Our Weekly Tip: Navigate Grief with this Simple List-Making Exercise

Find your own path through grief with a list of lessons from your loved one
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Our Tip of the Week: Grief is a multi-faceted experience that is as complex and unique as each relationship. Thanks to the groundbreaking work of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and many others, we know that the grief journey includes a wide array of psycho-emotional experiences. To gain clarity for yourself during this time, it is sometimes useful to think about the enduring lessons you learned from your loved one — the elements of your relationship that you will carry with you for the rest of your life and pass on to others.

How-to Suggestion: Make a list of the life lessons you gained from your relationship with your loved one. This free-form brainstorming activity will likely be a very emotional process, so stay focused on the task while noting the emotion that arises with each lesson you recall. Note that emotion on your list beside the lesson for future reflection.

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Do not skip the uncomfortable, confusing or incomplete lessons and feelings that come up for you as you make your list. These difficult thoughts and feelings are the core of this process, and neglecting them would be a great disservice to you. Your list will likely evolve over days, months or even years, so don’t worry about completing it right away. You can always come back to it.

Next, create three columns with the headings “Physical,” “Emotional” and “Mental.” Take your list of lessons and write them under the appropriate heading (some may fall into more than one category). Keep these three lists where you can meditate on them when you are feeling the loss of your loved one’s presence or come across a situation or relationship in your life where these lessons may be helpful to you.

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