Sometimes, world or life events around us trigger us into dealing with loss. When we feel like we’ve lost in a situation, we feel sad. Feeling sad occurs when we first PERCEIVE there is something about which to feel sad. We can especially perceive feeling sad is an appropriate way to feel when we are in the thick of end of life care scenarios. In other words, when we see things are going against our conscious desires for a loved one to be well and happy, and we perceive unnecessary suffering going on, we feel at a loss to make things better. This may cause us to feel like a loser in a competition.
But, if you mentally stay stuck for a long time, perceiving you must not let go of having things your way, you stay stuck in the grief or deeply sad feeling. After all, mourning loss actually boils down to wanting something you cannot have. At least that’s the way your mind and brain process things. More on this in a moment.
I’ve included a brief video about dealing with loss. You may be able to relate to the story as a part of training yourself to work through loss and deep grief.
Dealing With Loss Mentally
When you feel sad, you are first MENTALLY sad. Being MENTALLY sad then triggers physical body FEELINGS of sadness or grief.
Thinking mentally sad thoughts is a conscious activity. You are perceiving a situation as sad and then you interpret the situation to mean something sad to you. AFTER you MENTALLY assess a situation as sad, you then also incorporate the feelings part of your mind and brain before you PHYSICALLY FEEL sad in your body. This is the way the brain and mind work together:
First, you think using your mind. You use your brain to interpret your thoughts. Once you’ve interpreted what any thought means to you, your brain might then associate a FEELING with that thought. If you are aware of what you are both thinking and feeling, you might speak out loud to express your thought and feeling process.
Look at the following example of this happening. I offer one of my own thoughts about Jason and the triggering event for me, Father’s day. I might think…
“Every time Father’s Day comes around, I feel so sad about being without my son who died on Father’s Day.”
If you associate a specific date or event with a time to feel sad, you will be creating a habit, by choosing that time to repetitively feel sad. Luckily, by becoming aware you are thinking this way, you can choose to disassociate or NOT form, or to disengage this habit.
First Steps To Dealing With Loss
The first step to changing a habit is to become aware of how you are using your brain and mind to interpret what you are thinking, in association with heavy or negative feelings like sadness, grief or loss. (IE. I can think that my son is gone now, and feel the intense sadness of that truth. Or, I can think my son is gone now, but remember the feeling of him in my arms, wrapped in a soft blue blanket. Or, I can think my son is gone now, but in my mind I can still see the brightness of his smile light up his whole face, whenever he laughed… which was often.)
Changing thinking habits of sadness, grief and times when you cannot have things the way you prefer them to be, helps you create gratitude and hope. Dealing with loss can be improved by creating appreciation, gratitude and hope.
Perceive, Be Aware of Initial Perceptions, Then Choose Feeling
If you are mentally stuck in grief, you must first PERCEIVE you are experiencing some type of a loss. To your brain and mind, this loss can be dissected into 4 basic categories of loss perception from your brain’s 4 basic viewpoints:
- the loss of control
- the loss of things being perfect
- the loss of things no longer being exciting
- and the loss of a familiar relationship
Our brain processes information, causing us to create “attachments” to familiar
- Mind images
- Bits of what seems personally logical understanding
If you feel like you have become unattached to something familiar and important to you, you may then experience the perception of loss. Once you feel like you’ve lost something that was a very ingrained part of your “normal” routine, you may feel shocked. In shock and disbelief, you can’t instantly believe or process acceptance of any new/unwanted change which has occurred.
Accepting unwanted change begins with coping. Coping needs to happen in baby steps. If you do not take one step at a time to work through your grief and/or deep sadness, you can’t heal your grief. In other words, to heal from grief and/or deep sadness, each of us must go through processing all the stages of dealing with loss.
I Like Having Things My Way
I like getting things my way. Do you? When you do NOT get things your way, your brain may define this experience with anger, or as unfairness, or as a sense of loss.
Here’s what’s usually happening in your brain in your personal “normal” state…
From the viewpoints of your brain and mind, your internal systems are designed for you to like getting your way. When it comes to brain neural pathways, regularly thinking the same thoughts actually creates the equivalent of neurological, electrical and chemical road ways in your brain. These roadways are neuro-electro-chemical places for you to keep thinking the same thoughts you like to think.
Eventually, the more you think the same thoughts, the more you create your “normal” way of thinking and “getting your way.” Due to the brain and mind working together to naturally like consistency, when you experience consistency you feel more emotionally secure and relaxed in your world. This subconscious association between consistency and the feeling of safety, can allow you to remain in neutral, or even frozen in place.
You may even become obsessively resistant to accepting the unwanted has occurred. Developing this habit is self-sabotaging and self-limiting. Thinking in self-sabotaging ways never improves your quality of life.
However, change is the one constant in life. So, accepting change is necessary. If you can release the resistance to change and welcome change instead, everything becomes easier. When you actively choose change you’re empowered to bring much happier experiences into your situation. But, first you may need to recognize your resistance change, before you are able to step past it.
Due to the phenomenon of the brain and mind liking things to stay the same, we naturally resist change. Naturally resisting change is your brain’s design to focus on creating a state of something called homeostasis. Homeostasis is another word for balance or harmony. Without harmony in life, we could not move forward and contribute to something that benefits the world.
Simultaneously, while the brain likes things to stay the same, it also can eventually feel bored with the sameness. So, to entertain ourselves, we need to do something different.
As we incorporate these differences, at first there’s a part of the brain that resists change. But, as we use the brain’s 4 basic viewpoints, eventually we see the wisdom in adopting the change. Understanding how the brain functions helps us heal from loss when we are dealing with loss.
The Creative Brain
In Ned Herrmann’s book, The Creative Brain, he talks about something called brain dominance preference. This term basically refers to each of us being born, as individuals, with specific likes, dislikes, talents and skills. For example, you may like a specific color or number. Or, you may seem to be a natural at storytelling or playing baseball, organizing, or cooking. You don’t know why exactly; you simply ARE good at some activities according to your brain’s natural preferences.
Each of us has these brain dominant preferences. They are customized to each person. That’s why we see children in the same family being so different, even with multiple-births (twins, triplets, etc.)
When we keep doing what feels comfortable and “normal” we feel emotionally and mentally secure. But, when change comes along, it at first feels the opposite of normal, so unnatural that it can cause some people to resist the change. In other words, when things happen you do not want to happen, a part of your mind and brain may consider the change as a LOSS or threat to what’s normal for you.
Most people feel a sense of loss when a loved one passes on back into the spiritual realm from the physical reality. Seeing and being with this person regularly is a part of your “normal.”
Working Through Unexpected Triggers
When the person is suddenly gone, you feel an energetic loss as well as a loss of being in the person’s physical presence. Your mind may note multiple periods of loss as the day passes, being triggered by each missing habit or routine which you previously liked or valued in some way.
For example, after Jason first passed from his physical beingness back into the spirit world, my husband and I were going out to get groceries. By habit I thought, “Oh wait a minute. We need to have someone stay with Jason while we go out for groceries.”
Rick just looked and waited for me to realize that we didn’t need a sitter. I cried for a moment, Rick held me close and just let me cry. Then, I said, “No, I guess we don’t need a sitter for Jase anymore.” I simply allowed myself to grieve and get back to figuring out my next thought while dealing with loss.
The energetic loss is invisible. When the spirit of a crossed over loved one separates from his/her physical body, for a while after the separation, that loved one’s spirit still stays connected to the survivors’ mind. The theory of mind is the fabric of life. It is an energetic network of communication between the spiritual and physical state of being.
When survivors start thinking about the crossed over loved one, the thinking activity can be energetically shocking via the spirit and mind body connection with the loved one, to the physical body of survivors. Again, it is the brain/mind/spirit/body connection dealing with loss.
Why does the survivor feel shocked for a while? It typically takes anywhere from 7 – 21 days to develop a new habit. During the process of getting used to no longer seeing and communicating with a loved one predominantly using the physical body, survivors are building “acceptance” neural pathways in the brain. In other words, they are getting used to no longer instantly having access to the loved one primarily through physical means of communicating. These new thoughts are thought in new pathways in the brain. Dealing with loss takes time to adapt.
For those who are experiencing loss after a loved one’s spirit separates from his/her physical body, AND the connection energetically shared between you and the crossed over loved one in your physical body, it is a shock to you, the survivor. But, as time passes, the mind/body/spirit connection helps you adapt. It is done by choosing to accept the change. Accepting the change is different than liking or condoning the event occurred. You are simply acknowledging that you didn’t get your way and you are moving on.
By using alternative health coping methods for loss, you can deal with the loss in an easier way than if you simply try to consciously cope with the instant and permanent change in your relationship with the loved one. Alternative health methods incorporate doing things that naturally create harmonious energy balance to your body once again.
Coping by Natural Methods
What are examples of alternative health, complimentary methods that help you cope with the loss of a loved one? Things that move energy in the physical body in the direction of peace and harmony. These methods include Hypnosis, EFT, NLP, Jin Shin Jyutsu, Reiki, Dowsing. Each of these offer help in accepting the change in your relationship with your loved one.
Dealing With Loss Means Accepting and Working WITH Change
As I watched my own son “dying” at home, I saw physical changes as his body began to deteriorate. Since I had never experienced my son’s body rapidly deteriorating during his end-of-physical-life event before, I had to learn how to cope with and accept the changes. After all, there was nothing I could do to stop what was happening. Therefore, the only real tool that would bring me peace was to accept what was happening.
At first, I didn’t know how to do anything else other than to act self-absorbed and sorry for myself about being unable to “save him” from dying. The thing I didn’t think about at the time was that he didn’t need to be saved. The end-of-physical-life event is natural. Physical life is a temporary way to live. It is the spirit that lives on eternally.
Though I didn’t like what was happening, for me to cope with the loss it was necessary for me to accept that my son’s passing was happening AND that I wasn’t supposed to stop it. God knew what was happening. He was the director of it. I only had to accept it and move on and align what was imminent for Jason’s spiritual progression and benefit.
I didn’t have to completely understand why it was time for Jason to separate his spirit from his physical body at this time. I just had to accept and work with it. Similar to accepting and working with the idea that we physically grow up and age, because there is nothing you can to do stop aging, I just had to figure out how to accept and work with Jason’s imminent end-of-physical-life event.
Creating Hope Helps You Process the Unstoppable End-Of-Physical-Life Event
It wasn’t until years after Jason passed that I learned how expressing gratitude and seeing the good in life helps you accept and work with this kind of unstoppable event. It is counter-intuitive to express gratitude when you are upset, when you are NOT getting your way. So, you need to learn the steps and create the coping tools to deal with loss of a loved one. Again, what will work best for you is within your natural brain design.
The brain’s hardwiring wants consistency. It is that consistency that creates familiarity. The more familiar something is, the more secure we feel. When I learned to stop thinking about myself and focusing on how I did not get what I wanted, it was easier to start expressing gratitude for the natural temporariness of earth life. THAT intentional change of focus, into CHOOSING to feel grateful, was a very helpful step for me in dealing with the physical loss of Jason’s physical presence. It is a key, in my opinion, to accepting that which we cannot control.
Accepting Is Different Than Condoning and Approving
As I said a little bit earlier in this blog post, accepting that something you dislike is happening is different than condoning or liking that it is happening. It is simply accepting that something happened you disliked and that you are no longer focusing on the idea that you are not getting your way in this one situation.
Develop The Habit Of Expressing Gratitude for What’s Going Well
You can develop the habit of expressing gratitude. When you choose to focus on and express gratitude for the simplest of things, genuine happiness begins to reappear in your life. It is by focusing on being grateful that you create hope.
By regularly expressing gratitude for what is going right in your life, things begin to improve and you stop grieving so intensely for your loss. When you realize that all is not lost in your life, even when you are confronted by situations you cannot control (when you don’t get what you desire, no matter how intensely you want it) you empower yourself to cope better with your loss.
Exercise To Deal With Loss
Here’s a simple exercise you can do to deal with loss of loved ones. I’ll use the example of my own son. Often, my trigger dates are his birthday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day (he passed on Father’s Day), and Christmas.
Whenever the trigger dates roll around, I prepare myself, energetically to work through them. We are all connected by energy. Thus, I choose to work with the benefit of preparing myself energetically.
First, I hold on to my ring finger. I do this by wrapping the fingers of one hand gently around the ring finger of my opposite hand. In Jin Shin Jyutsu, your ring finger contains the energy pathways associated with causing deep grief or sadness. For more on understanding Jin Shin Jyutsu finger flows, please read my blog post on using the ancient art of releasing tension for deep grief or sadness using Jin Shin Jyutsu.
I direct my thoughts to intentionally think positively about how good things are for myself right now AND in the past. I focus on happy memories with Jason and my husband, and the things we all did together as a family. I am replacing my past feeling habit of “learned grief” with the feeling association of “gratitude for happiness” as my new “normal” by focusing on all the good in my life.
The more you create hope for yourself, the more easily you cope with and get through loss in a forward direction.
Jin Shin Jyutsu is a different method of energy release than some other methods such as EFT. EFT uses the body’s acupuncture meridians. Jin Shin Jyutsu uses a different energetic system unassociated with acupuncture meridians. Thus, the value in knowing these two different energy release systems.
YOU Are Thinking and Creating the Stories Of Your Life
YOU and I think and act in self-absorbed ways. It’s a part of a human’s self-survival phenomenon. Each person’s brain thinks in ways that help that individual. So, in this example of dealing with loss about Jason, I might say to myself while using EFT and tapping (see www.eftincalgary.com to learn more about EFT):
“Right now, I’m telling myself to miss Jason. However, the truth is, he is spiritually alive and well.” (For me, this is the type of affirmation that creates hopefulness for me. Your affirmations may be something different. As long as you feel happier, simply affirm and focus on all the things that confirm that life is good for you.)
Tapping calms your body’s fight and flight response, which is activated by fear. But fight and flight is also triggered by any emotion which we might label as “negative”; like anger, resentment, jealousy, abandonment, loneliness, loss or grief. It’s OK to release feelings you’ve been holding in, while meridian tapping. If you pour out your feelings while tapping, tapping will help you to feel calm again.
Just remember if you begin tapping and honestly expressing your feelings, or the acknowledgment of a reality which is very hard for you to cope with, that you remember to speak of hope or gratitude or future possibilities before you stop tapping. Choosing to speak positive thoughts will help direct your feelings into positives as well.
As I tap and say something that feels hopeful for me, I start to feel better. Even if I am crying because I miss him, I still go through this routine. Tapping will help me to stop thinking and activating the neural pathways in my brain that cause sadness and grief by calming down the intensity of my feelings. As these feelings of loss recede, I seem to “jump the tracks” to the positive feeling neural pathways that create peace and calm within my brain.
In other words, by acknowledging both the old habit of being self-absorbed and my feelings about how I am not getting my way, I am honoring them, and letting them go. Then, I start focusing on expressing gratitude for what is good in my life. Those gratitude neural pathways are different ones than the grief roadways in my brain.
After I’m done crying and letting go of the original grief feeling, I express gratitude with something like:
“I am so grateful Jason’s spirit separated from his physical body in the manner it did. He was at home in his own bed instead of being left alone in some hospital or Hospice to die alone. We were there for him. For this, I am very grateful because it was what he wanted. Thank you, Divine Love, for arranging things the way you did. All is well.”
I might go through a few rounds of doing this until I totally change my focus on something else that reaches out of my self-limited focus. At first, this may be a challenge for you to do. Like I said, we were never taught in school to focus on expressing gratitude for what is going right in our lives in the middle of not getting what we want. If you need help developing this habit, please contact me. Know that there is a way that reduces the stress of dealing with loss.
Please visit the rest of my blog and read some other articles about alternative health palliative care for those needing end-of-life care, or who are in chronic pain. It is very likely there will be something here to help you.
As always, if you need help naturally reducing your stress, especially for the end-of-physical-life event as the participant or the survivor, please let me help you. You can set up a happiness coaching session with me at your earliest convenience.
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