You Can Become an Emotional First Aid Skilled Helper!

It is a simple belief, but one that will change lives across America! As a non-mental health professional, you can be trained to provide emotional first-aid to those in your church, neighborhood, on the job, and in your friendships. Start your training today! Watch this short video invitation to become an Skilled Emotional and Mental Health Helper!

 

11 Ways to Help Yourself Heal When you Lose a Spouse (Part 1)

Not many incidents in life are as excruciating as the loss of your husband or wife. You may be unsure you will make it through this devastating loss. Sometimes, you may doubt you even possess the strength or passion to make an effort to heal.

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You are starting an adventure that is commonly terrifying, too much to handle and often lonely. This post offers useful recommendations to assist you in moving forward towards healing in your individual grief ordeal.

1. Permit Yourself to Grieve

If you currently are not confident of who you are, and you seem confused, that is appropriate since you have lost a piece of yourself. Whenever you encounter the loss of someone you love, live with, and rely on, feeling disoriented is normal.

You are now confronted with the complex but necessary need to grieve. Grieving is the clear expression of your thoughts and emotions concerning the loss of your husband or wife. It is a fundamental component of getting better.

5 Unusual Facts about the Death of Your Spouse

Suffering the loss of a spouse is one of the worse experiences that we must all face. 40 percent of women and 13 percent of men who are 65 and older are widowed, according to the latest polls. Until recently, hardly any solid research existed with regards to how our society survived after a spouse passed away. Yet in the past many years, social scientists along with extraordinary accessibility to large numbers of widowers, have actually uncovered 5 unusual facts pertaining to losing a significant other.

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1. We Oscillate. For years, it has been said that sorrow can be found in five phases: denial, anger, acceptance, bargaining and depression. If we were actually to diagram those stages, the emotional feelings would seem something like a capital W, with two major low points implying anger or depression, and the two upward parts of the W implying acceptance. But when psychologists asked recent widows to fill in regular questionnaires for 3 months, extensive fluctuations happened from day to day. A widow might just experience distress and depression one day, moving to feeling lighthearted and cheerful the following. Put simply, we don’t grieve in stages, our grief changes dramatically from day to day; we oscillate. With time, those swings lessen in both regularity and intensity until we reach a degree of emotional change.

Complicated Grief-The Death of a Spouse

There is little we dread more than losing a spouse to death. Romantic partners are often our most important source of comfort and support. They are people who share our achievements and our happiness. They soothe us and help us problem-solve when things are hard. We do the same for them, and this is gratifying.

death of a spouse

Loss of such a person can trigger intense feelings of grief. Death is inevitable, and bereavement is all too common. In fact, some consider bereavement to be a natural phase of a romantic relationship. About a million people lose a spouse or partner each year in the United States, and there are currently about 11 million widowed older adults in the country. Despite this large number, widowhood is often a lonely and very painful experience.

4 Practical Tips for Helping Someone who has Lost a Loved One

As we continue to sharpen our Helping Skills as an Emotional Skilled Helper, I want to share with you 4 Practical Tips for walking with someone who has lost a loved one to death. These 4 tips will equip you with practical ideas to things that you already have a sense to do for those suffering with grief.

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Helping a grieving person tip 1: Listen with compassion

Almost everyone worries about what to say to a grieving person. Knowing how to listen is much more important. Oftentimes, well-meaning people avoid talking about the death or mentioning the deceased person, but the bereaved need to feel that his or her loss is acknowledged, it’s not too terrible to talk about, and his or her loved one won’t be forgotten.

Talk candidly about the person who died and don’t steer away from the subject if the deceased’s name comes up. When it seems appropriate, ask sensitive questions– without being nosy– that invite the grieving person to openly express his or her feelings.

Lifepreserver version 3 (non-editable web-ready file)Helping a grieving person tip 2: Offer practical assistance.

It is difficult for many grieving people to ask for help. They might feel guilty about receiving so much attention, fear being a burden, or be too depressed to reach out. You can make it easier for them by making specific suggestions– such as, “I’m going to the market this afternoon.

This helps the grieving person look forward to your attentiveness without having to make the additional effort of asking again and again. You can also convey an open invitation by saying, “Let me know what I can do,” which may make a grieving person feel more comfortable about asking for help.

Be the one who takes the initiative.

There are many practical ways you can help a grieving person. You can offer to:

  •  Shop for groceries or run errands.
  • Drop off a casserole or other type of food.
  • Help with funeral arrangements.
  • Stay in his or her home to take phone calls and receive guests.
  • Help with insurance forms or bills.
  • Take care of housework, such as cleaning or laundry.
  • Watch his or her children or pick them up from school.
  • Drive him or her wherever he or she needs to go.
  • Look after his or her pets.
  • Go with them to a support group meeting.
  • Accompany them on a walk.
  • Take them to lunch or a movie.
  • Share an enjoyable activity (game, puzzle, art project).

 Helping a grieving person tip 3: Provide ongoing support.

The length of the grieving process varies from person to person. Your bereaved friend or family member may need your support for months or even years.graveside funeral service

Continue your support over the long haul. Stay in touch with the grieving person, periodically checking in, dropping by, or sending cards or letters. Your support is more valuable than ever once the funeral is over, the other mourners are gone, and the initial shock of the loss has worn off.

The bereaved person may look fine on the outside, while inside he or she is suffering. This puts pressure on the person to keep up appearances and to hide his or her true feelings.

The bereaved person may learn to accept the loss. The pain may lessen in intensity over time, but the sadness may never completely go away.

Certain times and days of the year will be particularly hard for your grieving friend or family member. Let the bereaved person know that you’re there for whatever he or she needs.

 Helping a grieving person tip 4: Watch for warning signs.

It’s common for a grieving person to feel depressed, confused, disconnected from others, or like he or she is going crazy. If the bereaved person’s symptoms don’t gradually start to fade– or they get worse with time– this may be a sign that normal grief has evolved into a more serious problem, such as clinical depression.

Encourage the grieving person to seek professional help if you observe any of the following warning signs after the initial grieving period– especially if it’s been over two months since the death.

  • Difficulty functioning in daily life.
  • Extreme focus on the death.
  • Excessive bitterness, anger, or guilt.
  • Neglecting personal hygiene.
  • Alcohol or drug abuse.
  • Inability to enjoy life.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Withdrawing from others.
  • Constant feelings of hopelessness.
  • Talking about dying or suicide.

color living TEAN DEATHIt can be tricky to bring up your concerns to the bereaved person as you don’t want to perceived as invasive. Instead of telling the person what to do, try stating your own feelings:” I am troubled by the fact that you aren’t sleeping– perhaps you should look into getting help.

Almost everyone worries about what to say to a grieving person. When it seems appropriate, ask sensitive questions– without being nosy– that invite the grieving person to openly express his or her feelings. You can also convey an open invitation by saying, “Let me know what I can do,” which may make a grieving person feel more comfortable about asking for help. The length of the grieving process varies from person to person. Stay in touch with the grieving person, periodically checking in, dropping by, or sending cards or letters.

I hope this helps you to sharpen your Helping Skills to come along side with confidence and competence to minister to those who have lost a loved one. I truly believe that you have some instincts already inside you to be a Skilled Helper. Let these tools and ideas confirm what you already know, and potentially provide you some ideas and guidance for helping someone suffering with grief.

Until Next Time,

Dr. Mike

Understanding Grief

The better your understanding of grief and how it is healed, the better equipped you’ll be to help a bereaved friend or family member. This short list is a great one for developing your Helping Skills.

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1. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Grief does not always unfold in orderly, predictable stages. It can be an emotional roller coaster, with unpredictable highs, lows, and setbacks. Everyone grieves differently, so avoid telling the bereaved what he or she “should” be feeling or doing.
2.Grief may involve extreme emotions and behaviors. Feelings of guilt, despair, fear, and anger are common. A grieving person may yell to the heavens, obsess about the death, lash out at loved ones, or cry for hours on end. The bereaved need reassurance that what he or she feels is normal. Don’t judge them or take his or her grief reactions personally.
3. There is no set timetable for grieving. For many people, recovery after bereavement takes 18 to 24 months, but for others, the grieving process may be longer or shorter. Don’t pressure the bereaved to move on or make them feel like they’ve been grieving too long.

These are some simple things to keep in mind when walking with someone through the grieving process. You will be a better friend and family member if you will keep these things in mind. You will be a great Skilled Helper understanding grief.

Until Next Time,

Dr. Mike