From grieving a loss of a loved one to mental health or addiction challenges, divorce, or dealing with a life-threatening diagnosis, these are the coping strategies the emotionally naked tribe has shared. I hope you find one that works for you. Because our lives are not perfect.
You don’t have to be a Birkenstock-wearing, tree-hugging, sea turtle lover to stay in the present. Which, by the way, is the foundation of mindfulness and working through painful times. Apps like Calm and Headspace help you learn to meditate and there are many free meditations on DoYogaWithMe.com.
by Priyanka Sarkar, chemistry and biology graduate, India
Before focusing on any particular strategies, I want to emphasize that loving yourself is more important than anything on this list. Be your own cheering section and make sure you do that every day. Treat yourself with love and respect. If you do, others will, too. This phase tests your patience thoroughly but trusts me it ends (even though it may not seem like it) with you attaining wisdom. Now the coping strategies that helped me through depression.
1) Acknowledging and establishing a connection with my feelings
Note from Anne Moss: Desmond Herzfelder is a freshman at Harvard University majoring in applied math and visual art.Kim O’Brien and I interviewed Desmond for our book, Emotionally Naked: A Teacher’s Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk. We asked several young adults who struggled as teens how they survived a dark period in their lives and the coping strategies they used to find their way out. This is Desmond’s thoughtful response.
The twelfth coping strategy is “Something Nice for Someone Else”
For many people in grief, doing acts of kindness, volunteering, doing something to bring comfort, a smile, or some love to another person is a way that we can find a bit of peace within our own pain.
Research shows that volunteerism and altruistic acts to benefit others have long term physical, emotional, and mental health benefits. Doing things for others can result in increased feelings of well-being. It brings a sense of purpose and helps us create meaning when life makes no sense. Studies also show … Read more...
Anxiety, depression and grief can make finding sleep a challenge. Most of the coping strategies that we have posted thus far will help with sleep but if you are in the early days of grief, it’s crucial because a day in early grief with no sleep is intolerable.
So I’ll share my strategy after Charles’ suicide. I did call my doctor and ask for a prescription for promethazine which is the generic name of Phenergan. It’s a drug used for nausea, after surgery usually, that makes me very tired. It makes most people tired, is … Read more...
It doesn’t matter whether you think you are creative or not. You are.
When you’re living with heart-crushing grief, just figuring out how to get out of bed is a creative endeavor. I talk to people a lot about being creative in grief and how helpful it can be. When I teach workshops or do retreats, we do all sorts of creative things in our grief. And people always say, “I’m just not creative,” or “I’m not an artist,” or “I can only draw stick figures.” Stick figures can do … Read more...
This one is easy but difficult for some to do. Talking about your loved one helps heal.
The eighth coping strategy is “talk.”
Many of you have realized that other people will completely ignore you and wish you’d just stop talking about your dead or suffering child. But this is my argument to those people, “I will stop talking about my dead child when you stop talking about your living ones.”
For those of us in grief, the holidays are most definitely not the most wonderful time of the year. No matter how long it has been since your beloved died.
It has been nearly 13 years since my son, Theo, died of a brain tumor when he was just a baby and the holidays continue to be a struggle for me in many ways. If you are in early grief—and by early, I mean the first year, second year, third year, sometimes further in—the holidays can be excruciating.
At some point, you will have adversity in your life. Death, divorce, illness, tragedy, natural disaster, accidents, loss of a job or something.
How will you cope? What are unhealthy coping strategies? What are healthy coping strategies?
We all self-medicate at some point. If not with drugs or alcohol, with ice cream and snack foods, gambling, sex, self-harm, or shopping sprees. The trouble with temporary numbing strategies or thrill-seeking approaches to feel good is that we don’t solve anything. We just delay the solution or the healing process. And in so doing, we gain weight, develop problems with drugs or … Read more...