Grief is a whirlwind of emotions that sweeps through us after loss, leaving us disoriented and raw. We often experience different stages while grieving, such as denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. While sadness often takes center stage, two other powerful forces can grip us during this process: anger and depression.
Navigating these emotions can feel daunting, but they’re natural parts of healing. So, how do we weather this emotional storm?
Hi, I’m Valeria Walsh, a Marriage & Family Therapist at Cedar Tree Counseling and in this article, I’ll share five strategies to help you navigate the anger and depression stages of grief.
1. Recognize and Validate Your Feelings
Instead of fighting or suppressing your anger or sadness, acknowledge their presence. Tell yourself that it’s okay to feel angry.
For example, imagine clenching your fists, feeling rage at the unfairness of losing a loved one. Instead of pushing it down, say, “I’m furious that they’re gone. It’s not fair, and I have every right to feel angry.”
Naming your anger gives you the ability to work through the emotions, and helps prevent them from festering and boiling over at unwanted times.
2. Express Your Emotions Safely
All emotions, including anger and sadness, need release. Find healthy outlets for expression such as journaling about your feelings, painting, exercising, or even screaming into a pillow.
Explore activities that let you safely expel the emotional charge. The release can be cathartic, helping you move through the depths of sadness.
3. Lean Into Routine
In times of emotional chaos, daily structure can be an anchor that tethers you. Establish simple daily rituals, like morning walks, practicing gratitude, or sharing a meal with a loved one.
The different phases of grief can feel unpredictable. By incorporating these routines into your life, you can gradually build a sense of stability, and maybe even find comfort in what is predictable.
4. Practice Self-Care
Grief can deplete your physical and emotional resources. Prioritize self-care to replenish your well-being.
Some examples include, getting enough sleep, eating nourishing foods, and being mindful of the present moment throughout the day, rather than getting caught in distracting thoughts that interfere with the present moment.
Taking care of your physical and mental needs is crucial for emotional healing as it helps foster resilience, providing you with the inner strength you need to navigate the challenges of grief.
5. Seek Professional Support
As loved ones and friends who initially may have been a support system start to resume their daily lives, it can start to feel lonely and difficult to carry the weight of grief alone.
A counselor or therapist can offer a safe space to unpack these burdens, and be there with you throughout the time you need to process the grief. They can help guide you through the labyrinth of your emotions, helping you find your footing again.
Navigating the anger and depression of grief is a challenging, but necessary part of healing. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey.
And if you’re ready to take the next step towards healing, reach out and schedule an appointment with Cedar Tree Counseling today. We’re here to support you on your path to healing.
Adolescents, Adults & Couples
I specialize in helping teens, individuals, and couples find balance and renewed connection with themselves and important relationships, using evidence-based practices to create a safe and nurturing space for healing and growth.
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