Tag Archives: Addiction

How To Deal With A Cheater?

Do you suspect (or know) that a supposedly monogamous partner has cheated on you? You are not alone. Between a fourth and half of all attached partners will cheat (or have cheated) at one time or another. Knowing others are affected too, however, does not lessen the hurt. Take a look at these steps and use them to help you get through the trauma. This can be an exceptional painful issue and the emotions are very intense so use this as a checklist to help yourself get through the event.

1. First and foremost – take a deep breath and some time. Do not let yourself have a knee-jerk response. Think! This is especially important in long-term relationships. Sudden reactions without thought can lead to consequences you might regret. Give yourself some mental space before you take any action.

2. Talk to someone. You are not alone. Statistics are sketchy and vary widely, but many surveys have been done on cheating and they indicate that between a fourth and half of all married people will or have cheated at one time or another.

3. Do not blame yourself. It’s easy for people to start looking at themselves for reasons why their partner cheated… nothing good will come of that. Issues that lead to cheating sometimes involve both people, but that’s certainly not always the case. However, it would help, at a later date look inwards too to find out why your partner looked elsewhere for comfort. There could be certain gray areas in your behavior which could have led to such actions. You have to remember that most humans like a monogamous lifestyle, as it brings about so much of happiness & security. However, there are a few who would not conform to this.

4. Determine whether you were actually cheated on. Ask yourself these questions: Were you officially boyfriend and girlfriend at the time this “cheating” occurred? Were you officially monogamous? If not, you cannot be sure that your significant other knew what he or she was doing would offend you, in which case you might want to consider less confrontational options.

5. Talk to your partner. Let your concerns and fears be known. It might come out that nothing at all happened, or perhaps something did happen and coercion was involved (workplace sexual harassment, for example, which needs to be discussed openly and immediately to ward off future occurrences). There could be a substance abuse or psychological issue that needs to be addressed (sex addiction is very real). If help is warranted, you might want to support your partner in getting help – that could prove therapeutic for both of you. However, substance abuse is not a valid “excuse” for inappropriate behavior and you absolutely must not permit the “yeah but I was drunk so it doesn’t matter” argument – stand very firm on that.

6. Ask yourself if you will ever be able to look at your partner the same way. Infidelity doesn’t mean much for some, and some people have more than one physical relationship and it doesn’t suggest a shortcoming in their relationship with their steady partner, but this is rare. Infidelity often indicates boredom and dissatisfaction with the present relationships. Dealing with a partner who doesn’t want you in the first place, or one who doesn’t mind hurting you, is ridiculous. Dump him/her if this is the case.

7. If you decide this is irreconcilable, don’t break up with your partner and later take him/her back. This will only give you more emotional stress. If you break up, make it a clean break. However, a trial separation is a valid option. If you do make a break of any kind (permanent or trial) don’t talk to your ex after breaking up with him/her immediately. Give yourself some cooling off time first. If there are children or critical financial issues this might not be possible. In that case, set specific ground rules (time frames, meeting places, etc). This can be difficult, but it’s important.

8. If you are married and pretty sure a more-than-casual relationship is happening, you might need to consider an attorney or a reputable detective in the area that specializes in domestic cases.

9. If you do use an investigator, do not confront or accuse your partner. Let the investigator do his/her job first (if you confront them they may continue in an even more cautious way, which will make the investigation more expensive).

10. Get tested for STD’s as soon as possible. Not knowing will cause you extreme stress. Early treatment is critical.

11. If you can, collect evidence (receipts, emails, photographs, etc.) of the paramour. Keep this information at a friend or family member’s house. This will be less work the investigator will need to do later on your dollar.

12. Don’t start rumors. Share your suspicions with more than one close friend is likely to create gossip that can have very negative results in many areas. If there is an investigation underway, that kind of talk can hamper the case.

13. Look at your own personal actions, too. If you are also cheating, then it might be time to have an open discussion with your partner and clear the air. Perhaps couples counseling is in order. If divorce is the chosen option, remember it can get very ugly, very quickly, and your indiscretions will be brought into the limelight as well.

14. Turnabout is not fair play. Don’t start a relationship just because your spouse has done so. This is pure revenge and nothing good will come of it.

Tips :

• Get out if the incident has hurt you too much.

• Being honest with yourself is important. If you don’t end the relationship, can you live with the thought that it might happen again?

• Get counseling! It’s not a particularly bad idea to do this even if there’s nothing wrong in your life, but when you are hurt it can definitely help to talk to someone professional.

• It always helps to forgive and put it behind you and not dwell on the past if you want to move forward.

• Do you want to invest the energy to “monitor” the relationship?

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Improved Mental Health Tied to Quitting Smoking

In a new study from Washington University, researchers find that quitting smoking does more than improve physical health as stopping the habit also improves mental health.

Typically, health professionals who treat people with psychiatric problems often overlook their patients’ smoking habits, assuming it’s best to tackle depression, anxiety, or substance abuse problems first.

However, the new study shows that people who struggle with mood problems, or addiction can safely quit smoking and that kicking the habit is associated with improved mental health.

The study is published online in the journal Psychological Medicine.

“Clinicians tend to treat the depression, alcohol dependence or drug problem first and allow patients to ‘self-medicate’ with cigarettes if necessary,” said lead investigator Patricia A. Cavazos-Rehg, Ph.D.

“The assumption is that psychiatric problems are more challenging to treat and that quitting smoking may interfere with treatment.”

In the study, Cavazos-Rehg discovered that quitting, or significantly cutting back on cigarette smoking was linked to improved mental health outcomes.

Specifically, quitting altogether or reducing by half the number of cigarettes smoked daily was associated with lower risk for mood disorders like depression, as well as a lower likelihood of alcohol and drug problems.

“We don’t know if their mental health improves first and then they are more motivated to quit smoking or if quitting smoking leads to an improvement in mental health,” Cavazos-Rehg said.

“But either way, our findings show a strong link between quitting and a better psychiatric outlook.”

Naturally, the serious health risks associated with smoking make it important for doctors to work with their patients to quit, regardless of other psychiatric problems.

“About half of all smokers die from emphysema, cancer, or other problems related to smoking, so we need to remember that as complicated as it can be to treat mental health issues, smoking cigarettes also causes very serious illnesses that can lead to death,” she said.

Researchers analyzed questionnaires gathered as part of the National Epidemiologic Study on Alcohol and Related Conditions.

This survey was administered in the early 2000’s and just under 35,000 people were surveyed. As part of the study, participants answered questions about drinking, smoking, and mental health in two interviews conducted three years apart.

The researchers focused on data from 4,800 daily smokers. Those who had an addiction or other psychiatric problems at the time of the first survey were less likely to have those same problems three years later if they had quit smoking.

And those who hadn’t had psychiatric problems at the initial survey were less likely to develop those problems later if they already had quit.

At the time of the first interview, about 40 percent of daily smokers suffered mood or anxiety disorders or had a history of these problems. In addition, about 50 percent of daily smokers had alcohol problems, and some 24 percent had drug problems.

Forty-two percent of those who had continued smoking during the years between the two surveys suffered mood disorders, compared with 29 percent of those who quit smoking.

Alcohol problems affected 18 percent of those who had quit smoking versus 28 percent who had continued smoking.

And drug abuse problems affected only 5 percent of those who had quit smoking compared with 16 percent of those who had continued smoking.

“We really need to spread the word and encourage doctors and patients to tackle these problems,” Cavazos-Rehg said.

“When a patient is ready to focus on other mental health issues, it may be an ideal time to address smoking cessation, too.”

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10 Practical Ways To Handle Stress

Stress is inevitable. It walks in and out of our lives on a regular basis. And it can easily walk all over us unless we take action. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to minimize and cope with stress. Here are 10 ideas for handling stress without causing more strain and hassle.

1. Figure out where the stress is coming from.

Oftentimes, when we’re stressed, it seems like a big mess with stressors appearing from every angle. We start to feel like we’re playing a game of dodgeball, ducking and darting so we don’t get smacked by a barrage of balls. We take a defensive position, and not a good one at that.

Instead of feeling like you’re flailing day to day, identify what you’re actually stressed about. Is it a specific project at work, an upcoming exam, a dispute with your boss, a heap of laundry, a fight with your family?

By getting specific and pinpointing the stressors in your life, you’re one step closer to getting organized and taking action.

2. Consider what you can control—and work on that.

While you can’t control what your boss does, what your in-laws say or the sour state of the economy, you can control how you react, how you accomplish work, how you spend your time and what you spend your money on.

The worst thing for stress is trying to take control over uncontrollable things. Because when you inevitably fail — since it’s beyond your control — you only get more stressed out and feel helpless. So after you’ve thought through what’s stressing you out, identify the stressors that you can control, and determine the best ways to take action.

Take the example of a work project. If the scope is stressing you out, talk it over with your supervisor or break the project down into step-wise tasks and deadlines.

Stress can be paralyzing. Doing what’s within your power moves you forward and is empowering and invigorating.

3. Do what you love.

It’s so much easier to manage pockets of stress when the rest of your life is filled with activities you love. Even if your job is stress central, you can find one hobby or two that enrich your world. What are you passionate about? If you’re not sure, experiment with a variety of activities to find something that’s especially meaningful and fulfilling.

4. Manage your time well.

One of the biggest stressors for many people is the lack of time. Their to-do list expands while time flies. How often have you wished for more hours in the day or heard others lament their lack of time? But you’ve got more time than you think, as Laura Vanderkam writes in her aptly titled book, 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think.

We all have the same 168 hours, and yet there are plenty of people who are dedicated parents and full-time employees and who get at least seven hours of sleep a night and lead fulfilling lives.

5. Create a toolbox of techniques.

One stress-shrinking strategy won’t work for all your problems. For instance, while deep breathing is helpful when you’re stuck in traffic or hanging at home, it might not rescue you during a business meeting.

Because stress is complex, “What we need is a toolbox that’s full of techniques that we can fit and choose for the stressor in the present moment,” said Richard Blonna, Ed.D, a nationally certified coach and counselor and author of Stress Less, Live More: How Acceptance & Commitment Therapy Can Help You Live a Busy Yet Balanced Life.

6. Pick off the negotiable tasks from your plate.

Review your daily and weekly activities to see what you can pick off your plate. As Vanderkam asks in her book: “Do your kids really love their extracurricular activities or are they doing them to please you? Are you volunteering for too many causes and so stealing time from the ones where you could make the most impact? Does your whole department really need to meet once per week or have that daily conference call?”

Blonna suggested asking these questions: “Do [my activities] mesh with my goals and values? Am I doing things that give my life meaning? Am I doing the right amount of things?”

Reducing your stack of negotiable tasks can greatly reduce your stress.

7. Are you leaving yourself extra vulnerable to stress?

Whether you perceive something as a stressor depends in part on your current state of mind and body. That is, as Blonna said, “Each transaction we’re involved in takes place in a very specific context that’s affected by our health, sleep, psychoactive substances, whether we’ve had breakfast [that day] and [whether we’re] physically fit.”

So if you’re not getting sufficient sleep or physical activity during the week, you may be leaving yourself extra susceptible to stress. When you’re sleep-deprived, sedentary and filled to the brim with coffee, even the smallest stressors can have a huge impact.

8. Preserve good boundaries.

If you’re a people-pleaser, saying no feels like you’re abandoning someone, have become a terrible person or are throwing all civility out the window. But of course, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Plus, those few seconds of discomfort are well worth avoiding the stress of taking on an extra activity or doing something that doesn’t contribute value to your life.

One thing I’ve noticed about productive, happy people is that they’re very protective of their time and having their boundaries crossed. But not to worry: Building boundaries is a skill you can learn.

9. Realize there’s a difference between worrying and caring.

Sometimes, our mindset can boost stress, so a small issue mushroom into a pile of problems. We continue worrying, somehow thinking that this is a productive — or at least inevitable — response to stress. But we mistake worry for action.

Clinical psychologist Chad LeJeune, Ph.D., talks about the idea of worrying versus caring in his book, The Worry Trap: How to Free Yourself from Worry & Anxiety Using Acceptance & Commitment Therapy. Worrying is an attempt to exert control over the future by thinking about it, whereas caring is taking action. When we are caring for someone or something, we do the things that support or advance the best interests of the person or thing that we care about.

LeJeune uses the simple example of houseplants. He writes: “If you are away from home for a week, you can worry about your houseplants every single day and still return home to find them brown and wilted. Worrying is not watering.”

Similarly, fretting about your finances does nothing but get you worked up (and likely prevent you from taking action). Caring about your finances, however, means creating a budget, paying bills on time, using coupons and reducing how often you dine out.

Just this small shift in mindset from worrying to caring can help you adjust your reaction to stress. To see this distinction between worrying and caring, try this activity where you can list responses for each one. For example:

Worrying about your health involves…

Caring about your health involves…

Worrying about your career involves…

Caring about your career involves…

10. Embrace mistakes—or at least don’t drown in perfectionism.

Another mindset that can exacerbate stress is perfectionism. Trying to be mistake-free and essentially spending your days walking on eggshells is exhausting and anxiety-provoking. Talk about putting pressure on yourself! And as we all know but tend to forget: Perfectionism is impossible and not human, anyway.

As the researcher, Brene Brown writes in her book The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, “Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth and it’s not self-improvement.”

Nothing good can come from perfectionism. Brown writes: “Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction and life-paralysis [‘all the opportunities we miss because we’re too afraid to put anything out in the world that could be imperfect’].”

Plus, mistake-mistaking can lead to growth. To overcome perfectionism, Brown suggests becoming more compassionate toward yourself. I couldn’t agree more.

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21 Tips To Stop Being A People – Pleaser.

People-pleasers want everyone around them to be happy and they will do whatever is asked of them to keep it that way. They put everyone else before themselves. For some, saying “yes” is a habit; for others, it’s almost an addiction that makes them feel like they need to be needed. This makes them feel important and like they’re contributing to someone else’s life. People-pleasers yearn for outside validation. Their personal feeling of security and self-confidence is based on getting the approval of others. Thus, at the core, people-pleasers lack confidence.

They worry how others will view them when they say no. People don’t want to be seen as lazy, uncaring, selfish or totally egocentric. They fear “they’ll be disliked and cut from the group,” whether it’s friends, family or co-workers.

What many people-pleasers don’t realize is that people-pleasing can have serious risks. Not only does it put a lot of pressure and stress on you, but essentially you can make yourself sick from doing too much. If you’re over-committed, you probably get less sleep and get more anxious and upset. You’re also depleting your energy resources. In the worst case scenario, you’ll wake up and find yourself depressed, because you’re on such overload because you possibly can’t do it all.

Here’s a slew of strategies to help you stop being a people-pleaser and finally say no.

1. Realize you have a choice.

People-pleasers often feel like they have to say yes when someone asks for their help. Remember that you always have a choice to say no.

2. Set your priorities.

Knowing your priorities and values helps you put the brakes on people-pleasing. You know when you feel comfortable saying no or saying yes.

3. Stall.

Whenever someone asks you for a favor, it’s perfectly OK to say that you’ll need to think about it. This gives you the opportunity to consider if you can commit to helping them. If the person needs an answer right away, your automatic answer can be no.

4. Set a time limit.

If you do agree to help out, limit your time frame.

5. Consider if you’re being manipulated.

Sometimes, people are clearly taking advantage of you, so it’s important to watch out for manipulators and flatterers.

6. Use an empathetic assertion.

Using an empathetic assertion means that you put yourself in the other person’s shoes as you assert yourself. So you let the person know that you understand where they’re coming from, but unfortunately, you can’t help. People need to feel heard and understood and this is a respectful way of asserting yourself and saying no.

7. Don’t give a litany of excuses.

It’s tempting to want to defend your decision to say no to someone so they understand your reasoning. But this actually backfires.

8. Don’t apologize — if it’s not your fault.

People-pleasers tend to be serial apologists. Pay attention to when you’re apologizing and consider if you’re really at fault. Ask yourself if you’re responsible for the situation. Usually, the answer is no.

9. Set clear boundaries — and follow through.

Ask yourself what you’re willing to do, and don’t go beyond these limits. Also, be clear in communicating your boundaries. Say what you’re thinking and what you want. Letting someone step over your boundaries without voicing your frustrations can lead you to bottle up this negative feeling about a person to the point when you have a blowup and really hurt someone’s feelings or end the relationship.

10. Don’t be scared of the fallout.

The fallout is never as bad as we think it is. In fact, it’s usually very insignificant.

11. Self-soothe.

Using positive self-talk is “like being a good mother to yourself”. You can use this to remind yourself of your priorities and boundaries.

12. Realize that you can’t be everything to everyone.

Again, people-pleasers want to make everyone happy. While you might make someone happy temporarily, it doesn’t work long term. And you can get hurt in the process. People who preserve their time and energy and don’t say yes to everyone also realize that they can’t make other people happy. People-pleasers must realize that the only thoughts and feelings they can change are their own.

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ANXIOUS ADDICTS: The Relationship Between Anxiety and Addiction.

Almost everyone at some point in their lives struggles with a form of anxiety. Feelings produced from anxiety can be misleading and are perpetuated by reinforcing thoughts. Most people do not recognize that they are anxious until they feel the physical symptoms of anxiety. Substance abuse is a quick remedy for uncomfortable feelings produced by anxiety. An addict who suffers from anxiety will often be reluctant to enter substance abuse treatment, fearful that his or her anxiety issue will not be addressed.

Anxiety Characteristics, Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviors:

Anxiety consists of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Thoughts will perpetuate feelings which create a behavioral response in an individual. Anxiety is rooted in fear and not wanting to feel fearful creates an intense distressed behavioral response. An addict who suffers from anxiety will use substances to escape from feeling anxious. Addicts who also struggle with anxiety will appear irritable, pre-occupied and apprehensive. Four common characteristics of anxiety found in an individual are:

1. The excessive need for control.
2. Ignoring psychological and physical signs of stress.
3. The excessive need for approval.
4. Perfectionism.

These characteristics are an individual’s belief system which perpetuates anxiety. Thoughts that are identified as should, would or could statements reinforce the belief system of the addict. These statements reflect thinking in the past and desire to change the chain of events. Example statements are:

  • I could have set an alarm last night, before I started drinking, to wake me up for school. I’m so stupid.
  • It would have been better if I didn’t spend the holidays with my parents. They drive me to use drugs.

Other anxiety related thoughts are based on future events and create frequent worrying or obsessing. For example “If I get this job then I will stop using drugs.” Focusing on events that we cannot change (past) or that are not in our control (future) increases anxiety symptoms. This disturbance of mood contributes to the addict’s desire to escape through substance abuse.

Anxiety Symptoms and Addiction:

Anxiety produces strong intense reactions within the body and mind. Anxiety responses are not always recognizable and may go untreated. Anxiety will manifest in two ways, physical and psychological. 

The physical and psychological symptoms of anxiety are similar to withdrawal symptoms from drugs and alcohol. An addict will automatically look for substances to calm an anxious state. The avoidance of uncomfortable physical agitation and painful emotions are some of the components that maintain addiction and anxiety. Both anxiety and addiction will become stronger the more the addict continues using drugs and/or alcohol. Addiction enables the addict to avoid confronting and challenging anxious thoughts and feelings.

Exercises for Decreasing Anxiety:
Self-help techniques for mild anxiety management are:

  • Stay in the present. Don’t get stuck thinking about the past or future.
  • Recognize what you can control verses what you cannot.
  • Learn to be aware of your stress and incorporate relaxation exercises.
  • Don’t be so critical of yourself. Mistakes are not failures and nobody is perfect.
  • While these exercises are helpful, anxiety is made worse with drug and alcohol abuse. An addict that suffers from addiction and anxiety may not be able to resolve anxiety issues alone.

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How To Deal With People Who Take Advantage Of You?

I’m a big fan of giving. It’s one of the greatest joys in life.

But there comes a time when you give to the point where certain people begin to see that (or see from the get go) and take advantage of your generosity accordingly.

I think there’s one person like that in every social group. Common adjectives to describe this person range from moocher to leecher to stingy.

This is the person who always asks you to pick up the tab, who conveniently “forgets” their wallet, who gives you a sob story to further guilt you into giving them more as well.

By far the most powerful weapon in this person’s arsenal is guilt as its use is one of the easiest ways to manipulate somebody.

Before I go any further, let me just say I have no problem with helping a friend in need. If they’re having tough times, take them out. Buy them dinner.

Here’s where it starts to get bad.
When it becomes HABIT.

And you find it takes some time before you become fully consciously aware of it.

Once you let it get to habit, you’re in a catch 22.

You want to confront the person, but can’t seem to muster up the courage out of fear of losing the friendship. If you do, the person who takes advantage of your generosity has a slew of counter arguments ranging from guilt tripping to shaming in terms of accusing you of not sharing your good fortune, of questioning whether or not you truly are a friend to them. They’ll make you feel guilty for all the rewards you received for your hard work and will feel entitled to it. They’ll flip the tables and accuse YOU of all people, of being stingy.

So what do you do now?

First thing is to look back at the beginning.

If the person was manipulative from the get go but you didn’t realize it until now looking back, and somehow he/she became your “friend”, cut it off. You’re better off without them as they will only hold you back in life.

BUT, if that person wasn’t like that before, and just came into hard times, there’s still hope.

The thing is – this habit of you giving to them continuously has become habit – FOR THEM.

They EXPECT you to give to them.

They’ve become CONDITIONED to receiving from you because you do it all the time.

They’ve developed an unhealthy addiction of always receiving, but never giving.

Here’s what you have to realize.

By constantly giving to them, you’ve enabled their habit of dependency on others.

You need to explain to them that it’s not good for them, that every time you give and fulfill their requests, it reinforces the fact that they can’t do anything themselves.

This is a version of the old adage of how it’s better to teach a man to fish instead of giving him a fish everyday.

Instead of giving your friend “fish”, give him help on how he can “fish” for himself.

But if he refuses to take any action to “fish” for himself and seems content to always take advantage of others to meet his needs and wants, you shouldn’t feel the slightest bit guilty for not caving into his requests.

You have NO OBLIGATION to give to those who refuse to sow themselves.

They need to learn to sow themselves.

Tell them this and you’ll see they have nothing in their arsenal to rebut with because they know it’s true.

Knowing that, they will become desperate and throw a last hail mary pass.

They’ll tell you to give you them one last fish and that’s it. No more. They won’t ask you for anything else.

But that’s not how life works.

You don’t ask for one last cigarette to smoke if you want to quit.

You start quitting right then and there.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with giving but we live in a world where there are those who will take advantage of our good will, to the point where it becomes very harmful not only to you but to them as well.

Give because you want to.

Give to help people help themselves.

And you will be giving them one of the greatest gifts of all, even if they don’t realize it at first.

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How to Cope with Loss and Pain?

When you lose someone, a pet or a dream that has been very precious to you, the grief is intense. Pain, memories, and questions can easily haunt you. You may feel that you’ll never be the same again; never really laugh, never recover, never be whole again. You may feel that life will never be the same because this gaping big hole where that person or being once was will swallow you up and never let you see the happier side of life again.

Have faith in the promise that you will see the sun shine on your life again. It is possible to heal emotionally and to grow stronger mentally, physically and in spirit. You will become a compassionate, feeling, laughing and hopeful human being once again in time. Allowing the pain to flow through and onward is key to your recovery and while it may feel both hard and even disloyal to the memory of that which is now lost, the ultimate loyalty and honoring of what is lost is in remembering well and forging ahead by taking with you the best of your memories to inspire your way forward. Remember well to live well and you honor both yourself and those now passed.

1. Face the loss. 
It can be easy to sedate yourself with distractions such as drugs, alcohol, oversleeping, internet overuse, promiscuity or any other habit that threatens your well being and leaves you vulnerable to addictions and confusion. And while other people around you may help you temporarily to forget your pain, you’ll never truly heal until you confront the loss and what it means to you personally. Ignoring the pain caused by the loss, sedating your feelings so that they cannot be worked through will bring more serious repercussions later, including depression, trauma and addictions. Allow yourself some time to hurt deeply but don’t allow yourself to get stuck there; even as you’re hurting, you also need to start working out how to cope and find resilient pathways through your pain and loss.

2. Share your feelings with others. 
You’re suffering, and it’s okay and it’s healthy to seek out people who will take care of you. If you can’t find a friend, lean on a compassionate stranger. Keeping your feelings bottled up inside carries enormous risk because there will come a point where you can’t even articulate the real feelings to yourself, let alone to anyone else. Even if you feel as if you’re rambling, confused and uncertain, talking to someone you trust is one form of allowing yourself the space to think out loud and to start dumping out some of the pain you’re experiencing. See talk as a sorting action, in that it doesn’t need to be coherent or reasoned, it just needs to be expressive of whatever needs to come up and out of you.

* If you’re worried others listening to you might be confused or upset by what you’re saying, a simple warning up front can alleviate this concern. Just let them know you’re feeling sad/bad/upset/confused, etc., and that some of the words you say aren’t always going to make a lot of sense but that you appreciate having someone listen. A good listener and caring friend or supporter will not mind in the least.

3. Ignore people who say unhelpful things such as “get over it”, “stop being so sensitive”, “I got over it quickly when it happened to me”, etc. 
They are expressing their inability to cope, their frustration or guilt and it has nothing to do with you. They’re not inside your head, so don’t give their throwaway lines any credence. If it becomes evident to you that they just want you to take your pain somewhere else, let them go. You can reconnect with such people when you’re feeling stronger; until then, you don’t need their impatience knocking against you.

4. Let your pain come out. 
Let the tears flow. It is okay to cry even if you’re not the kind of person who shows your feelings. Moreover, realize that there is no right or wrong way to feel pain, to release pain and to keep trying to work through it. What is important is recognizing the pain and trying to work through it; how you do so is entirely up to you and the feelings inside of you. Crying, pummeling the pillow, going for a long run, sitting somewhere special with a view and just contemplating, throwing things out, going for a long drive, screaming at the top of your lungs in a forest or other solitary place, painting or drawing memories, writing poetry, getting angry with your workout equipment, going dancing, and so forth are just some of the ways people find outlets for their pain and they’re all equally valid methods for releasing what is building up inside. Find your best ways to release the pain by listening to your gut feelings and following them.

* Avoid doing anything that might result in harm to yourself or to others. Loss isn’t about inflicting harm or making things worse. Loss is a time for learning how to draw on your inner reserves and learning how to cope better with pain.

5. Shift the focus as often as you can from the sadness, disappointment, anger and broken heart and try instead to remember the good times and the best things.
Focusing on negative aspects to try and increase the intensity and duration of the pain from your loss won’t change what has happened but will make you feel a great deal worse. Ultimately, you need to question to what avail, as making yourself unhappier is a recipe for longer term health problems and risks debilitating you. And be assured that no person or being who has brought you happiness would have ever wanted you to collapse in a heap. Every single time you feel tempted to become even more sad, angry, down or self-pitiful, grab a diary and write down the good things you can remember about the person, pet or dream that has been lost to you. If you’ve lost someone, remember such things as what a person said or did, the small quirky mannerisms to the large generosities, the times that you spent laughing together and the things this person has taught you about life and yourself. If it’s a lost pet, remember the beautiful times you spent together, the happy life you enabled for your pet and the special traits your pet had. And if it’s a lost dream or object of desire, remember the good that came of pursuing or having these things, and be thinking about what you learned that can be applied to better experiences in the future.

6. Distract yourself. 
Too many thoughts going around your head in circles can lead to second guessing, wishing you’d being more this, that or the other or to other unhelpful thought processes. By getting busy and occupying yourself in tasks that require a different focus, you give yourself a break from constantly ruminating over the loss. This also gives you the space to realize that there are good things about your world still and that life does go on, as cliched as that sounds. And while work or studies can provide some relief from the constant thoughts about loss, don’t simply rely on your routine to distract yourself or you risk feeling that there is only work and sorrow and nothing in between. Help reacquaint yourself with happier pursuits by doing something that gives you peace. There are all sorts of possibilities, such as gardening, cooking, fishing, listening to your favorite music, walking, drawing, painting, writing, etc. Choose whatever calms you and gives you a sense of joyful achievement (not something work or studies can always promise).

* There is a lot of therapeutic good to be found in pursuits such as art, cooking and gardening and many people even use these as therapy, such as in the case of art therapy. Anything in which you use both mind and body coordination and in which you’re being both creative and engaged is an important way to help yourself gradually unfurl from the pain inside.
* Perhaps involve yourself with social work. When you involve yourself with other people’s lives, you gain many insights on how to cope better. Consider volunteering as one possibility. If you like children, helping with young children who display lots of spontaneity and laughter may serve to soothe you.

7. Treasure your feelings! Treasure your feelings!
Save things that remind you of your loved one or your lost dream. Just because a person or a pet is gone doesn’t mean you shouldn’t always remember them. It may be comforting to know that even if the person or pet is no longer here, the friendship, love and family/personal ties you have with them still exist. No one will ever be able to take that away from you, and the relationship you have with them will always be a part of you. And if you’ve lost a dream, that doesn’t mean that you have to discard all memories of the journey taken toward it. Some mementos will always be worth keeping to remind you of your own courage, tenacity and ability to envision a better future, and the memories of what you have striven for will continue to exist for you to draw on with new dreams.

8. Find delight in beautiful days. 
When you’ve been experiencing the blues for a time and you’ve been keeping indoors or walking with your head down and not noticing the world around you, embrace the sunnier or fairer days when they happen. Use these days to get outside and spend some time walking, contemplating and simply noticing the life and beautiful things around you. Do this regularly to get back into the swing of the world. Don’t try too hard – just let the warmth of the sun wash over you, the sounds of the world flow through you and the beauty of the trees, architecture, artwork, routines and busy activities remind you that the world is ever present and that there is beauty in it. Listen for bird song and the sounds of people going about their everyday business. Yes, life does go on and you deserve to be a part of it and to eventually rejoin the daily routine.

9. Believe in Future.
Allow time to heal. Time will heal through allowing you to remember the good things and to start honoring the lost through a renewed determination to enjoy your life more fully. You won’t ever forget those you’ve loved. Nor will you misplace the inner strength that drove you to seek lost goals or achievements. What may change is how you approach your life from this point – there may be a sharpened focus, a new sense of value or a totally changed perspective about certain aspects of your life. All of that is good because it’s part of your growth and part of you learning how loss can be turned into a way of redirecting your life’s path, reminding you that life is precious and that you’re responsible for making the most of your time here.

* Sometimes you can get stuck in a bind of wanting to ensure that you’re grieving properly, and as such you might find yourself extending grieving past when you’re ready to move on. There is no right or wrong time length for grieving; for every person it is very different and healing has its own personal pace, including ups and downs during the grieving time. Expect to be gentle on yourself at any time but don’t draw deadlines on grieving or postpone your happiness either; listen to your feelings and do what feels right inside.

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