Overcoming Problems - Grief Activities

By Tess Thompson

Complicated grief is a rare phenomenon, and most of the time, adults are able to manage normal grief with a positive mental attitude. Accepting the loss (especially death) and realizing that life must go on helps in conquering grief overall. It is difficult to come to terms with death for anyone, and this is especially so in instances where a strong bond existed with the deceased.

Even though as adults we know that death is irreversible, it is still possible to enter into a state of denial. Many adults get overwhelmed with emotion when they have to face death of a loved one. Somehow death has a way of shaking us out from the security where we believe 'this cannot happen to me'' (or my family/friend).

Many adults are not comfortable with showing their grief to others. They tend to close themselves in a cocoon and try to dissociate with everyone else. Such people are reluctant to express their emotions and to keep the grief within themselves. Unexpressed grief can lead to various manifestations that one may never actually associate with unresolved grief. Many people start to undergo psychosomatic problems. People have been known to get ulcers in their mouths, severe headaches, and upset stomachs without realizing that it has anything to do with their unexpressed grief. Some adults, on the other hand, react more aggressively in the event of traumatic deaths. They obsess on seeking revenge over murders and fatal accidents, and may become unmanageable without outside help.

Friends and family can help those undergoing complicated grief by diverting them towards some positive activities which can help people to express their emotions. Silly as it may sound, making a box and then screaming in it can be really cathartic. Cutting out pictures or kicking a bag can also help in venting frustration at the helpless situation. The basic idea is to release the blocked energy and strengthen the individual from within.

Art activities like painting, drawing, and collages help to give expression to what an individual might be feeling inside. For some people, music may be a better means of expression. Movement activities like dance and energetic sporting activities can also help in releasing inner grief without having to speak. Reading stories relevant to death aloud to others and then entering into a constructive discussion regarding realities of life and death provides an opportunity for people to discuss aspects that are otherwise brushed under the carpet.

Writing a journal and noting down the feelings that one is going through can also help in bringing out the inner thoughts.

There is no way that the grieving path can be predicted. Every individual responds differently in the event of a loss, and everyone emerges differently from the loss that was faced. However, some activities can help in expediting the healing process so that rehabilitation back into the real world can take place faster.



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