Grief is the experience of loss and affects all aspects of our lives, and at some point, everyone suffers from it. Not only is grieving painful, it can take a toll on our mental and physical health.
According to an excerpt from the book Coping With Grief and Loss: A Guide to Healing, grief goes hand in hand with a wide range of physical and mental problems, including memory impairment, difficulties concentrating, nutritional deficiencies, and poor work performance. Stress and grief may cause or exacerbate existing physical ailments.
How Does Grief Affect the Body?
Grief affects us in many ways: loss of appetite, fatigue, heart palpitations, tightness in chest, weakness, lack of energy, gastrointestinal disturbances, and weight gain or loss. Many of these symptoms are not harmful and usually subside over time. However, grief can compromise our immune system, putting us at risk for colds and serious illness.
Grief is also associated with more severe outcomes, including premature death. Research has found a significant increase in excess mortality (above what we'd normally expect) from accidental, violent, and alcohol-related deaths following loss. Individuals are more likely to commit, or attempt, suicide during times of grief.
Furthermore, emotional triggers such as grief may increase your risk for heart attack, especially if you are already at high risk. A study in Circulation reported that at-risk individuals are 20 percent more likely to suffer heart-related deaths during spousal bereavement. Those who are newly widowed are 21 times more likely to have a heart attack in the first 24 hours after learning their spouse has died. This elevated risk persists for at least a month, although it gradually declines over time.
It's common for people who are grieving to feel myriad emotions-sadness, anxiety, anger, relief, fear, loneliness, guilt, abandonment, ambivalence, and despair. Unresolved grief may lead to depression or even post traumatic stress disorder.
Everyone experiences grief in his or her own way. Over time, most people adjust to the loss and put their energy back into other activities and relationships.
If you are grieving, it's important to take care of yourself and protect your health. Find time to engage in pleasurable, relaxing activities and get adequate rest. Pay attention to your nutritional and emotional needs. Some people find that setting new goals, recording their feelings in a journal, or participating in a support group helps them adjust to their loss.
In your human energy system, the center for unconditional love, is located in the center of your chest. This is your fourth chakra. It governs the heart and circulatory system, respiratory system, arms, shoulders, hands, diaphragm, ribs/breasts and thymus gland.
Many issues of love, grief, hatred, anger, jealousy, fears of betrayal, of loneliness, as well as the ability to heal ourselves and others are centered in the fourth chakra.
From this position in the middle of the body the fourth chakra is the balance between your body and spirit. This chakra is the place where unconditional love is centered. Unconditional Love is a creative and powerful energy that may guide and help us through the most difficult times. This energy is available in any moment, if we turn our attention to it and use it to free us from our limits and fears.
Ask yourself some of these questions:
What emotional memories do I need to heal?
What relationships current or past require healing?
Are my emotional wounds taking over, causing me to try and control people or situations around me?
Do I allow the wounds of others to control me? How do I let that happen?
What do I need to forgive myself for? Who needs forgiving from me?
To have this fourth chakra energy fully touch our daily life requires intent and practice. This begins within our self, for without the ability to love ourselves, we cannot truly experience love from another or give it truly to another.
In loving ourselves we allow the intent to generate the feeling of unconditional love within us, and then to share this feeling with others. Whatever we send out is returned to us.
Learning and practicing holistic emotional intelligence is a consciously way to maintain our energy and unblock any potential emotional energy blockage.
It's all about energy - DrW