If you quickly answered YES to the question in the title or if you are new to grief, just stick with me and I will give you practical tools to get out of the victimhood that grief may have on you.
As a yoga instructor, essential oils educator with an MA in Psychology, I am very aware how the language we use is an insight to our thought patterning, our thought patterns create emotions, those emotions create physical sensations in the body and then we take action (or not). Then the cycle starts all over again.
Here is a personal example of this cycle. A friend complains to me about a fight they had with their sibling. The thought pops into my head, “At least his sibling is around to fight with, my sister is dead.” I then get super angry (emotion). Before I know it, my jaw gets tight, my hands clench into fists and I start sweating. I then run to the refrigerator and grab a beer/ piece of cake. And I think, “I am an idiot for grabbing that beer/cake.” Which generates more emotion, which leads to different actions. If we can differentiate our thoughts from our feelings from our physical actions, we can restructure the pattern and create joy-inducing habits, like going for a run instead of grabbing the beer/cake.
Tips to restructure the cycle.
- Be mindful of the words you use. If you are always complaining about how terrible life is or how tired you feel, then find something to be grateful for. Where we focus our mind, our attention and energy follow. Our thoughts become the things we see in our life.
- Find a quiet seat, close your eyes and focus on your breathing for 3-5 minutes. Give yourself permission to think the thoughts in your head without attaching to them. Do it every day. Consistency is more important than the length of time.
- Take out a notebook and pen, open to a blank page, set a timer for 5-10 minutes, ask yourself “What do I need to let go of today?”, start the timer and dump all of your thoughts on paper.
- Diffuse grounding/ up-lifting essential oils. Our olfactory bulbs (sense of smell) are directly connected to our Limbic Brain (controller of emotion). So you can modulate your emotions depending on the essential oil you use. There are many essential oils on the market, some are pure and some are synthetic. So please educate yourself and purchase pure essential oil. I have included my email and website below.
- Find a hobby that brings you joy. Make sure you engage in that hobby weekly. Joy begets Joy. If you allow yourself to feel happy at least once a week, you are training yourself to be happy more often.
- Find a support group to talk about your feelings. We are all wired for connection. Talking about and giving yourself permission to feel your feelings allows them to be released. When you do it in the presence of others, you feel less alone.
- Dance like no one is watching. Go into a private space in your house, pick your favorite music, crank it up and dance it out. Move a muscle, change a thought.
- Go for a walk and get outside. Keep it simple.
- Find a movement class. Yoga, Cardio Kickboxing, Karate or whatever style of movement excites you. Our issues live in our tissues (cells of the body – not Kleenex). We need to schedule a time to move and express our thoughts and emotions physically, so they do not get trapped in the body.
Remember that reconnecting with Joy may take some time. Be easy with yourself. It takes what it is going to take. Start with one simple action you can take every day. Let it become a habit, so you don’t have to think about it (usually 60-90 days to develop long-lasting habits). Once you start one joy-creating habit, layer in a second, then a third, etc. Before you know it, you are joyful more often.
Being happy does not mean that you forget your loved one or never have a bad day. Getting into joyful habits gives you tools to quickly pivot your thoughts, feelings and physical actions to get back on track.