Exercise is good for the heart, body and soul. A 20 to 40-minute aerobic activity results in improvement in the survivor’s state of mind. A vigorous pumping heart decreases anxiety, lifts the mood and creates a positive experience that persists for several hours. Psychological benefits associated with exercise are a welcome bonus for the bereaved. They are comparable to the gains found with standard forms of psychotherapy.
Religion offers hope for the future and forgiveness for the past. It also offers like-minded support and understanding. It can be a source for counseling and re-socialization, a gateway back to recovery.
Family and friends can be a great resource for recovery. Traveling to visit loved ones in other areas or having them visit the survivor, offers companionship that is familiar, uplifting and relative to their life’s experiences.
Hobbies occupy the mind and hands. They engage our brains and keep them in good health. Hobbies create a sense of accomplishment. They propel us toward a healthier and happier recovery.
Psychotherapy is sometimes warranted. Counseling can help a survivor identify habits and encourage positive growth. It can yield a recovery plan that the survivor is unable to identify, implement and accomplish on his or her own.
A support group is a scheduled gathering of people with common experiences and concerns. It provides emotional and moral support, as well as new perspectives on life, increased understanding of grief, and close personal ties.
Traditions are also a wonderful tool for grief recovery. Observing traditions that were once enjoyed with the deceased, helps up accept that they are gone from us physically, yet with us still, through the activities and love we shared together. Such activities, now traditions, will aid your family by anchoring them securely to their heritage. Observing traditions stabilizes a family through loss, expansion and changing environments.
Animal companionship typically results in fewer migraines and less persistent fears. Fewer phobias, lower levels of panic, and less drug and alcohol intake are very positive side effects associated with our furry friends. The love and acceptance of a pet helps us to combat depression and isolation. If you have a family pet, be mindful of their needs. Taking Fido out for a brisk walk will provide both of you healthier opportunities for exercise, socialization, and companionship.
People have a strong need for communication and companionship. Through support groups, church, friends and family we are able to recall, reclaim and rekindle our most cherished memories. Moreover, through these relationships and activities, we are able to begin our recovery.
As Christmas is upon us, it is even more important that we offer our companionship to those we know who have lost a loved one this past year. Important dates are the most difficult to endure when we are bereaved. If you can find it within your heart, I would encourage you to take a moment to visit or call someone you know who is facing the holidays without the companionship of their loved one. Reflect for a moment the sadness you would feel in their situation. Be thankful for your cheer and share a moment of life with someone who has suffered the sorrows of death.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a funeral director, author and freelance writer. I write books, weekly bereavement articles, and mid-week grief briefs related to understanding and coping with grief. It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.