Stay Emotionally Resilient With These 5 Stages Of Grief

Laurie Riihimaki

With all that has happened in the past few months, the global emotional landscape has been heightened. People everywhere are struggling to decipher, understand, and come to terms with their confusing feelings during the pandemic. Despite background, culture, status, gender, or race, these emotions are strongly shared.

Although these feelings have the ability to make us feel paralyzed and get in the way of moving forward in our career paths, there are ways to accept the nature of the topsy-turvy ride we are all coasting on and find balance, peace, and proactivity. Finding that calm in the storm starts with understanding.

What Am I Feeling?

Determining how you feel is the first step in learning how to become emotionally resilient and maintain your momentum in desolate times, such as this. Having a name to call your emotional status is important because it will help you to recognize it, deal with it, and accept it so you can continue on your path to success. However, it is not always as easy as it sounds.

Right about now, your brain is probably full of fog, making it hard to focus with a clear mind. This is why it’s important to learn how to push everything aside in order to confront your feelings head-on. Meditation and mindfulness are good everyday practices that will help make this easier.

After circling through your emotions and translating their cause and effect, it will be clear to see that you, like everyone else around the globe, are dealing with grief at this present moment. Grief is the response to a loss. We oftentimes think of grief as a reaction to a loved one’s passing, but grief can be felt, as a counter, to a number of situations and it can appear in different forms.

For example, many of us are feeling the classic grief which refers to the loss of normalcy during this time. However, many of us are also feeling anticipatory grief which refers more to the uncertainty of the future.

The pandemic has escalated the volume of grief in the world. It is impossible not to perceive the mourning atmosphere surrounding us. But, like all other things in our business lives and our personal ones that we have endured in the past, we must overcome it.

To accept and rise about grief, all while becoming emotionally resilient and maintaining momentum, it’s vital to name the 5 stages to regain momentum. It’s important to understand what they are and how to work with them.

Shock

The feeling of shock is the first stage. This is when you’ll struggle with feelings of apathy, denial, and utter disbelief. During these unprecedented times, many individuals have been hit with the initial blow of the pandemic and what it means for their lives.

The work-life and personal-life have been altered and it is uncertain when our ‘normals’ will return. The shock factor is not surprising, especially in the wake of a pandemic. People are suffering. This is a fact. And that fact makes the state of the world an even more unfamiliar place. As humans, we like to feel safe, and at this moment we do not. We are challenged to find stability in uncertainty.

With the feeling of shock, you might be pressured by your internal instincts to simply ignore the situation. You may think because it is so unfamiliar and unbelievable, it cannot possibly be real. However, during this state of shock, writing down what has occurred in detail, without emotional bias, may help you to get through this necessary but difficult stage.

Another way to work through the stage of shock and maintain your momentum is to take action of the situation. Do not let the feeling of shock stop your world. It’s important though to allow yourself to take a breath before jumping into a decision or action. You want to forward your path to success, not hinder it.

Anger

Anger is the second stage. While experiencing this phase, you may feel pain, resentment, defensive, deflection, the need to put the blame on someone or something, and the urge to argue with the presented truth.

It is natural and completely acceptable to feel anger. It is expected during the loss of something. Your anger in regard to the loss of normalcy is completely justified. The confusion, pain and unfocus you may be feeling, as a worker, at this time is not something that you should be ashamed of. We are all feeling a little foggy-headed. Even someone who is on top of their game all the time will be feeling ‘off’ these days. This can create a lot of angry emotions due to frustration.

To support your momentum during this stage, it is essential that you allow yourself to feel. Writing out your feelings in a journal or a notebook is an excellent exercise to help eliminate the anger within. This is not a time to hold back how you’re feeling, but rather let yourself drown in it until you start to feel those strong emotions leaving your body and your mind start to calm.

Numbness

The feeling of numbness is never pleasant. But, in order to accept the situation at hand and move forward, we must endure it. This stage includes feeling stuck. Oftentimes, you could feel like this experience will last forever, so you become silent and shutdown.

Numbness, naturally, comes right after the strong emotion of anger. Anger oftentimes leaves us exhausted, heavy, and lethargic. These are all traits of feeling numb. However, this numbness can also occur when there is anger still left unresolved. It can become deeply-rooted within an individual and create a depression effect.

During this phase, it is important to be honest, genuine, and open yourself up to how you are feeling so the depression may come unrooted. Creating a barrier around yourself and isolating may be an easy thing to do during the quarantine, however, this can be detrimental to your overall well-being. If you are stuck in the feeling of numbness, reach out to people who you trust and can support you. There are resources available for those in need. No one should have to be alone throughout this difficult time.

Right now, work is still moving forward, so despite your feeling of numbness, you need to challenge yourself mentally to move forward with it. It’s vital to adjust your expectations and performance. What you expected of yourself four months ago should not look like what you expect from yourself right now. Learn to give yourself a break. This is a time for self-compassion, but it is not a time to forget your accountability. A mix of productivity and self-care will allow you to get through this difficult stage.

Release

Thankfully, after the numbness, there is a release. The stage of release happens when you have allowed yourself to freely discharge the feelings you have wrestled with. This takes time, and it may take longer for some than others. Please, be patient with yourself and your journey.

To help ensure this much-deserved release, it is important to put your energy elsewhere. At this moment, your body is holding too much energy for you to handle, so you need to find a positive way to get it out and put it to use. This could be through meditation, yoga, running, art, journaling, chatting with a friend, anything that helps you to push through the emotions, and begin to feel balanced again.

After you reach your release, it’s helpful to take the time to sit down and write a list of lessons you have learned throughout the experience. Looking back at the product of this mindful activity may come in handy in future situations. Also, it’s important to note that while you may feel a sense of release, this is not the time to stop battling the feeling of grief. You must keep up your productivity and momentum. This will allow you to gain back some of the normality you are craving during this time.

Acceptance

Acceptance is the last step in the stages. The stage of acceptance is when you are finally able to reassess the situation, envision the future, and put a plan into action. This stage is full of loving thoughts toward ourselves and the situation we are enduring.

Remember, at this stage, to keep reimaging the future. You should know that the new ‘normal’ is only temporary and soon enough you will be back into your old pattern. Of course, this pattern may be slightly altered, due to the current situation of the world, but you will find your way if you trust in your journey and keep striving forward productively.

Give Your Mind And Body What It Needs To Be Resilient And Maintain Momentum

Though it is vital to understand the five stages of grief, there is more that needs to be done in order to give your mind and body what it needs to be emotionally resilient and maintain momentum. By practicing good habits every day, it will be easier to overcome times of hardship where grief is involved.

Being mindful and practicing meditation will help you to keep your mind clear. It will allow you to feel your emotions and easily transmute them. Along with being mindful, it’s important to stay vulnerable, open, and willing to learn. These tools will allow you to get through the stage of grief much more smoothly.

Exercise, nutrition, and sleep are also essential factors. Your body is your biggest resource. Do not let it overtire, and be sure to feed it well. In times of stress, a strong and healthy body will be your biggest asset.

At this time, as well as any other, remember that you cannot become attached to the outcome. Right now, the world is uncertain. Instead of banking on a foreseen outcome, we must try our best to have faith in the journey and continue moving forward. To help with this, ignore the outside voices and gain insight from within. Always be mindful of who you discuss with and how much media-hype you’re tuning into.

This is only temporary and we will get through it.

FAQ:

  • What Are We Feeling?

Right now, the whole world is feeling a sense of grief. We are grieving our loss of normalcy.

  • What Is Shock?

Shock is the feeling of utter disbelief.

  • What Is Anger?

Anger is when you feel pain, resentment, deflection, and the urge to blame the given circumstances on someone or something.

  • What Is Numbness?

Numbness occurs when you feel stuck, isolated, and shutdown.

  • What Is Release?

The release is when you find a way to put your negative energy to good.

  • What Is Acceptance?

Acceptance is when you have fully come to terms with the situation at hand.

  • How Do You Build Emotional Resilience?

Good practices to build emotional resilience are good diet, regular exercise, mindfulness, meditation, and other healthy mediums.

 

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