DEALING WITH GRIEF

UNDERSTANDING GRIEF
– a period of painful preoccupation and social withdrawal is common
– feeling the presence of the deceased person is common
– outwards signs of distress are not necessary in order to grieve
– grief often returns in waves rather than progressing through stages
– grief may be prolonged out of feelings of loyalty or responsibility

DEALING WITH GRIEF
– give yourself time
– postpone major decisions
– dealing with the funeral and estate can help by giving structure
– expect feelings of guilt and anger about the loss
– do not force yourself to find ‘closure’
– expect further waves of grief at anniversaries, holidays and other reminders
– seek support from others
– find ways of making the qualities you admired in the deceased live on in the world

Grief involves not just the loss of someone you care about but also loss of parts of one’s own self and world.  Close relationships create a shared identity with shared routines, social networks, memories and plans for the future.  Ceremonies and other forms of memorialization can be helpful in acknowledging the loss and re-locating the deceased person.

SEE ALSO
– Bereaved Families of Ontario
– Coping with Grief and Loss
– Suicide Survivors Face Grief, Questions, Challenges

 

 

USING ATTENTION

Each form of attention has uses and limitations.  The goal is to use each effectivley and to shift between them when needed.

ACTIVE ATTENTION
– eg. studying, solving problems
– focussed attention has limited capacity and is easily fatigued
– take breaks (eg 10-15 minutes per hour) to restore attention

PASSIVE ATTENTION
– eg. watching TV or surfing the internet
– occurs when attention is grabbed by whatever sticks out, especially novelty or danger

MIND-WANDERING
– eg. daydreaming
– mind-wandering is the brain’s default mode and occurs about 50% of the time
– the stream of consciousness is a jumble of fantasies, memories, arguments and rehearsals

USING ATTENTION EFFECTIVELY
– to focus on a difficult task, limit distractions and take breaks
– to cope with distracting thoughts, write them down and deal with them later
– to get a new perspective, return to a task after taking a break or a night’s sleep
– to refocus wandering attention, focus on immediate perceptions and sensations
– to restore fatigued attention, take regular breaks and vary activities
– allow time for passive attention and mind wandering
– use mindfulness techniques to counter worry and rumination

SEE ALSO
– How to Focus a Wandering Mind
– Soft Fascination
– How to Build a Happier Brain