Culture & Lifestyle / Part 3: Mindfulness To Cope With Your Grief

Part 3: Mindfulness To Cope With Your Grief

Culture & Lifestyle Aug 11, 2015

This is the finale of our three-part series covering the various tolls grieving can take on your mind, body and spirit. We explore the state of mindfulness during the grieving process. 

*To read part one, on grieving the loss of a loved one, click here.
*To read part two, on how grief can affect your mental and physical health, click here.

Grief can stifle a person’s wellbeing, especially if it is prolonged or traumatic. The feelings related to grief can be overwhelming at times and you may wonder how to get through it when it has gone on for too long or is negatively impacting your day to day living. Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, is the founding executive director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He is also a professor who teaches and advocates using mindfulness training with meditation to heal and get past life’s stresses, anxieties and chronic illnesses. Kabat-Zinn integrated the practice of yoga and Buddhist teachings with science in his creation of the popular Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) offered by medical centers, hospitals and health maintenance organizations.  

So what is mindfulness you ask? Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you're mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them as good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by (as in the state of grief stricken moments). According to Psychology Today,  mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experiences that are in your current state.

If you are suffering from grief and starting to wonder if mindfulness is the approach for you, here are the top five reasons from my perspective that will provide some great benefits during your time of pain.

1. Helps You Focus on the Present Moment

Anxiety and depression relate to the past and the future. When you experience a higher level of anxiety due to overwhelming responsibilities due to a significant loss in your life, it is mainly because your predominant thoughts are caught up in the future. When you find yourself stuck in sadness and depression, it is because most of your thoughts are caught up in the past. This is really important to be aware of and mindfulness training and meditation can help you focus on the here and now, allowing you to experience life AS IS as opposed to how it WAS or SHOULD be.

2. Allows You to Feel Your Emotions Without Judgment

The meditative aspect of mindfulness is based on the premise of non-judgment which means when you feel or think of anything at all, you let your body experience it and let it pass without resistance. The path of least resistance is a subject we will talk about in the future but for today’s purposes mindfulness training is a gateway to teaching you how to take the path of least resistance in your life. Resisting thoughts and emotions only increases the stress so through non-judgment and awareness, you will learn to accept the emotional rollercoaster of your grieving period. Remember what you resist persists. Mindfulness will help you go with the flow.

3. Relieves You of Stress and Physical Ailments

Mindfulness hasn’t proven to be a cure for major illnesses but it has proven to show improvements in health outcomes for patients suffering from chronic diseases. Mindfulness-based stress reduction is a structured group program that uses mindfulness meditation to improve well-being and alleviate suffering. Reviews of the impact of MBSR for people with chronic diseases found that participation in an MBSR program resulted in improvements to mental and physical health, well-being and quality of life. No negative change was reported between baseline and follow up.

4. Builds Your Inner Strength

By practicing mindfulness, you are building your core self moment by moment. The building of your inner strength is the very thing that will get you through the difficult circumstances that life can throw at you. Compare it to building a muscle when you work out. The more you practice mindfulness during trying times, the stronger your mental, emotional and physical self can deal with the ebbs and flows of this journey we call life.

5. Minimizes Fear and Allows You to Live Life Fully

Many times, the fear of hurt and pain can prevent us from trying new things in life or taking that step forward to opening up to exciting experiences. When you become tuned to the present moment rather than worrying about what could go wrong, you start opening up and being courageous. Experiencing new life adventures requires courage with the confidence that no matter how it all turns out you will be ok. Imagine how full your experiences and moments can be when you build your courage and minimize your fear.

After a difficult stage in your life and when you are ready to work through your grief, mindfulness is a gateway to let your true spirit soar and experience joy again.

Main Image Photo Credit:

Yvonne Sinniah

Yvonne Sinniah


Yvonne Sinniah (@YvonneSinniah) is a Relations Advisor and inspirational speaker focusing on helping individuals achieve success in personal and professional environments.  focusing on helping individuals achieve success in personal and professional environments.  She is on a mission to meet a nee...


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