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Acknowledging Grief Can Keep You Healthy!

Aug 29, 2013

This week's blog is going to be a very personal one. It's about loss. Many of you already know about the sudden loss of my husband of 38 years. Everyone we meet, whether at the grocery store, auto repair, just the public in general, has lost someone or something they loved.

Not all grief is due to the loss of a loved one. Loss can be in the form of a relationship gone bad, a job loss, a decline in health, financial changes, even a geographic move, or the loss of a beloved pet.

Our blogs are about ways to improve our quality of life through healthier habits and choices. I wanted to share what has helped me deal with my personal loss and how important the mind-body connection is to our overall health.

Grief is a painful emotion that we don't deal with well in our modern culture. We barely give ourselves time to process before we "think" we need to be back at work or deal with daily life. If we don't acknowledge how we feel, our feelings become unconscious and leak out in unexpected ways. The can cause serious consequences such as sleep disorders, substance abuse, weight gain or loss and even more serious health effects such as auto-immune disease.

We often assume that we should be "getting over" our grief quickly, so we repress our pain. Sometimes we can be grieving and not even know it. Attempting to go on in your "normal" life while ignoring your pain could sabotage your life in many ways. Repressing emotions causes stress on your immune system and eventually it will manifest itself in a physical way.

I've read that the 5 stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining with your higher power (if that is your belief system) for the return of your loss, depression and finally acceptance. Eventually we all have to get to the place of acceptance, but we can't do that if we don't know we have grief.

Sometimes grief develops into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) when a person doesn't reconcile the event that has changed their life. I want to share a few things that have helped me stay on a path towards healing.

Acupuncture is one treatment that can help in the healing process. This form of traditional Chinese medicine can help the body release physical and emotional blockages. It may take up to 6 visits or more to see and feel a change in direction of your life's energy pattern.

Another form of treatment is called Bowen Therapy. The Bowen technique is not massage or Acupressure or chiropractic. There is no manipulation, adjustment or force used. The practitioner uses thumbs and fingers to gently move muscles and tissues. In between each set of moves, the practioner leaves the room. These pauses and the gentleness of the treatment are what make the Bowen unique. In my personal experience it did help release some emotional pain. I've also had testimonials from friends that were able to get relief from physical pain as well.

Another technique developed by Dr. David Dercele is called Trauma Release Exercises (TRE). He has written several books on the subject. TRE helps to release deep chronic tension created in the body during a traumatic experience.

There is a wonderful, peaceful, serene facility here in Greensboro that offers both of these amazing therapies.

A preventative measure to help balance the mind-body connection is to set specific times aside to just "be" with your emotions without judgment. Taking time to honor your grief will help you to acknowledge your emotions. This awareness will help you to function normally at various times throughout the day. Doing so will prevent a possible reaction in subconscious ways that could adversely affect your physical well being.

My goal is to reach out and help others during the difficult times we all will experience. By learning acceptance of "what is" will encourage healing within. Good health to you!

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