those emotions no matter how uncomfortable it might seem. While it may be preferable to try and forget what happened, pushing away your emotions might lead to other barriers that could prevent you from overcoming that grief.

“Avoidance is a defense mechanism that we use sometimes to protect ourselves from grief, but eventually it rears its ugly head and can ‘bubble up’ when you least expect it,” says Megan Williams, Director of Suicide Prevention for Centerstone.

When working through grief it is imperative that the individual acknowledges emotions and feelings, and does not ignore them. The best way to do this is by talking to someone about them. You can talk to a trusted friend, family member, mentor or mental health professional. Always be honest, and try to verbalize your feelings so you can both understand where you are in the grieving process.

There is no right or wrong way to grieve, and remember that your feelings are valid. When you are experiencing grief, it can be a painful process to endure but the importance of cycling through those emotions with other people, and actively processing them is how you begin to move forward.

If you need assistance processing grief, remember that Centerstone can help. Connect with us today by calling 1-877-HOPE123 (877-467-3123).

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