What really helps grief?

Simone Koger, MA, LMFTA, CGP

2022-11-02

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Grief is a personal journey.

When you think about it, the person, relationship, pet, or place that you are grieving is a relationship that is one of one. While other people might witness your pain and have their own, your connection mattered. It was unique.

So what really helps grief? To answer that, takes self reflection. People across the world grieve in different ways. Even people in the same family grieve differently. In the end, it is about finding the tools, narratives, skills and time that works for you.

Options for discovering what works for your grief:

  • Talk to someone- grief counselors are trained in supporting various types of grief and loss. Talking to a professional, outside your circle of loved ones and friends can be helpful because there is no need to put on a facade or be mindful of the other's own grief. You have space to be authentically you.
  • Try connecting with other grievers- If you find building community supportive there are many national and local organizations who have groups for griever:
    • Some include:
    • The Dinner Party, an organization that supports 20-40 year olds in organized virtual dinner settings and offer a buddy system of people with similar grief origins.
    • The Healing Center, a Seattle based organization that has groups for all ages.
    • The Journey Program at Seattle Children's Hospital, for parents who have lost a child.
    • The Compassionate Friends community group (nationwide). The Kent Chapter's information is here.
    • Grief Share which offers national groups and has several located throughout Washington.
    • AFSP, is a national suicide awareness and support community which offers groups for support and suicide related loss.
  • Try on some coping skills- Nothing can take the pain away of a loss. But coping skills can help you decrease other stressors that potentially influence emotional distress. For example, some people experience panic attacks after a loss of a loved one. Finding tricks and tools that help diminish panic attacks can lessen the overwhelm effect on your body and mind, giving you more space to grieve in healthy ways rather than in excessively stressful ways. Over time, trying out different skills can help you narrow down the ones that uniquely support your personal journey.
  • Get outdoors- *As long as you feel safe doing so* Getting outside is scientifically proven to decrease symptoms of anxiety, depression, PTSD, stress, and heart disease. If you need proof, check out with Harvard School of Public Health article.
  • Check out Grief Books or Podcasts-There are many books and podcasts available that are related to different grief experiences. Some of the resources listed above have links to various books grievers have found supportive. You can also find Grief Sucks, our 180+ prompted grief journal on Amazon and Lulu.

Whatever you try, remember that grief is not something you have to take on alone. Whether you find skills that helped others, or build connections with new people from a grief group. There are many ways to support your journey.

To contact Simone Koger for grief counseling services in Washington state click here.