Posts Tagged ‘emotions’

Hope, Trust, Joy and Wonder — Wisdom from Babes

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Little girl offering cocker spaniel a taste of her ice cream coneAs 2012 ends and the anticipation of a new year (along with the prospect for new beginnings) arrives, I can’t help but think about life through the eyes of a little child. Children have the right idea—and we can take away valuable lessons for living by looking at life through their eyes.

I sensed life through a new lens this Christmas. As adults, I think we often tend to become jaded over the years—a bit cynical; less than enthusiastic about things that excited us before; and sometimes we end up just going through the motions of holidays, celebrations, and even our everyday lives.

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Coping with Grief During the Holidays

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Christmas lights_star_golden color_grief_holidays

Judy Brizendine was interviewed today by Anna Banks for a special show about dealing with grief during the holidays – on the program “Living Fully After 40™ Radio.

Anna also wrote an article for her Living Fully After 40™ Blog today (December 12) about Judy, her STUNNED by Grief books, and the challenges of grief and the holidays.

This time of year, which we normally greet with excitement and anticipation, is extremely difficult for anyone who has experienced the death of a loved one or other types of deep losses. Instead of joy, someone who is grieving most likely is experiencing feelings of dread, anxiety, a lack of energy, loneliness, and an overall sense of being overwhelmed. However, there are things you can do to make your holiday season more manageable—and to carve out moments of  joy in the midst of your grief.  You’ll find suggestions to help you cope with grief during the holidays in Judy’s guest blog article, ‘5 Ideas to Ease Holiday Anxiety During Grief,’ written for the Journeys Through Grief Newsletter.

Check out Anna’s blog to read the article about Judy (as well as a host of other articles dealing with issues we all face) whether or not we are past the age of 40!

(Photo courtesy of office.microsoft.com)

 

Grief and Loss Bring Choices — and You Are not Powerless!

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

stairs going in opposite directions_brick wall_cobblestone streetWhen circumstances and incidents take place that are outside of your control, do you sometimes feel as though you’re a pawn? Do you feel helpless? The truth is that loss is often beyond your control—and grief and loss bring choices—however, you are not powerless.

When grief entered my life, I was so naïve. I had no idea what to expect, and I surely didn’t realize I had choices (or responsibilities) for anything related to the grief that confused and overwhelmed me. However, as time went on, I came to understand that I did have choices to make—and these decisions carried the potential to drive me in completely opposite directions that would affect my future and my outlook on life.

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What Do You Do When Tragedy Strikes?

Monday, March 12th, 2012

dark turbulent threatening stormy cloudsWhat do you do when tragedy strikes?

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about something since March 2, the day that spelled devastation for so many people in Indiana, Kentucky, and Alabama. Life can change in an instant. I doubt that anyone who was affected by the deadly tornadoes woke up that Friday morning thinking they (or someone they love) would be hurt, or die, or lose their home later that day—and it would all take place within a matter of seconds.

We just go about living our lives each day. We can’t constantly be thinking about what may happen, or worrying needlessly, because that’s no way to live a happy, fulfilling, and trusting life. At the same time, when tragedy strikes, we are jolted into the reality that much of what happens to us is beyond our control. Terrible, unexplainable things occur every day—and individual lives are affected and changed—sometimes forever.

I’m not writing this message from a distance. The subject hits very close to my heart.

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When Was the Last Time You Laughed?

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

bulldog wearing pink organdy collar and sporting an 'attitude'When was the last time you laughed—especially uncontrollably? If you’re somewhere in the grieving process, you probably think this is an unusual question, maybe even inappropriate. Keep reading!

Laughter is a “healing” escape. Research has confirmed the powerful medicinal effects of laughter. It truly is a miracle drug! And how many ‘drugs’ today have no negative side effects? Laughter produces only positive effects—on both the mind and the body! Laughter even helps to fight disease.

Have you noticed in your own experience that positive and negative responses cannot occupy the same space? If you’re giggling, can you stay mad or upset? How many times have you been angry with someone, and they kept teasing you until you smiled or laughed? When you couldn’t keep from smiling (no matter how hard you tried) didn’t your mood change?

I understand that at times during grief, especially early on, you won’t be able to laugh. And please know that I am not disrespecting or disregarding the grieving process. It’s crucial. However, everyone needs breathing space from grief. Otherwise, it’s too overwhelming.

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What Is the Widespread Misunderstanding about Grief?

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

smooth polished stone heart lying among shells on the beachMisunderstanding about grief is common. Just talk to people, if you can get them to talk about it. People generally don’t want to discuss grief until they’re faced with it in their own lives—or in the life of someone they know.

A key misconception is that grief will finally just go away on its own. This mistaken idea goes right along with the one we’ve all heard: “Time heals all wounds.” Neither is true.

All loss results in grief—but the process to reach healing is a choice each person has to make. We choose whether to face our grief or try to ignore or bury it. Every person eventually chooses whether to be a victor or a victim.

I don’t want to mislead you. At first, grief is all-consuming, and the pain is overwhelming. You’ll be in a state of shock and feel numb. Some describe this feeling as being ‘in a fog.’

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Anchor Yourself During Grief

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Sturdy tree laden with green leaves and surrounded by fogBecause grief is confusing, disorderly, and sometimes overwhelming — it’s very important to anchor yourself during grief to someone or something that will not fail.

Grief has a way of knocking you off-balance and stealing the wind from your sails until you get a handle on what’s happening, learn enough to know what to expect, and find out about the steps you can take to move toward healing. An anchor will keep you from falling during the unexpected chaos that comes with grief.

Anchors will vary among grievers.

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During Grief, Don’t Jump to Conclusions Too Hastily!

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Mule peering through slats of white fence against blue sky backgroundHave you hastily jumped to a conclusion during grief (or just in your daily life), later learned you seriously misjudged a situation, action, or person’s intention —  and then realized your rash judgment created a division you could not completely restore? What a devastating realization!

During grief, be aware that emotions run in high gear. And certain times, such as the holidays, can trigger reactions that are uncharacteristically intense. Your thinking may be a bit unclear. So, with these things in mind — stop and think before responding (or reacting) instinctively to whatever situation you meet.

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Especially When Grieving — Focus on What’s Still Good in Your Life!

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Woman's hands folded on an open BibleWhen grieving, particularly during the holidays, our first reaction is to think about what we’ve lost. Holidays are special (and emotional) times of the year, and of course, our thoughts focus on the people we love. If we’ve recently lost a loved one, or experienced another type of significant loss, the holidays bring pain rather than joy, and anxiety rather than anticipation.

What I’m going to suggest will take conscious effort on your part, but when you change your thoughts — your attitude (and emotions) will follow. This season, when you find yourself dwelling on all that you’ve lost, immediately refocus and think about at least one blessing you still have in your life. And then, another one …

Pretty soon, your thoughts will be headed in an entirely different direction because your mind cannot concentrate on both the positive and negative at the same time.

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How We Coped with Grief during the Holidays — and How You Can, Too

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

Tree Lined Country Road with Changing Leaves of Red, Gold, Orange, YellowCoping with grief during the first holidays or anniversaries after the death of a loved one or other devastating loss is especially difficult. Your pain is fresh and memories are tender. Emotions stay close to the surface, and those around you tend to be uncomfortable about what to say, how to act, and what to expect as the day approaches.

Like many families, ours had established traditions that carried over from one holiday to the next. Often the menu stayed the same from year to year, the place and time for the get-together was set, and everyone knew what to expect. Each person even sat in the same chair! Sounds boring, but it’s surprising how many families keep the same traditions over the years. We become comfortable.

After my husband died, the thought of celebrating the holidays the same way we always had — but without him there — seemed much too difficult. His absence would have been especially glaring. Who would sit in his chair? How would we respond to the emptiness?

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Will You Say ‘Yes’ to Healing from Grief?

Monday, September 19th, 2011

Red door with metal security gate in front Will you walk through the door?

Healing from grief requires a ‘yes’ from you. The door that leads to healing probably seems intimidating. It’s not warm or inviting, and you may be scared. After all, who wants to face pain?

You’re not sure what you’ll find on the other side of the door. Like this photo of a ‘double’ door, once you open the first one, you may run into others you have to walk through, too — layers of uncomfortable feelings, fears, and unexpected issues connected to your grief. But healing begins with a choice: the decision to face the pain and work through it.

When a loss first occurs, your immediate goal is survival — making it through the day, the hour, or even the minute.

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What Kind of Grief Day Are You Having?

Monday, June 27th, 2011

photo of red suede shoesYou may think this is a little odd, but I was thinking about shoes the other day—and about how a shoe could tell a story about my grief journey.

I have a pair of work boots that I used to wear on job sites to keep my nice shoes from being destroyed. We never knew what we would run into on construction sites—drywall mud, paint, dirt, construction debris—or just about anything! So I tried to keep my work boots in the trunk, just in case. The grief journey is kind of like that—you never know just what you’ll run up against or how something will affect you at a certain time.

My work boots were comfortable, sturdy, ordinary, no-nonsense shoes. And well- worn. They were made for work. Certainly at times grief felt like hard work—and I felt worn-out and a little ragged—just like my work boots.Leather work boots

At other times, something would happen to really lift my spirits and give me hope— kind of like my red suede slip-on loafers. Comforting. Positive. Someone would call just to let me know they’d been thinking about me. Or a friend would offer to help with something I couldn’t do by myself. Optimistic shoes—like a grief day touched by the reassurance that everything will be okay again.

Not every day during grief is a ‘work boot’ day. Thankfully, there are some ‘red suede loafer’ days, too!

What kind of grief day are you having?

© 2011 Judy Brizendine

Snugly Bundles of Love Bring Life to Grief

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011
Photo of Max the cat in the dryer

Max in the dryer

I’d like you to meet this little guy—well, actually he’s not so little! His name is Max, and he’s around fifteen pounds of pure love and limitless curiosity. He’s like a toddler on the move, poking his head (and his paws) into, behind, and underneath anything that looks interesting or new. This photo captured him sneaking into the dryer just as we started loading it with clothes! We never know where we’ll find Max next. When discovered, he always looks at us as if to say, “What?”

My daughter presented Max and his little sister Molly to me a while after my husband died. I wasn’t used to an empty, silent house. All life seemed to have gone away. Explaining what these two little critters brought back into my life and home is hard to put into words. Energy. Delight. Playfulness. Warmth. Anticipation. Love.

Picture of the cat named Meadow

Meadow

My experience is not unique. The same was true for my mom, brother, mother-in-law, and countless others after the loss of a loved one. None of them thought they wanted a pet. In fact, they were pretty sure they didn’t! But the people around them were persuasive! Each soon discovered a secret that pet owners have known for years. Pets have a curious way of melting your heart. Somehow, before you even know what’s happened, they’ve wiggled their way into your life and set up shop!

The emotional benefit of pets, especially during difficult times (such as grief or loss), is underestimated. See the related article in the L.A. Times.

Consider finding your own Max and Molly! Or Sammy, Josie, Abby, Jackson, Meadow, Maggie, or KC—each one has a unique, endearing personality; each has quirky little habits; and every single one has stolen the heart of its owner.

Most likely you have stories of your own to tell, too!

© 2011 Judy Brizendine