Updated: Feb 8
What is Grief?
Grief is a normal, emotional response to loss however, our upbringing/society may have you believing differently. You may think that grief is something to avoid or rationalise and more than likely find it incredibly difficult to talk to others about.
Grief is not only caused by the death of someone close, but it can also be caused by the end or change in a pattern of behaviour that you have become used to. We may find ourselves in a situation where we have mixed feelings. On the one hand there could be relief, for example when experiencing a divorce but on the other hand it could also be causing great sadness that the relationship has come to an end. Grief can be caused by any major life change, for example moving, losing a job, leaving university to move into employment, retiring, or in fact any loss.
What is important to remember, is that no two people experience grief in the same way, it is a very individual experience. Therefore, making statements like ‘I know how you feel’ are not comforting or helpful. How do we know what is in another person’s heart? How we personally dealt with grief, will not relate to another person’s experience. It is natural to want to help to fix someone, see them happy again, but without realising it we could be doing more damage and adding to their grief. Making statements like ‘At least they are in a better place now’ after a long illness, will not fix the heart. We can try to rationalise what has happened, we may even know the statement is true, but it does not help to alleviate the pain in our heart.
If you have suffered grief, you may have heard these statements:
Give it time
Find a replacement
Keep yourself busy
Grief is not timebound, having more time is not going to make you miss someone less. Time may soften our grief, make it easier to carry on, but it will not make you miss someone less. I lost my dad when I was 30, time has not made me miss him less however, I have learned to live with the loss and the pain has softened. Like I mentioned earlier, we all take different amounts of time to come to terms with our grief and we cannot expect another person to stop missing someone because it takes them longer.
Making statements like ‘be strong’ can also prolong grief, as it can make a griever feel like they need to hide their emotions, which only encourages a person to push their feelings inside. We need to feel able to express and talk about our feelings, in the knowledge that we are being listened to, in order to deal with grief. A griever does not need the added stress of feeling if they show their emotions, their friends/family will become distant until they are over their grief.
If like me, you have suffered a relationship breakup, you know only too well that being told ‘You’ll be fine, there’s plenty more fish in the sea’ will not help you to recover. Neither will the fact that you may not be experiencing your first relationship breakup make it any easier to get through. Making statements that suggest moving on, only makes it more difficult for the griever as it implies that it is wrong to grieve over the loss. Finding another partner quickly does not help with getting over a previous relationship and it may result in carrying those emotions into the next relationship. Deep, meaningful relationships are not easy to get over and believing they are, and that moving on quickly is the answer, may be a reason why breakups and divorce are so common.
Returning to work too quickly, filling up a diary so every minute of the day is kept busy, is also not a good way to handle grief. Grief is not going to diminish by avoiding thinking about the loss. Pushing feelings down takes a huge amount of energy and it would not be long before feelings erupt, along with feeling exhausted both physically and emotionally.
Grief saps the body’s energy, which can have a huge impact on wellbeing. The body needs energy to remain healthy and it acquires it from the food we eat, exercise and being outside in nature. When a person is suffering with grief they may not be replacing and/or balancing the energy the body needs. If the lack of energy and balance in the body continues for a long period of time, health can be impacted and it is why it is not unusual for someone suffering grief to have health issues.
How Can You Help a Griever?
One of the most important things you can do to help is to listen. Allow the person who is grieving to talk through their emotions and about their loss. Listening skills need to be developed. Usually when we are talking with a friend, we generally take it in turns to talk, lining up what we will say next while the other person is still talking. To fully listen we need to listen to hear, not listen to respond.
When you are active listening, you are waiting for someone to finish talking before you form a response. This gives you time to process properly what has been said, stops you jumping in when the other person hasn’t fully finished speaking and makes the griever feel completely listened to. This can be very therapeutic.
Reach out to someone who is suffering with grief. After the initial weeks of a loss, people tend to drift away, and the experience can be very lonely. Let them know they are in your thoughts and available for a get together when they feel up to it.
When you do meet up, make sure the griever feels able to express both happy and sad feelings; it is important that they do not feel pressurised to suppress them. Society has a way of making grievers feel that after a short period of time it is no longer acceptable to show sad emotions and friends begin to lose patience when their efforts do not appear to be working. Encourage a griever to express their emotions, not hide them. Remember, grief takes as long as it takes, there is no timescale.
How Can Reiki Help a Griever?
As mentioned earlier, grief depletes energy and the body goes out of balance emotionally, physically and spiritually. Reiki replaces, balances and strengthens the flow of energy in the body; it works on spiritual, emotion and physical levels.
Reiki is often reported to help with reducing pain, stress, anxiety, insomnia and much more. Reiki promotes the body’s ability to heal itself by improving the immune system. When feeling better it makes it much easier to eat healthily, sleep better, take exercise and generally make better life choices that will support recovery from grief.
Reiki is not magic; it cannot miraculously make grief disappear overnight, but it can support the healing process and help with the rollercoaster of emotions that a griever experiences.
Grief causes deep feelings of anger, fear, sadness and numbness. These emotions can cause energy centres in the body (chakras) to become blocked or unbalanced. When this occurs, it can make a person feel out of sorts. During Reiki sessions, blockages and imbalances are removed and typically it brings an immediate sense of relaxation and mindful well-being.
Reiki is a spiritual practice and its benefits in this area are subtle. During grief a person can feel very alone; Reiki can help to develop a spiritual connection to something bigger than themselves, the meaning of life and give them a sense of purpose. Reiki helps to bring inner peace and a soul connection.
Someone who is experiencing grief may also suffer physical problems for example migraines or illness. Reiki helps by bringing the energy centres of the body back into balance which enhances the immune system and the body’s own ability to heal. When a griever’s health improves, they are better able to cope with their grief.
How do I book a Reiki Session?
If you are suffering with grief and would like to experience the benefits Reiki has to offer, click on the button below.
Simply add your telephone number on the message form at the bottom of the Booking and Fees Page and Lorna will call you to arrange a convenient appointment for you.
You will find my therapy room a peaceful, friendly and relaxing environment in which to receive your treatment. I look forward to supporting you during your time of grief.
Reiki blessings x