Feelings…nothing more than feelings…

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I’ve been busy scrolling the interwebs today looking for information, blogs to follow, Facebook pages to like and fresh voices in the world of grief and loss.  Wow, is there ever a lot of stuff out there!

One of the things I’ve been working on practicing in my own life is mindfulness — in the moment, in my relationships, in my community and in the world.  This practice can be very helpful during a grief journey as well.  Staying in the moment – whatever each moment brings – can be healthy and healing.  As I’ve scrolled along this morning, this idea of staying present and being mindful kept cropping up.  Different voices obviously say it differently, but most agree that feeling the feelings without judgment is the key to navigating through each one of them.  I’m often saying to clients that we can’t help what we feel, but we can help what we think about those feelings and how we respond to them.

Coping with loss is messy, chaotic, confusing and downright unpleasant at times.  The process brings about such a jumble of emotion that sometimes it’s hard to separate them.  However, it is in the separating and identifying and feeling of each emotion that we can release them — at least for this one moment.  Sneaky little things have a way of returning, sometimes when we least expect it!  No matter, here is a technique to lift and separate (anyone get the reference?  I’m dating myself here!!) each feeling in an effort towards mindfulness in grief…

The following is taken from the book “Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler: Quick Exercises to Calm Your Mind”.  While it doesn’t directly address those who are grieving, grievers are travelers nonetheless.  You are traveling along on your own personal grief journey and any tools that might help along the way are worth exploring.

“Here’s a short acronym that you can BET on throughout the day:

B – Body – At any point, bring attention to the body.  How is it feeling?  Is there any tension anywhere, in this moment of awareness?  Can you take a breath and allow it to soften?

E – Emotions – What emotion is there in that moment?  Is it anxiety, sadness, anger, confusion, joy, calm, or maybe just a neutral feeling?  How does it feel as a sensation in the body?  Research shows just labeling emotions turns activity down in the emotional center of the brain.  [Here’s a study.]

T – Thoughts – What’s on your mind?  Is it busy or calm?  If it’s a self-judgment or a judgment of another person, ask yourself, is it absolutely true?  How does this thought make me feel?  What’s another way I can see this?  Practice opening your mind.

Then just refocus on what matters in the moment.

That’s it, it’s that simple.”

Sounds easy, right?  Maybe not so much when the emotions get overwhelming, but I would invite you to try it.  As counselors, any tools or techniques we suggest or recommend are meant for you to try on, so to speak, to give it a whirl at least a few times and see if it works for you.  If it doesn’t, we’ll keep trying until we hit on something that does.

Lisa

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Copyright 2014 Lisa B. Wolfe, Translating Grief, LLC

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