Although most people associate grief with the loss of a loved one, any form of loss can lead to feelings of grief. Sometimes incorrectly referred to as “disenfranchised grief,” feelings of loss can also be triggered by the loss of a pet or job, miscarriage, amputation, and separation from a life partner, to mention a few.
Grieving and the sadness that accompanies it doesn’t have to be triggered by what most would consider a “significant loss.” What matters is that you’re mourning. If you’re grieving right now or know someone who is, here are three resources you can turn to to help you get through this difficult time.
1. Grief Counseling
Bereavement counseling, also known as grief counseling, is a form of psychotherapy that helps the bereaved person cope with their loss. The grieving process is complicated and affects people differently, and a mental health professional—grief counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist—can help you address your feelings in the aftermath of your loss.
Grief therapy helps individuals cope with the physical pain that’s sometimes associated with a major loss. It also allows the individual to make peace with their new reality, such as life without the person who passed away. If the person you lost was part of your daily routine—a partner who handled the bills—a grief counselor can help you build resilience and empower you to manage these tasks on your own.
The death of a partner or primary family member—parent, child, sibling—can also make you feel like you’ve lost your sense of self. Besides causing deep sadness, losses as big as these also give you a new identity. For instance, you may now be a widow, widower, or single parent if you’ve lost a spouse. You may be an orphan if you’ve lost one or both parents. A grief therapist can help you accept these new identities, in your own time.
Although taking up a meditation practice won’t take away the pain of loss, it’ll help you develop compassionate intention as you go through the grieving process. In other words, it’ll help you cultivate self-compassion and help you accept the loss and where you are in the grief process.
There are different types of meditation for healing and grief, and the type you choose will depend on where you are in the stages of grief. If you’re having a hard time accepting the reality of your new life, a mindfulness meditation practice can gently nudge you to focus on the present moment and accept it for what it is. It can also help you build resilience as you go through the grieving and healing process.
If you’re feeling a buildup of anger and frustration, a relaxation meditation practice can help you find new ways to release the tension that this anger creates in the body.
3. Support Groups
Joining a bereavement support group is a great way to manage some symptoms of grief. The grieving process is known to generate feelings of isolation and loneliness. However, being around people who’ve experienced your type of grief can offer some level of comfort. If you need help finding a grief support group in your area, ask your mental health provider to recommend one.
If you have a friend or coworker who’s experienced grief, ask them about their experience with a grief support group. If you lead a deeply isolated life, grief support groups are also a great way to build a support system. If you’re having a hard time leaving the house, online group sessions are also available through sites like Online Grief Support and Grief Anonymous. Going through grief is a difficult process, and you don’t have to go through it alone.