finding peace

Finding Balance In Action: Play a free online mindfulness meditation recording

Use this week to meditate for ten minutes over your lunch break during the working week and whenever you are stressed and see the impact it has over the course of the week.

 

For more of an in-depth look at the many benefits of meditation and how it can help you day to day please read my article titled ‘How to stop operating on auto-pilot and live for the moment’.

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The Bumpy Road of Letting Go and Moving On and the Difference Between a Blip, Setback and a Relapse

Make no mistake the road toward recovery following loss is a very bumpy one. Just when you think you are making progress you are reminded you still have a long way to go. But trust me, eventually you will look back and realize there are more good days than bad and that you are indeed healing. Depending on your loss the future may look different to how you imagined it to be but from my experience this doesn’t have to necessarily be as awful as it may at first seem, just different. Life can still be meaningful and fulfilling following your recovery.

 

One of the things I learnt in treatment was how to recognize a blip, setback and relapse. The reason it is so important to know the difference between these phenomena is because, once we are beginning to let go and move on, so often we confuse a blip or setback from a complete relapse, thinking we are back at step one unnecessarily and causing us to lose the strength to keep going.

 

Blips

 

These are bad days, perhaps even a bad week. When we have these days, the pain and sorrow from our loss is magnified and worse than we have grown accustomed to.

 

These days are awful but only last up to a week in length maximum, after which we feel as we did before the blip took place. When we experience these days we tend to think they will last longer than they do.

 

Setbacks

 

These are usually between two to three weeks in duration. We again feel all the pain and sorrow from our loss as if it were yesterday and we had not begun on the road to recovery at all.

 

We might begin to think we are back at square one with our ability to cope with our loss and we could be at high risk of thinking we are relapsing into despair, with no hope of recovery in future.

 

You have however made progress even though it doesn’t seem like it during a setback. Use this time to lean on friends and family to feel understood and supported.

 

Once your pain has subsided to a more manageable level (and only then) and you feel almost as you did before the setback, continue to do the positive steps of avoiding behaviors that are contributing to your pain, socializing and engaging with hobbies, even if only for a couple of hours over the weekend.

 

Relapses

 

This typically lasts for one month or more and can be due to triggers such as birthdays or anniversaries or even special occasions or times of year like Christmas.

 

A word of warning though, it sometimes be due to trying to let go and move on before you have properly mourned.

 

This is when you need to question whether you tried to let go and move on before having fully mourned. If you think this is a possibility, seek comfort in close friends and family until your pain is more manageable. Even if you are having a relapse you can and will go on to lead a meaningful and fulfilling life in future, just trust in the recovery process and be patient with yourself.

 

When you feel you have mourned, gently and at your own pace, begin to follow the steps as outlined in this month’s Monday series posts. You will get to a better place however it will take time and you need to be as self-compassionate and patient with the process as you can possibly be.

 

Even though this is one of the most difficult things you can do, hang in there. It will be worth it, I promise.

 

Have you ever made the distinction between blips, setbacks and relapses? Can you share your own wisdom on how to deal with them when they occur? How did you handle setbacks in the past? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.

Letting Go In Action: Month Long News and Politics Ban

As well as introducing positive behaviors, there will invariably be existing negative behaviors which will exasperate negativity. Commit to avoiding the news and seeing, watching or talking about anything political for the next thirty days, you will be astonished at the impact this will have.

 

Instead, use the time you would have spent watching or reading the news watching inspiring TED Talks (see my Top TED Talks page) or reading personal development sites such as Accessible Psychology, Positively Positive or Tiny Buddha.

 

See the uplifting impact these sites have and notice if gradually your mood is lifting, even better, if you are perhaps beginning to see the future with a renewed sense of hope.

 

What impact do you think this exercise would have upon your life? Will you be taking a month long ban from news and politics? Will you be watching more positive media over the next month? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.

Letting Go In Action: Look to the future with hope and optimism

When we have already let go and are in the process of moving on we benefit from looking to the future with hope and optimism. This is very hard in practice but it is possible. Please only follow today’s exercise if you feel you are well on your way to letting go and moving on as increasing our hope, optimism and overall positivity is only advisable when you have properly mourned your loss, otherwise it can extend the grieving process.

 

Please read my article titled ‘How to Avoid A Negative Downward Spiral by Using the Power of Positivity’ and resolve to do three of the behaviors from the article to cultivate a more optimistic view of the future.

 

Do you feel emotionally ready to do today’s exercise? If so, which three behaviors did you choose to adopt? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.

Letting Go In Action: Create two meaningful S.M.A.R.T. goals

Please read my article on goals titled ‘How to Turn Your Dreams into Reality’ and create two meaningful S.M.A.R.T. goals. The goals may be as simple as ‘create scrapbook’, ‘volunteer for a charity for one month and record it in a journal’ or ‘read book on loss and follow exercises’ depending on the severity of your loss.

 

If you are feeling like you are recovering from your loss and ready to begin channeling your energies into something new you could be more ambitious like ‘create a bucket list and do one thing from the list each month’ or even ‘start a blog’ or ‘take up photography and create a portfolio of landscape photos’.

 

Whatever stage in your recovery you are, create a goal which is meaningful and healing to you. Some may be therapeutic, like creating a scrapbook and some may be aspirational, like taking up photography.

 

What S.M.A.R.T. goals did you come up with? If you already have goals did you make them S.M.A.R.T.? How healing and restorative do you think your goals are? Do you find focusing your energy in this way helpful in dealing with your loss? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.

Why letting go and moving on doesn’t mean you don’t care

Often when we are going through the pain of loss, we associate letting go and moving on with not caring as much, thinking instead that remaining in pain honors that which we have lost. Though it is understandable why we might think this, in reality those that have let go and moved on still retain the happy memories of that which they have lost, they have simply decided to let go of their pain and move forward positively.

 

If you also believe that letting go and moving on means you don’t care as much consider what advantages there are to the pain you are experiencing – I personally battled to find any real value in mine.

 

Indeed when we suffer from loss there are many opportunities for growth, including self-compassion, compassion for others, forgiveness, empathy, gained wisdom – even fostering greater emotional strength and resilience. I for one would never trade the struggles I have faced for anything, as they have allowed me to grow in a way that otherwise would not have been possible.

 

Do you believe letting go and moving on means you don’t care as much? Can you find any real value in your pain? If you have overcome this belief how did you do so? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.

Letting Go In Action: Try out your top three hobbies in the next three months

Try out your top three creative hobbies that you selected yesterday and spend one month on each hobby.

 

If you try one you don’t like, just choose one of the remaining two hobbies you selected instead.

 

Are you hopeful that the creative hobbies you selected will be cathartic? What hobbies did you select? Did you think of any of your own to try that weren’t featured on the list? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.

Letting Go In Action: Select three hobbies to try out

If you haven’t already read ‘How to Design A More Fulfilled Life By Being Creative in 6 Simple Steps’ and select the five hobbies you would like to try out most.

 

Having a creative hobby will promote self-expression and be cathartic, invaluable when dealing with loss.

 

Do you have any creative pursuits? Have you ever tried out hobbies in the past? Are there any creative hobbies in the article not listed that you think should be? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.

Letting Go In Action: Read my article on creativity and think about which hobbies appeal to you

Take ten minutes to read my article on creativity and hobbies, titled ‘How to Design A More Fulfilled Life By Being Creative in 6 Simple Steps’, think about which hobbies appeal to you most for tomorrows exercise.

 

Having a creative hobby will promote self-expression and provide you with much needed fulfillment, a very therapeutic exercise for those suffering from loss.

 

Can you see the value in having creative hobbies? What was your main takeaway from the article? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.

Positive signs you are letting go

It would have saved me a lot of uncertainty had I known the positive signs to look out for that I was beginning to move on.

 

If you are unsure if you are making progress in letting go and moving on, please see below for the signs you are on the right track…

 

  • Ruminating less
  • Crying less
  • Having more energy
  • Daily tasks are less difficult
  • Your concentration levels improve
  • Things that had lost their enjoyment following the loss, you begin to enjoy again
  • You go out to see friends and talk about your loss less or sometimes not at all
  • You go out to see friends and think about your loss less or sometimes not at all
  • Your passion for your hobbies returns
  • Your motivation and drive increases

 

I hope you find this list encouraging as you continue on your journey to let go and move on. And for those of you who are not there yet, I hope this list serves as compass, showing you what to look out for in your path to recovery.

 

Have you noticed these signs of recovery in yourself and if so are you encouraged by this? Are there any signs of recovery in letting go and moving on that I have missed out? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.

 

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