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Grief

The psychological state of expressing emotional anguish is called grief; this deeply felt sorrow is a very healthy way of coming to terms with a terrible loss or tragedy including the unpleasant death of a loved one, or the other vicissitudes of life. The stages of grief start with a period of deeply felt shock and numbness, this stage is followed by disbelief in the disaster and in the end a state of despair sets in on the person experiencing grief. Frustration and confusion, including emotional states of fear or anger are very commonly seen, as the emotional pain in response to someone's death can be totally life shattering and life changing. An inability to feel deeply and an emotional numbness often accompany and colors all the actions of the person experiencing grief especially after the initial reaction of shock. In different types of people, the experience of grief and its display is different, and each individual has his or her own way of showing it. A very common feeling experienced during grief by many people is often a manifestation of a fierce and all consuming anger and an overwhelming feeling of guilt. There is a sudden and unpredictable reaction in many people who experience grief, these very unpredictable emotions during a time of grieving or bereavement, may include sudden and unexplained outbursts of weeping or flashes of anger appearing at the most unlikely times. Some people experience grief over a short period of time and move on with their lives, but because the responses to grief is often highly individualistic in nature, some people may take months or years to come to terms with their loss.

Catharsis of the emotional upheaval that a great loss may bring on into someone's life is almost never complete, because humans have such long memories, but in general the acute phase of deeply felt grief usually takes two to three years to pass in a person. By anticipating and consciously acting on the likely chances of sudden grieving, for example on days like an anniversary, when grieving is very common a long time after the initial pain been erased, one can deal with reminders of a loss actively for example by setting aside day for grieving for a loved one, the pain being real and the circumstances generally extremely unpleasant, some emotional setbacks are inevitable and one should let it all come out gradually, over a period of time.

Grief can bring on some physical manifestation due to its highly keyed and emotional nature, even in previously normal individuals the onset of conditions like insomnia, a lack of interest in food and extremely poor appetite, general nervousness, physical exhaustion and some problems with memory are not rare. As a result of this during the grieving period the onset of illness is very common; it is therefore believed in traditional medical circles like Chinese medicine practitioners, that repressing grief and the sadness a loss causes can often be linked to the appearance of a physical illness in the internal organs like the colon or the lung.

The recognition of the loss is important for the eventual acceptance of the inevitable and unpleasant reality. The buried and repressed emotions during a period of bereavement can in certain cases turn up elsewhere, this can cause many emotional problems and even result in a depression in the affected individual. There is great harm done to full recovery from grief as many people tend be secretive about their emotions and often deal with their grief by themselves, such behavior can greatly hamper the process of grieving and deny the individual any catharsis or emotional cleansing. Once the worst and most unpleasant aspects of the grieving process are done with, by its very nature grief adds greater depth and value to a life lived and takes away a lot of the superficiality inherent in daily life. The help and support of other members of the community is important during the process of grieving, whether this be people from the family, close and bosom friends, an understanding counselor or a member of the clergy or even a religious person. Healing and eventual catharsis through discussion and talking becomes difficult to achieve because the problems of death and dying are seen in Western society as morbid circumstances and talk on the subjects tends to be avoided, however facing the inevitable is a good way to face emotional problems and discussion is one of the best ways out in such circumstances. The realities of urban and modern life have also affected the natural process of passing, as many people tend to die in a hospital, where the deceased may sometime be very impersonally removed before the family can say a proper goodbye. As long as the person who is going to be most affected by a death, the process of dying itself is much better accepted when it is seen and felt face to face. Something that resembles this experiencing of facing death and can help to this end is the memorial and burial services. It is important that the grieving process should include children. A huge emotional burden can be added onto children's shoulders by adults being secretive about a terminal illness or death in the family, as children are a member of the family, they must take part in everything. Very serious complications, usually manifested emotionally can result from the unresolved grief felt by a person. As it is most children are resilient and adjust very well to anything if they are given the opportunity, they must also be allowed to grieve.

Some of the body's innate coping mechanisms can be eliminated by the use of such substances as alcohol and tranquilizers, even though these are excellent short term solutions to the pain of grief. They can greatly hinder the process of grieving and may prolong it, even though their use at such times is widely accepted in our society. Because a person needs all his or her wits as well as energy at this time in order to adjust and cope with the circumstance, an unhealthy choice of foods, a lack of exercise and irregular hours of sleep are all very harmful. To provide an inner stability and an emotional outlet in a time of great stress and for its known emotional and positive effects the act of praying assumes a powerful force and thus prayer is a good tool for overcoming grief. Those people who are willing to support a grieving person emotionally by listening to them are one of the best and most efficient methods of coping with grief.

Supplements and herbs

The aim of all supplements suggested and taken during a period of emotional hardship should be to make ascertain that no deficiencies of minerals or nutrients exist physically in the body that might become a possible factor or reason in hindering or impairing the body's ability to function and cope with the trying circumstances. The poor appetite during the grieving process and the subsequent emotional stress it induces in a person may cause a lot of deficiencies to occur in the person. An extra vitamin B complex and vitamin C tablet, in addition to a multivitamin tablet is a good idea. As during this period of stress and pain, a lot of the reserves of the B vitamins are more likely to be depleted in the body. A reduction in the nervous tension exhibited by the person and an ability to ward off fatigue is induced in the body through the use of supplements. To reduce the detrimental effects of toxins produced in the body, and to help it fight off illness the use of the vitamin C as a supplement is highly recommended during the grieving process. To restore the full capacity of the body and to relieve and soothe some of the symptoms resulting from the emotional strains in the grieving process, herbal remedies may be utilized.

The glandular system that may have gone haywire due to tension can be restored and stimulated by using the juice from leaves of the borage herb and its blossoms helps activate and maintain the glands, aiding in the production of energy and therefore in the capability to overcome sadness and despondency. The symptoms of insomnia and nervous tension can be relieved using the juice from the St. John's wort herb. For three to four weeks during the period of grief, drink a cup of tea made from this herb every morning to lighten the mood. Massages are a great way to ease tension, the addition of about 5 drops of rose oil to any massage oil you use will help greatly.

Aromatherapy

Commonly used essential oils for grief:

Homeopathy

  • Ignatia
    Ignatia is to be used as a homeopathic treatment as the first and foremost option and especially during the initial difficult period of grieving, this is more so if there is hysteria and a lot of emotional tumult, involving a lot of weeping, emotional pain, and if a hypersensitive state is induced in the person, especially a tendency to get hysterical and out of control. If there is a lot of moaning and if there is sighing, this is the first and reliable cure to the necessity of using the Ignatia remedy as sighing is the keynote clue for its use in a person. All kinds of grief induced weariness and emotional states can benefit from the utilization of Ignatia as a treatment option. Including unpleasant and horrible circumstances like the death of a loved one, and the termination of a close and long personal relationship.
  • Nat mur.
    If the highly keyed emotional state is not reduced using the Ignatia remedy or if the remedy does not act or fails to hold sway over the person, Nat mur. can be tried in its stead. It will induce some sense of control and though the person will be tearful and emotional, the grief shown is more reserved and you crying or weeping will be preferred prefer to as an activity to be done alone and in the privacy and comfort of a room. The effect can also be that in some cases the shock and numbness is so severe that the person is unable to cry at all, let alone utter a word. Trying to console the person may worsen things. Where people cannot seem to get over their sense of loss and loneliness and the grieving has set in for the long term, then in all such cases the Nat mur. herb can be used as an herbal remedy to ward off the blues.

Additional things you may do

The restoration of some semblance of normalcy and emotional healing can be aided by the performance of certain activities even though the actual grief over a loss takes time to heal and is hard to get over with. When people feel they have lost all meaning in their lives, the touch or gentle caresses may be one of the best ways to show that you care, even pets can help relieve loneliness in such cases and provide some sense of wholeness. Meeting and embracing old and caring friends can give comfort to the bereaved, while improving the person's outlook on life, especially when they are in such a state of shock and pain that everything might seem impossible and hopeless.

To relieve the stress and to stimulate the production of endorphins, which are the body's natural painkillers and mood elevators, one should join an exercise program, any activity like a long distance walk or some jogging in the morning will increase the speed of recovery and wholeness. Rest is essential and adequate sleep in a proper routine is needed to provide routine and normalcy. Because fatigue and a reduced nervous reaction can create a feeling of sadness and depression, it is important to start enjoying small moments and nature, to lift depression, sit at least two hours daily in the early-morning sun watching nature and the day starting. It is advisable to spend a lot of time outside the house. Doing this simple exercise, it can stimulate the nerves along your spine, this will reduce the tension appreciably: lie down with your back resting on a thin pad of foam. Pull your knees all the way up to your chin, while keeping your feet crossed. Roll along the spine while holding each foot firmly with one hand and rocking back and forth at the same time.

Usual dosage

  • Vitamin C, with bioflavonoids, 1,000 mg-5,000 mg.
  • Vitamin B complex, 100 mg.
  • Multivitamin with minerals, as recommended on the label.

Other beneficial herbs

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