If God brought you to it,
He will get you through it.

01 November 2008

Learning To Cope

When someone dies suddenly, it is not unusual to have a sense that one was rejected or abandoned in some way. When you are feeling the searing pain and anger of abandonment, it is even more difficult to consider that your pain may be transformed into something meaningful or that the end of the relationship through death can be in any way beneficial to your own growth. Especially if you were dependent on the other person for good feelings about yourself.

Indeed, when we are engulfed in dark times, we often focus heavily on our loss and what isn't going right.

So how should one go through the process of grief?

There is no hard and fast rule. Perhaps it's best that you live one day at a time. No matter what your friends tell you, don't be pressured to follow a timetable in overcoming your grief. Along the way, try to find ways to ventilate all those pent-up emotions. They need to be released.

In the best-selling book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, author Sarah Bran Breathnach suggested that the use of a gratitude journal is "a tool that could change the quality of your life beyond belief." Each night before you go to bed, write down five things that you can be grateful about that day.

It may prove difficult at first to find anything positive when all you could see is darkness. But after some time, you need to begin looking again... no matter how simple these good things might be. You can begin by writing something as basic as "I was able to get out of bed today." What is important is the fact that you saw something positive and, by acknowledging it, you attract more positive things to your life.

Practicing breathing exercises can also help you relax and unwind your wound emotions. The following simple exercises will help calm you during trying times:

Place one hand on your abdomen. As you inhale, you want to feel the movement in your abdomen,not in your chest. Inhale for the count of 10, then exhale for the count of 10. Repeat this 10 to 15 times for deeper relaxation.

To relax your whole body, lay down in a quiet place. Breathe deeply, slowly inhaling and exhaling. Beginning with your left leg, clench your muscles as tightly as you can for the count of 3. Then relax them. Do the same to the right leg, left arm and right arm. Then move up your body tightening up your pelvis, then stomach, then chest, then shoulders, then neck and, lastly, your facial muscles. When you have completed this exercise, you should feel extremely calm and peaceful. Visualize an ocean beach or other calming scene to deepen the relaxed feelings.

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Being happy doesn't mean everything's perfect. It means you decide to see beyond the imperfections.

"Count your blessings. Once you realize how valuable you are and how much you have going for you, the smiles will return, the sun will break out, the music will play, and you will finally be able to move forward to the life that God intended for you with grace, strength, courage and confidence." ~ Og Mandino

If I could wish for my life to be perfect, it would be tempting, but I would have to decline, for life would no longer teach me anything.
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"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11-14
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