Sunday, June 1, 2008

Feeling, Not Thinking II

In my last post, I wrote about how grieving is more of a feeling process than a thinking process. In fact, intellectualizing grief can prove to be counter-productive because our thoughts produce feelings, and we already have more feelings than we know what to do with. We need some way to deal with the feeling we already have.

What worked for me was managing my sensory environment as much as possible. This tied in with my major goal in grieving, namely, how to be at peace with Deb's death. I found that I could shorten this goal to simply asking, "How can I be at peace?"

So, in managing my sensory environment, peacefulness has been my goal. I'll go through all five senses with some examples that I found to be helpful:

  • Sight
    I put some classical art on my walls. Each scene is very peaceful. Looking at each painting helps me imagine being at peace. I've also reduced or eliminated clutter everywhere in my house. Where clutter persists, peace is absent.

  • Hearing
    I listen to the Smooth Jazz channel from satellite TV every day at home, and I listen to a selection of classical music at work. I remind my son to use his indoor voice ;-) I wake up to peaceful music.

  • Taste
    I eat wholesome, savory food every day. I don't go overboard with snacks, but I certainly indulge myself a lot more than I used to with tasty treats and desserts. When I was deeply grieving, I often didn't feel at all hungry, and food tasted bland, if I could taste it at all. I ate good, healthy, tasty food anyway.

  • Smell
    I have learned a bit about essential oils, and I make sure my house always smells nice and pleasant. I also burn incense from time to time. The tasty food I eat often smells delicious as well. And for a real pick-me-up, I take a good whiff of certain essential oils right out of the bottle, like lavender, peppermint, or eucalyptus.

  • Feel
    Even days when I spend the whole day inside my home, I still wear clothes that fit well and make me feel good about myself. I don't dress like a slob, ever. And I smile whenever I feel a little bit out of sorts -- yes, forcing a smile still releases endorphins. Five or six rapid smiles will give an even bigger "hit." Exercising helps me feel better, and it releases endorphins also. And lastly, I can force myself to breathe in a more peaceful, relaxed manner.

By providing my body with the most peaceful environment I could create, I found that I could facilitate grieving using feeling techniques like Focusing a lot easier.

By far the easiest way to peacefully affect all five senses is to get outside in a beautiful nature setting. I found a wonderful walking trail 10 minutes from my house, and I walked it with my son as often as I could. If you are only looking for one thing to do to help you in your grief, get out there and take a walk in the Great Outdoors. You'll be glad you did.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

yes, i ve employed sme of the saem techniques. i lost my husband on March 16 of this year. it is so very recent. I hve good days and bad days,,,good hours and rough ones. Staying in the present takes practice but does help. I too elimnated clutter and use oils and incense. I agree that if the environment is not peaceful, there is no peace. I too make sure tht i shower and get dre4sed every day, and make it a practice to leave the house. When i need to cry i cry, when ineed to wail, i wail, when i need to talk about him i do, its is so hard, but I know tht this is a process we know we must face this one day. One day someone will be missing us .Death isnot the end, but the next phase in our spiritual development. Earth is our classroom, and dour loved ones are simply in another higher vibrating realm ....but with all of tht being undertood my earth self miss the physical presence. Debbie