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Losing a Friend: Coping with Grief

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is one of the hardest and most challenging parts of life. Friendships are extremely meaningful and important life-changing relationships for most people, they represent the family we get to choose. For this reason, it can be very difficult to recover from the death of a friend. Losing a friend can be a painful shock, as it reminds us of the inevitable and how ephemeral life is.

While we all know life eventually comes to an end, dealing with grief is never easy. You may be asking yourself how you’re going to get through this and if it’s possible to stop feeling like this. There aren’t definite answers to these questions, with time, you’ll learn to accept the passing of a friend and you’ll learn to live with the pain. It’s important you know that it does get better.

What is grief?

Grief is our way to respond to loss. Grief can be felt in divorces, breakups, and the end of a friendship, but it’s mostly applied to the loss of someone we cared about who passed away. Besides having an emotional effect on our lives, grief also affects us physically, socially, spiritually, and behaviorally.

There is no right or wrong way to cope with grief. Losing a friend and grieving is a very personal experience and it belongs completely to the person experiencing it. This means that we have different ways of dealing with loss. For some, it’s extremely overwhelming for others, it takes time to process. There’s a wide array of emotions that can be felt: shock, anger, guilt, disbelief, and deep sadness.

Grief can also impact your health. When we’re in a feeling of deep sorrow, thinking, eating, and sleeping can become difficult tasks. It’s also common to see people taking too many activities and being overly active. They’re all normal reactions to loss. Keep in mind that there are healthy ways of coping with grief that can help you accept the death of your friend, find meaning, and eventually move on.

Healthy ways of coping with grief

As we’ve previously stated, there’s no right or wrong way to mourn. Nonetheless, there are healthy ways to come to terms with the pain and move on with your life. This is not a guide on how to get over losing a friend but a list of reminders that we need to make the process a bit easier.

1. Surround yourself with loved ones

Let the people you love support you in this tough time. Friends, family, partners, and all the people you know and trust are there for you. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable with your support circle, they’re there to remind you how loved you are. Whenever you’re feeling down, allow yourself to be cheered up by your friends and family.

2. Take it one day at a time

Some days are better than others and this is especially true when we’re mourning. Acknowledge your pain and accept the fact that grief can provoke many unexpected emotions. This process is unique to you, don’t get too hung up on the fact that you’re crying too much – or not at all. Only you know how painful this is to you so take care of yourself by not comparing your reactions to others. Moreover, try not to overthink the past. The biggest lesson death brings is to let go. Some things are completely out of our control and that’s a fact of life.

3. Practice self-care

Guilt is a common feeling in grief. When we’re hurting, it’s hard to take care of ourselves. Try to sleep and eat well, remember that your mind and body are connected. Go outside, watch movies, read a book, go for a jog, do exercise or play music, try to make time to do things you like. There is comfort in doing things you enjoy and getting back to a routine.

4. Seek professional help

Sometimes the death of a friend hits us harder than we think. It’s valid to acknowledge that you may need professional help to get through this. Sometimes our friends and family don’t have the tools to help us cope or perhaps they’re also hurting too. If you start neglecting yourself or your family, you feel deep blame and have intrusive thoughts, don’t be scared of finding grief support. You’re not alone in this.

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