Thursday, December 2, 2021

How To Help a Loved One Cope With Grief

There's no guidebook for how to help a loved one in grief. Grief doesn't follow a set of rules and isn't something you can anticipate or know exactly how to deal with ahead of time. Grief is primarily an emotional process but does lead to physical changes in your body as stress hormones increase and immunity decreases. However, there are ways you can help your friend or family member deal with grief.

Encourage Emotional Expression

Grief is an emotional response to loss that may be difficult for others to understand. The best thing anyone can do for someone coping with grief initially is to simply listen, validate the emotions being expressed, and gently encourage them to express their feelings. Don't try to brush off the depth of their emotions or deny or diminish what they are feeling.

Give Them Space

While you don't want to ignore your friend's pain, you also need to make sure not to smother them with attention. Set boundaries about how much time together is good for both of you and allow plenty of time for your loved one's grief to process without feeling like they have to rush through it. There is no timetable for grief and you never know how long it will last. Allow your friend or family member time alone when necessary, but don't abandon them completely. Layer attention with some moments of solitude and quiet reflection in-between times when you can give a great deal of attention and comfort to the person who is grieving.

Encourage Social Support

Remember you can't be everything to your loved one. You may feel like you want to save them from their grief, but this isn't possible or healthy for either of you. Allow time for other relationships and healthy forms of self-care as well as other activities and connections with friends and community. It can be helpful to read Grief Quotes as well. Allow them to lean on their other relationships as well as you, but don't be offended or hurt if they seem to prefer spending time with people other than you or choosing another person over you for comfort after the loss of a loved one.

Be Honest About Your Limits

It's okay to say you don't know how to help them, that you're confused or hesitant about what to say. Your honesty will reassure your loved one that even though they're struggling, it's okay to not have all the answers and you trust them enough to tell you when you are overstepping your boundaries.

Be Patient

Don't try to rush your loved ones through the grief process, but don't give up on them if they seem to be stuck. Some people do grieve more slowly than others and can take years to fully process their loss, so it's okay to ask about how they're doing every once in a while. Grief doesn't always follow our expectations or how we think it should go.

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. I have used direct text from the website of the company/product I am promoting to facilitate in my review.

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