The death of a loved one is such a bitter and sad process as it is natural, as it is a part of virtually everyone’s life. Therefore, the emotional pain it generates is not in itself a psychopathology, although this experience tests our ability to manage our own feelings.
And in fact, in some cases, a psychological alteration occurs that can be considered a disorder: this is complicated grief, which occurs when we are unable to overcome the loss for a very long time, or when it affects us ‘a way so intense that it significantly harms our health.
Faced with this reality, it is important to know some effective strategies to help cope with the death of a loved one; let’s see the most important ones.
The keys to coping with the death of a loved one
When someone very close dies, it’s as if the world stops; and in many ways we have to “learn” to live in a world in which that person no longer exists. It involves being able to let go of that past which will never come back and which, from the moment of that person’s death, will only become real in the form of memories.
Since all human beings are not alike and do not face the difficult moments of life in the same way, we offer you below a series of general advice that we can apply on a daily basis to successfully face the death of a loved one, and that must be adapted to the characteristics and needs of each one.
It is a set of guidelines, guidelines or strategies that can help us to go through this painful experience as smoothly as possible, without participating in a dynamic of emotional self-sabotage.
1. Try talking about the topic
Instead of hiding what happened and not telling anyone what we think or feel, before the death of a loved one, we need to talk about what happened, with friends or loved ones who may be affected in the same way as us or with any other person.
Some people tend to keep quiet without communicating what is going through their minds before a sudden loss, which tends to further complicate the chances of successfully emerging from the duel they are going through and gives rise to a taboo. This taboo complicates the process of overcoming the loss, because it leads us to try to live as if this death had not happened, exposing us to situations of emotional vulnerability when it is obvious that this desire does not correspond to the reality.
Also, put words to our discomfort it helps us to see the situation in a more neutral way, to perceive it as it is without subtracting or adding importance, and without being afraid of this kind of thinking, something key to turning the page. Communicating your feelings also has a therapeutic effect that will make us feel better in the long run and allow us to begin to work through the grief we are going through.
We must at all costs avoid closing in on ourselves and encourage ourselves to talk about the death that awaits us both on the family level and on the friendship level, which will bring us therapeutic relief.
2. Accept what you feel
Coping with the death of a loved one means accepting what you feel and being able to feel as your own all the pain that overwhelms us in these difficult times. I want to say that we must relinquish any pretense of “blocking” ideas, thoughts or mental images.
Accepting one’s feelings consists of not trying to repress any of our mental contents (which is impossible to do effectively anyway) and letting them surface.
3. Help others who are in the same situation
The unexpected death of a person who was important to us usually generates a great painful impact on many other people, in addition to ourselves.
It is in these cases that we need to provide the help and emotional support that others who may be going through the same or worse than us in these circumstances may need.
Helping friends, family or others who are going through a moment of pain or suffering will also make us feel better about ourselves, knowing that we are doing a good deed for others and transform our emotional involvement in the duel, on the one hand, into tasks of supporting those who are dear to us, on the other.
4. Take part in the ceremonies
Participating in religious or civil ceremonies that are celebrated for the death of a loved one will also help us a lot psychologically and allow us to say goodbye to our loved one.
These types of ceremonies, which can be both memorial and funeral, have the function of both saying goodbye to the deceased person and remembering them and making us feel better by symbolizing the end of a cycle. of our life and the beginning of another. this it helps us change our mentality and accept that this stage is over.
Similarly, there are many activities we can do on a personal basis to remember the recently deceased person, such as planting a tree, reading a passage from a particularly meaningful book, or keeping a promise made to that person.
5. Keep some memories
Preserving the memories of the deceased person, whatever their type, will help us to always remember our loved one and obtain the happiness of their memory in the most difficult moments of mourning. It’s a way of integrate the memories of this loved one into our daily lives, without necessarily linking them to the pain of loss. Ahora well, these memories must be few, because if we try to preserve all their possessions, we will in fact participate in the illusion that this person is alive.
To preserve memories, it is common to set up a box or chest with photographs or personal effects of the deceased.
6. Avoid isolation
Some people tend, before the recent death of a loved one, to isolate themselves socially and lock themselves in their homes for a while because of the intense pain they feel on a daily basis.
This is one of the worst strategies that can be put into practice to overcome the grief of the death of someone important to you, as it only creates more pain and suffering by predisposing you to focus your attention on those painful memories, without being able to integrate them into a mentally healthy lifestyle.
Instead of isolating or isolating ourselves, it is necessary to leave the house frequently, to do different activities that can distract us from the pain we feel, and to maintain contact with other people that we can day to day. .
7. Take care of yourself physically
After an unexpected death, many people they tend to neglect their most basic care and they can lose weight drastically or get sick in some way. Lack of hygiene or healthy habits will not only lead to physical effects, but also mental ones due to the general discomfort and low self-esteem it brings.
8. Ask for help
If the situation completely overwhelms you, it is better to go to psychotherapy.
A qualified psychology professional will provide you with all kinds of strategies and practical guidelines for emotional management in order to overcome grief.
In this sense, if you are interested in starting a psychotherapy process, contact us; in Psychology Cribecca We will be happy to help you.