Sleep is crucial for healing emotionally and physically. In fact, your healing begins with sleep. Be cognizant of the importance of a good night’s sleep so that you will see it as a necessary tool in your grief journey. Grief and sleep can coexist, and adequate sleep for the griever is essential.
From setting up your room, creating a nighttime ritual to rewiring your mind to focus on positive thoughts instead of drowning in the dark ones, are just some of the thing you can do to help you get the rest your mind, body and soul needs.
Thought anchors are affirmations, which help rewire your brain to reduce anxiety and cultivate deep relaxation. I like calling them “anchors” because they truly help moor you to a state of mind. You can say them or think them as long as you do so repeatedly. You do not need to have a calm mind to benefit from this practice.
HOW TO PRACTICE THOUGHT ANCHORS
Enjoy the way you feel in your bed. Imagine that all of the above thought anchors are true for you—right now in this moment—and enjoy the self-esteem relaxation you experience. Repeat each thought anchor in your mind or out loud with conviction. You can even make up your own. These are just some of my favorites.
To learn more about how you can get a good night sleep, check out my "Sleep" chapter in my book, "What I Wish I'd Known" on Amazon.
There was a time I believed everything society thought of me.
As a suicide survivor, I wasn’t merely suffering from grief after my husband’s suicide, I was also internalizing the stigma that surrounded me.
I felt guilty; surely I didn’t get my husband the help he needed. I felt shame; my husband preferred death over his life with me. And I felt hopeless; this is the kind of event that you never get over.
In my grief, I subscribed to the attitudes and assumptions I’d heard expressed countless times throughout my life. As friends and family, the media, and even I made seemingly meaningless remarks about mental illness, depression, and suicide, it shaped the way I would react when these completely shattered my world. I was a living, breathing self-stigma, and that made life unbearable.
Breathing exercises are so important to do on a daily basis when you are grieving. They helped me deepen my connection with my body and bring awareness to the present moment. I found that when tension in my body was released, my mind was able to take a break from worrying about my loss and how I would cope in the future, which is a side effect of grief.
My grief settles in my belly and chest. I find myself tensing up to protect myself from future pain. Learning to breathe and soften my stomach and chest muscles has helped me to relax and let go
How to breathe:
1. Find a quiet, comfortable place for a few minutes. Sit up straight with your hands by your sides or on top of your legs, palms up or down—whichever feels most natural and relaxed.
2. Close your eyes; breathe deeply through your nose so that your abdomen expands first, followed by your chest for a count of four.
3. Hold your breath for a count of eight.
4. Slowly exhale completely through your mouth, making a whooshing sound to the count of twelve.
5. Repeat four times.
6. Open your eyes. Breathe normally. Take a minute before standing to make sure you are not lightheaded.
by Kristi Hugstad
Each of us has attached ourselves to something or somebody, and when you lose that special thing or person, you grieve. Always. You can try to run from it all you want, but it will always find you and tackle you when you’re not looking. My blogs, along with my books, will give you the tools to help you learn to live with your new self as you journey through your grief.