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6 key ideas to overcome the loss of loved ones

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Losing a loved one, be it a family member or a pet, is one of the most emotionally painful experiences, but that does not mean that it consists of a psychological disorder. Feeling that feelings of nostalgia of sadness and nostalgia overwhelm us is normal, but at the same time, it is something that we can learn to manage through our way of interpreting this situation, and through our habits.

If you are going through something like this or know someone who is grieving, read on; here we will talk about various psychological aspects that help you go through grief.

  • Related article: "Emotional psychology: main theories of emotion"

6 psychological keys to manage and overcome the grief due to the loss of loved ones

These are several key ideas to keep in mind to manage your grief in the best possible way.

1. Grief is a process of adaptation

Many people believe that going through a grieving process consists of leaving a stage of life behind; however, one could practically say that it is the opposite:

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it is above all to adapt to a new situation, starting from all the experiences we have lived up to that moment.

This means, among other things, that to overcome the grief over the loss of a loved one, one must not forget; trying to do so would make the situation worse, as we shall see. The way in which we should relate to the memories we have with that person or pet cannot be based on the denial of these (as if we had never gone through those experiences) but in the re-interpretation of what we remember, from our current situation.

2. Do not try to block thoughts

This idea is derived from the previous one, and has to do with the "white bear effect": if we try to keep certain thoughts out of our consciousness, we actually give them more power to interfere with it and appear again and again in our mind in the form of intrusive thoughts. In turn, the discomfort caused by this contributes to our fear of those memories or thoughts, further reinforcing the problem.

Therefore, it is important not to become obsessed with not thinking about the loved one we have lost. However, this does not mean that it is unwise to decide to spend the first days of mourning not exposing places that remind us of that person, provided that doing so does not involve making a lot of effort (which would lead us to obsess with that).

  • You may be interested in: "The 8 benefits of going to psychological therapy"

3. Funeral rituals often help

The vast majority of human cultures perform funeral rituals, and this is not by chance. These are practices that help represent a closing of the cycle after the death of a person and they also create the right context to receive emotional support from others.

Furthermore, it is not necessary that these rituals are always those mandated by the tradition of the hegemonic culture in which they live, nor that they are linked to a specific religion. The important thing is that we are able to see their meaning and that they allow us to participate in a community event, if we want to.

4. Talk about that loved one with others

Talk about that person or pet helps to stop always remembering it from the filter of the same feelings (many of which cause us discomfort) and make our way of thinking about it filled with nuances. For example, other people less affected by the loss are likely to remind us of anecdotes. funny or funny lived with someone who is no longer, or interesting and intellectually interesting situations stimulants, etc.

5. Reflect on what that loved one has given you

Knowing that the presence in our lives of that loved one has helped us mature in some way and has allowed us to learn things is a good way to manage grief; that way, we become aware that he has not totally disappeared, and that his existence has left a positive mark on us. Somehow, he is still present through the memories he has left us.

6. If the situation continues for weeks, go to psychotherapy

In most cases, grieving the loss of loved ones is a painful process that resolves itself in a matter of days, and does not involve developing psychopathology. If this is not the case and you notice that you feel a great discomfort that overwhelms you for several weeks, get in touch with psychotherapy professionals.

Are you interested in having psychotherapeutic assistance?

If you are suffering from emotional, behavioral or cognitive problems, we can help you from our team of professionals. On Vibra Wellbeing we offer psychotherapy as well as meditation, yoga, physical therapy, and nutrition counseling sessions, and We attend both in person at our facilities in Madrid and through online sessions by video call.

Bibliographic references:

  • American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fifth edition. DSM-V. Masson, Barcelona.
  • Andrés-Rupérez, M.T. (2003). The concept of death and the funeral ritual in prehistory. Archeology Notebooks, 11: pp. 13 - 36.
  • Fleming-Holland, R. TO. (2008). Reflections on Death: Child Grief and Youth Suicide. Ibero-American Psychology, 16 (1): pp. 8 - 14.
  • Nomen Martín, L. (2007). The duel and death. The treatment of loss. Madrid: Pyramid.
  • Payás, A. (2008). Psychological functions and treatment of obsessive rumination in grief. Journal of the Spanish Association of Neuropsychiatry, 28 (102): pp. 307 - 323.
  • Shear, K., Frank, E., Houck, P., & Reynolds, C. (2005). Treatment of complicated grief: A randomized controlled trial. JAMA, 293: pp. 2601 - 2608.
  • Stroebe, M.; Schut, H.; Boerner, K. (2017) Coping models in grief: an updated summary. Psychology Studies, 38 (3): pp. 582 - 607.

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