If you clicked on this link, you may be experiencing grief right now or you may have a family member or friend going through a hard time. My hope is that you can use these words of wisdom to help heal your own situation or that you can pass them along as support to someone in your life who needs encouragement.
We all grieve differently and unfortunately there are many situations in life that may cause you pain. It may be a breakup, the loss of a loved one, a cancer diagnosis, losing your job, a miscarriage, going bankrupt, divorce, etc.
When you get down to the knitty gritty, most people’s life goals are to be happy and to spend time with family and friends. It sounds like such a simple task, but to be truly happy, you have to be intentional and seek joy and acceptance in the worst of situations. Life is full of peaks and valleys; how you respond to the valleys is what defines your character.
Life will throw you unexpected curveballs. I am not trying to be a pessimist; I am being a realist. You have two choices when things do not go your way: you can withdraw, become depressed, and pity yourself or you can hold your head up high, seek support, and decide that you are not going to let one situation define your entire life.
Hoping that you choose the latter, you can use the tips below to help you move forward in a positive direction when all you really want to do is crawl back into bed and cry.
1. BE HONEST AND SEEK SUPPORT. You are allowed to feel the way that you feel. Nobody can tell you a feeling is right or wrong. Lean on those who you are closest to (a spouse, family member, or friend) and tell them exactly what is on your mind. Cry with them. Hug them. Tell them it’s not fair. Say whatever it is you are feeling. You have to be able to release those feelings in a non-judgemental space before you can move forward. It will not do you any good to keep all of those feeling bottled up inside. Why do you think God put certain people in your life? To support you.
2. SEEK COUNSELING. There is nothing wrong with speaking to a trained professional when you are grieving. Sometimes, there is a stigma around “seeing a counselor.” These beautiful individuals are trained to help you through hard situations that you find difficult to navigate on your own. A counselor can give you a safe space to release your feelings and will help give you direction on how you can move forward.
3. ASK YOURSELF, “WHAT IS THIS TEACHING ME?” Every situation you encounter teaches you something. That may sound like total BS if you are at a very low point in your life but if you can switch your mindset from “everything is against me” to “what is this teaching me” you will feel a huge mind/body shift. You have to work at approaching every situation with a positive frame of mind. By having faith and being intentional with your thoughts, you can truly learn something from every hardship you face.
4. STAY PHYSICALLY ACTIVE. Movement will make you feel good. Exercise releases feel-good endorphins in the body. If you prefer to be alone, go for a walk outside. If you are a people-person, sign up for a group fitness class. You may find it hard to get the motivation to do this but once you do, you will feel better. Allowing yourself 30 minutes to escape from your mind will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
5. NOURISH YOUR BODY WITH HEALTHY FOOD. It is common to want to turn to junk food for comfort when you are sad. Junk food may make you feel better in the moment but it won’t make you feel good in the long run. You may even have people encouraging you to eat junk, saying, “Do it, you have had a hard time, you deserve it.” Now, I am not perfect in this department (my last emotional eating experience involved waffle fries and ranch–criiinnnggge) but I do know that junk food is not the way to heal pain. One or two run-ins with cookies, donuts, french fries, or ice cream won’t break you but consistently doing this will take a toll on your body and mind. When you know you shouldn’t be eating something, ask yourself, “Will this really make me feel better?” Typically, the answer is no. When you fuel your body with whole foods you will have the energy to face your situation with more strength.
6. JOURNAL. JOURNAL. JOURNAL. < Do you think I am a fan of journaling??? You need to release your feelings. You can’t keep things bottled in. Even if you don’t want to share your feelings out loud or with another person you have to share them with pen and paper (or in a private online journal). You can say exactly what you want without any shame or judgement. You can write down every single real thought you are having. You can even drop an f-bomb. I have never met a single person that didn’t feel better after journaling. Try it–what else do you have to lose?
7. DON’T STOP LIVING. You have people here that care about you. You were put on this earth for a reason. When we feel like the floor has been kicked out from underneath us it is so easy to stay in bed all day and avoid facing reality. We want to cover our heads, stay in our sweats, and let go of all responsibility. This will not get you anywhere. Get out of bed, take a shower, get dressed, and run an errand or two–even if it is just the grocery store. You have to keep living your life. Just going through the motions will make you feel better over time. People depend on you, love you, and want to help you. You have to start by helping yourself.
Life is a series of ups and downs and twists and turns. You can’t predict an outcome and you definitely can’t control what happens to you. I do know that if you didn’t experience pain you would not fully understand joy. Even when it feels like the joy has been ripped from your life you still have to search for the good. Our minds naturally allow negativity to take over positivity and if we give all of our mental space to that negative thing we have no room left for anything good. You have to be intentional about focusing on the good in your life and really being grateful for the blessings you have received. Take control of your thoughts and make sure you allow space for good to come in.
I am so sorry if you have experienced the type of gut-wrenching hurt that brings you to your knees. I wish I could take it away for you. I hope these tips will help you move forward in your own way.
If you have someone in your life going through a hard time please share this blog post with them. If you have any other tips that you have found useful in healing your own pain please comment below to share with other readers.