On my Facebook newsfeed this morning there was a quote that said “How to be happy. Wake up every day and decide to be happy.” Yikes. If only it was that simple! Now…I do believe that happiness is a choice – in general. That our attitude goes a long way towards improving or destroying our mood. HOWEVER, when someone is grieving (or depressed or has any number of disorders that effect mood…) simply adjusting one’s attitude is, well, too simplistic. So often my clients say to me that they’re having a “bad” day or a “good” day. They’ll tell you that I ALWAYS correct that and remind them that there are days of more intensity and days of less intensity. Alan Wolfelt, PhD, says that having a good day means becoming well acquainted with your pain. If that is so, then the good days are actually the more intense days! Mind-blowing, right? The days of intense grief, the expression of that grief, is healing in and of itself. Getting it out of you in whatever way you express grief is important to your healing process.
On the days (or hours or moments) of more intense grief, allow it (if you’re somewhere you can let the emotions flow), label it (by naming the emotion it helps to diffuse it), breath into it (or meditate on it) and, when you’re ready, let it go for this moment. When the intensity returns – and there is a when – repeat the process.
On the days (or hours or moments) of less intense grief, allow that too. Allow yourself to complete a delayed task (or two or three), or enjoy nature or the company of family and friends. And keep reminding yourself that it’s okay to have these kinds of days. A day of less intensity does not mean that you don’t still love or miss your person. It means that your mind and your body and your soul are taking a necessary reprieve and that’s healthy.
Copyright 2014 Lisa B. Wolfe, Translating Grief, LLC