Dealing With Grief? 3 Encouraging Tips For Coping With Grief

March 9, 2022

If you've ever lost someone close to you, you know that dealing with grief is hard. In fact, it can be downright excruciating.

I know—I've been there. And while it definitely takes time to recover, there are certain strategies and things you can do to help you cope with the loss—especially when those intense feelings peak

If you're currently struggling with grief, I want to invite you to read this article, where I share my personal story of loss, grief, and how to hold onto hope even when grief is at its worst ….


My Experience Dealing with Grief

I’ve experienced my fair share of loss, so I have a lot of experience dealing with grief. You can read about it in detail here, but I’ll review a few of my most relevant experiences.

Around age 10, I lost my uncle to suicide. And then, when I was 24 years old, my father had a fatal stroke. Just like that, he was gone.

A few years later, I lost a woman I considered a grandmother pass due to cardiovascular disease and dementia. Around the same time, we lost my mother-in-law to a rapid progression of early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Soon after, l lost my paternal grandmother. And shortly after her passing, I helped to care for my mother, who lost her battle with cancer six years ago.

I understand loss—and I understand what can happen if you allow your health to go by the wayside when you’re not dealing with your grief and you just allow it to consume you (which is an easy thing to do).

So, let’s review a few of my top tips on dealing with grief. Give these a try to help you cope during difficult times to help you find a sense of peace.


3 Tips for Dealing with Grief

In addition to these tips, here are some of my top suggestions to help as you’re missing someone you loved and lost.

1. Give yourself time.

When you’re dealing with grief, you’ll have good days and bad days. And sometimes the hardest days hit you out of the blue—whether it’s due to hearing a certain song on the radio or unexpectedly stumbling across an old photograph of the person you lost.

Sometimes you have a new experience and just wish that person was around for you to share it with.

The simple truth of the matter is that it takes time to learn to live life without someone you love. And it may take more time than you realize.

In fact, studies have shown that intense feelings of grief peak around four to six months after the loss of a loved one and then gradually decline over the following two years. [1]

Now, that’s not to say that you will magically be “over” the loss after two years. Trust me, that’s not the case. But things will gradually begin to feel less “raw” over the course of time.

The bottom line? Cut yourself some slack and give yourself the time you need to grieve. And communicate with others that you’re still grieving your loss. Oftentimes, people will understand and provide support.


Dealing with grief - Dr. Pingel


2. Start new traditions.

A few years back, I shared how the holidays affect me now that some of my closest family members are gone.

When I was a child, the holidays were a huge affair. Now, they often remind me that those with whom I celebrated are no longer here with me.

The result? As I’m dealing with grief, it can be very difficult to focus on creating new memories for my immediate family because I get caught up in what it used to be and the fact that the holidays will never be quite the same again.

The key for me has been to remind myself that others now see me as the “ring leader” for creating amazing holidays. I am now creating fond memories for others, such as my husband and children—and that’s an important job.

Consider how you can create new traditions with the people you still have in your life—things that won’t trigger feelings of grief over those you’ve lost.

Some options include a new staple recipe that can be passe down to future generations, family photos, certain trips or experiences, etc. The options really are endless!

3. Reframe negatives as positives.

We’ve discussed before how your mind and body are connected. Recognizing negative patterns of thinking and learning to reframe this thinking can help you to build both confidence and resilience.

I personally practice reframing on a daily basis to help me stay positive and focused through times of instability. So, it’s no surprise that I found it helpful as I was dealing with grief.

First, I’ve found it helpful to focus on those around me that lift me up. Not only does a solid support system help you as you’re dealing with grief, but research has also shown that it helps you live longer and even supports brain health! [2, 3]

It’s really true that your environment and with whom you surround yourself can shape who you are.

Second, once I’m in the right mindset, instead of focusing on the loss, I try to celebrate the time I had with my loved ones. I think about what they added to my life and how I carry parts of them with me everywhere I go. It brings a sense of peace that I may not experience otherwise.

I hope that these tips for dealing with grief help you as you navigate your own journey with loss.

Remember when you're coping with grief to allow yourself as much time as you need to process the loss but to also focus on good times you shared and the fact that as much as you may miss them, those you loved also loved you in return and would want you to live your healthiest, best life.

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