Coping with loss

Loss can come in many forms. But no matter what the event was that led to the loss, it is never an easy experience to deal with. There are no right or wrong emotions when such an event occurs — all you can do is try to get through it. Here we share some thoughts and advice on coping with loss.

Sad woman

Accept your feelings

Loss comes in many forms. It could be the loss of a pet, the ending of a relationship, the selling of a house or a number of other things you weren’t quite ready to let go of. The most important thing at such a challenging time is to accept whatever you are feeling. You may be shocked, angry, hurt or experiencing any number of emotions. Though you may not be used to feeling so strongly, that doesn’t mean you have to try to shake away those thoughts and attempt to immediately get back to normal. Instead, accept your feelings and acknowledge the fact that having them is normal.

Acknowledge your emotions

When it comes to loss, there are no right or wrong emotions. Every person experiences it differently and goes through a different range of thoughts and feelings. What can help, however, is acknowledging those emotions. For instance, stating “I feel afraid” or “I feel lonely” can take some of the mystery away from what you are experiencing. Once you know that you are upset because you are lonely, for example, you can try to think of ways that might make you feel slighly less alone. This isn’t to say that you’re expected to miraculously feel better, but identifying what you’re going through can make the experience seem slightly less incomprehensible.

Start with the immediate

The fact is, you don’t know where your life will be months or years down the road, so there is no point in trying to plan or guess at what it will be. Instead, spend your energy focusing on the immediate. What will you do for the next hour? For the rest of the day? Before you go to bed? Focusing on the immediate can make what you are going through feel less overwhelming. Think of those things that can bring you some relief or act as a distraction, and try to work them into your day.

Reach out

You should never feel like you have to go through a loss alone. Loss is an experience that every person faces, and there is no need to feel embarrassed about what you are going through. Reaching out to a family member or friend might be just the support you need. Or, if you prefer an alternative approach to healing, hotlines and support groups that can help you with what you are experiencing exist all over the country. Everyone experiences loss differently, but you should never have to feel alone because of that. So when you’re ready, don’t be afraid to reach out.

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