Saturday, November 4, 2017

Holistic Resources To Heal From Grief

recover from grief, grief in recovery
Healing from grief is one of the most challenging but expansive processes you may endure as a human being. Suffering a traumatic loss affects our physical body, our mental and emotional health, and our spiritual well-being. With that in mind, and having had my share of grief as well as lots of personal knowledge of and direct experience with the benefits of holistic modalities that helped me through grief recovery, I felt compelled to share some...

7 Holistic Resources that Helped Me Heal From Grief

1. EMDR For Grief 

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a therapeutic natural modality facilitated by a licensed psychotherapist or social worker. EMDR utilizes a method which simulates what our brain seems to attempt during REM sleep, allowing for a rapid processing of trauma. If you’re not familiar with this holistic form of psychotherapy, check it out. 

I actually chose to do an independent research study on this fascinating modality as a psychology undergrad. It was very new back then; I’m happy to see how widely it has since expanded. You can probably find an EMDR clinician near you. 

2. EFT For Grief

Emotional Freedom Technique, commonly referred to simply as “EFT” or “Tapping,” is a phenomenal tool for working through the various stages of grief. From the growing field of Energy Psychology, EFT combines the proven wisdom of ancient Chinese healing with modern psychology. This invaluable healing aid is probably my favorite of all time.

As an advanced EFT practitioner myself, I have had the honor of facilitating the EFT process with clients who presented with recent raw grief as well as old stuck grief. I have personally utilized EFT in my own process of healing from various forms of loss, including clearing PTSD symptoms associated with sudden tragic loss. I explain more about this mind-body technique and the different choices in which you may utilize EFT (from self-administered to professional guidance by a certified practitioner) in a previous article on Emotional Freedom Technique.

Note: if you prefer the more traditional route of working with a psychotherapist, seek out one certified in EMDR. Less traditionally but on the rise, you may find a psychotherapist in your area who is certified in Emotional Freedom Technique. Some EFT practitioners (coaches and therapists) offer distance appointments, as this technique can be facilitated via webcam or even phone once you are familiar with how it works.

3. Adrenal Support For Grief 

adrenal support for grief, resources for griefPhysically, it is very important to support your body under the stress of grief. The loss of a loved one, especially if sudden and unexpected, triggers the stress response and the cascade of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol as a result. Grief can consequently take a toll on your adrenal glands, which are responsible for the release of these stress hormones.

Have you ever seen someone who’s been under chronic stress? They can end up pretty sickly due to the physical brunt of the stress the body endures. Aware of this as a health professional, I knew it was important to tend to my physical wellbeing as much as I was able to, during the often exhausting grief process.

One simple action I took was to take a supplement for adrenal support. Adaptogenic herbs, such as ashwaganda, rhodiola, and eleuthro (siberian ginseng) can help support the adrenal glands affected by the stress brought on by grief. Adaptogens, as their name suggests, physically help the body adapt to stress. They have a balancing effect on the body. The supplement I personally use is Bliss Anti-Stress Formula which includes some of the aforementioned adaptogens and more. Check with your health practitioner before starting a new supplement.

4. Total Body Modification (TBM) and Neuro Emotional Technique (NET)

For unique comprehensive support of my physical health, I have often sought out practitioners who use holistic techniques called Total Body Modification and Neuro Emotional Technique. Both TBM and NET utilize applied kinesiology (muscle testing) to identify underlying physiological, structural and emotional causes of imbalance in the body. Both modalities involve subtle non-invasive techniques or remedies to stimulate the body to naturally “correct” whatever underlying imbalance is discovered. 

While I have also trained in some TBM and NET myself, I personally find this to be a modality best received by a fellow practitioner (unlike EFT, which I am able to effectively self-administer based on my training.) 

5.  Support Groups

Receiving the support of other human beings is crucial. Of my Top 7 resources here, support groups are the most affordable– often absolutely free– resource for grief support. It is easy to isolate in your grief; while taking ample alone time is part of the process, it’s crucial to balance it with human connection. 

If you’re a member of a spiritual community or involved in a 12 step fellowship, share about your grief there to receive support. Or specifically seek out a bereavement support group. You should be able to find a grief support group in your local newspaper, or checking with a local hospital or your town’s social services department to refer you to a group near you. 

Having already been connected to a community when I endured sudden grief, I personally received an outstanding amount of prayers, calls, messages of support as soon as my support network heard about my loss. In the intense shock of the initial loss, many of those specific messages are hazy at best but what stands out to me were two separate voicemails from long-term sober folk whose simple words “you don’t have to go through this alone” were the most comforting. 

Overall, the support from individuals who had been through grief and
experienced a similar type of loss as mine, were the most helpful. When you experience loss, you suddenly find yourself a member of a club you perhaps never realized existed… Based on your specific loss, perhaps you joined the ranks of the broken hearted, or the motherless daughters, the young widows, or whatever demographic that uniquely understands your brand of pain. As dark as that may sound, it’s important to connect with people with whom you can relate and ideally who can offer hope from the other side of that loss.

6. Spiritual Books on Grief 

Especially in early stages of profound loss, you may experience some insomnia. I recommend you keep spiritual books by your bedside for when that occasion arises. There are countless books on the subject of grief and loss. Especially if you naturally gravitate towards books, this is a time you could particularly benefit from the non-fiction variety to help further support yourself through the process of healing. You may find that you become more inquisitive about the afterlife, and if so, there are plenty of books on the topic of afterlife as well.

7. Spiritual Intuitives 

...with Roland Comtois
after an event in 2012. 
Reading the spiritual books on afterlife opened me up even more to the possibility of connecting with a loved one’s energy on the other side. Friends and acquaintances at the time recommended (without me even asking) specific intuitive professionals to seek out. That got my attention and I soon took them up on the suggestion. 

One was in a group format, with popular medium, Roland Comtois (check out his book, And Then There Was Heaven, in which my thank you note to him got quoted!). A seasoned intuitive named Denise Toth was amazing as well (I worked with her by phone, she is semi-retired in Georgia), and of course over the years I have relied on the intuitive guidance from my friend and colleague, the clairvoyant healer Rebecca Karchere

As much as EMDR and EFT helped me to shift the mental and emotional trauma behind the grief, I must say that the emotional/spiritual healing that occurred from my direct experiences with these psychic mediums, struck me as the most profound. It is difficult to articulate the nature of healing that can occur on this level – as with anything energy-related, it really must be personally experienced for full effect.

Pick a Resource That Resonates with You 

In summary, I implore you to be gentle with yourself during the emotional roller coaster of the grief process. Know that you will indeed feel lighter and stronger again. As always, I’m a big fan of taking advantage of resources that can accelerate any otherwise painful and potentially long process. 

I encourage you to pick one of the recommended holistic resources above that is new to you. If you really want to gift yourself the best self-care through your grief, pick one resource that supports the physical aspect, one that supports the mental/emotional healing, and one specific to the spiritual support. After all, you deserve a “whole” healing. 

Feel free to share your grief and healing experiences in the comments section below. Wishing you comprehensive healing and personal growth as you move through your own personal process of grief recovery!

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