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 of tension.
After completing my body scan meditation, which I do morning and evening, I often ask myself, “What does my breath tell me about how my body is coping with my grief?” When I invite my body to relax, it not only stops my stress reaction, (fight or flight), it reverses the harmful physical effects of stress. My breathing helps me experience a greater sense of calm and control that is essential in my grieving process. I have learned to breathe through my grief and beyond.
Body Scan Meditation (Progressive Relaxation)
Lie on your back in a relaxed position, arms down at your side, palms up. Take a deep breath through your nose, bringing your awareness fully to the present moment. Exhale through your mouth and feel your body relax.
Continue to breathe slowly and gently as you bring your awareness to the top of your head. As the feeling of relaxation begins to spread down from the top of your scalp, feel the muscles in your forehead and temples relax. Allow your eye muscles to relax and your jaw to soften. Let your ears, nose, chin, teeth, and gums relax
Let your cheeks and your jaw soften and let go of all your teaching. Now let the same feeling travel down into your neck. Feel it loosening every muscle and every fiber. With each breath you take, this relaxing feeling becomes deeper and warmer. Feel it work its way down deep into the muscles in your shoulders. Feel it loosen the muscles in your upper arms, your forearms, your hands, relaxing and soothing all the way down to the tips of your fingers.
As your body relaxes so does your mind, and your thoughts become lighter and seem to diminish. You are thinking yourself into a dreamlike state of stillness and relaxation.
Bring your awareness now to your chest and your stomach. Feel these areas gently rise and fall as you breathe. The peaceful sensation is soothing every muscle and relaxing every organ.
Turn your attention to your upper back, and feel this relaxing sensation flow all the way down your spine. Allow it to gradually work its way down your body feeling every muscle in your back relax and unwind. Your entire upper body now has become loose and relaxed.
Now allow this sensation to travel to your hips and start to work its way through your lower body. Relax your glutes, the back of your thighs, the front of your thighs. Feel all these large muscle groups becoming more relaxed and loosening with each passing breath.
Send the same soothing feelings of relaxation down through your knees, and into your calves, ankles, and feet. Allow your entire lower body to relax, allowing any tension from anywhere in your body to flow out to the tips of your toes.
Enjoy your peaceful and relaxed state. Leave the external world behind, and go on an inner journey. A journey to a greater inner peace. Spend as long as you like in this peaceful state visualizing your personal goal and following your highest path. Visualize yourself living your ideal in the personal growth area of your life.
When you are ready to return to your full waking state, take the sense of newfound freedom with you into your daily life. Become aware of your physical body and your surroundings. Wiggle your toes and fingers and when you are ready, in your own time, open your eyes.
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.