Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is one of the best kinds of therapy for people who experience emotions intensely and may be struggling to manage and regulate them. Those navigating the healing process after a loss are going through a range of emotions that are tough to understand and navigate, making DBT a good support option. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapy that combines Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with Zen Buddhism.
A specific technique from this kind of therapy, the practice of accumulating positive experiences, can be especially helpful in increasing emotional resilience and healthily coping with how overwhelming grief can be.
Let’s talk more about how embracing positive experiences can be influential in the healing process after a loss.
The Benefits of Positive Experiences While Grieving
There’s no feeling like losing someone you love. The thought of having to cope with that loss and live without this person for the rest of your life can be debilitating.
Engaging in positive experiences regularly helps you not to be consumed by grief 24/7. Even if they last for just a few minutes, the positivity can interrupt negative thoughts and behavioral patterns. You can breathe and take in the joy of pleasant activities.
Emotional resilience comes with more positive experiences. You start to see how positive experiences affect you and how helpful they are during the grieving process. You begin to pull yourself out of grief. And when you’re completely on the other side of it, you realize you can evolve through pain and suffering and will when it hits you again in the future.
Accumulating positive experiences can redefine your perspective on grief as well as how to navigate life after the loss of a loved one.
Where to Start With Accumulating Positive Experiences
It can feel like a big project at first when you aren’t sure where to start with accumulating positive experiences. The last thing we want you to feel is that you have another big thing on your plate while grieving.
Fortunately, engaging in positive experiences doesn’t have to be complex. These tips will help you get started without it being burdensome.
Keep it simple
Grand positive experiences, like a healing retreat on a beautiful beach, are absolutely impactful when you’re trying to heal. For many grieving, these grand experiences may be out of reach for financial reasons, health issues, or family responsibilities. However, pleasant experiences don’t need to be extravagant for them to be powerful in your grieving process.
The point is to do things that make you feel good, and that can be interpreted in various ways. Skincare, for example, is an easy form of self-care that can boost your mood, help you relax, and connect with yourself.
Dedicating time to cleansing, moisturizing, and caring for your skin’s health communicates love and appreciation to yourself. You can make your skincare routine whatever you want so the practice is enjoyable and meaningful rather than a chore.
Here are some more ideas for simple actions you can engage in to help you move through your grief and heal:
- Taking a nap
- Watching a movie
- Going on a drive
- Taking a shower or bath
- Doing yoga or meditation or breathing exercises.
- Watching the sunrise or sunset
- Sitting on your porch or balcony
- Reciting three things you’re grateful for
- Listening to your favorite song on repeat
- Giving to others, whether it’s time or a small physical gift
The list of simple, positive experiences you can engage in goes on. Instead of focusing on big things you can do to help you heal after a loss, concentrate on the small gestures that make you feel good. For a longer list, clink on the link above called Pleasant Activities.
Include someone you trust
It isn’t uncommon for people grieving to isolate themselves and try to navigate the experience alone. Maybe you feel like you’re burdening others or don’t know how to bring what you’re going through to them.
Whatever the reason is, try your hardest to fight against isolation and, instead, bring people you trust into your healing journey. Engaging in good times together is a great way to develop the relationship. They also get to learn how to support you best.
These pleasant experiences are for you. So, don’t feel like you have to choose activities that the other person would like over what would help you heal. If they truly want to support you during this time, they’ll be there for you in the way that you need them to be.
Don’t use positive experiences as a stand-in for professional help
Accumulating positive experiences is a therapy technique. However, it can’t be a stand-in for professional mental health care if you need it.
Grief can consume you and begin to lead everything in your life, from your decision-making to the behaviors that come after. In addition, grief can rewire your brain and suppress your ability to enjoy anything in life moving forward.
If you find that no matter how long and how many positive experiences you engage in, the grief, sadness, and negativity still overwhelm you, it could be a sign of something more serious, like severe depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
It’s a good idea to seek professional support if this is the case. If you aren’t up for leaving your home to attend therapy, mental health conditions can be treated online via telehealth appointments.
Mental health concerns don’t require a physical checkup to treat. A mental health professional can make a diagnosis through the conversation you have with them on the phone or via video chat. However, you must be completely transparent so that they can put together a treatment plan that will actually work.
Losing a loved one is gut-wrenching. Trying to heal after the loss can seem unattainable at times. But the right steps, like engaging in positive experiences, can help you healthily cope with how overwhelming grief can be.
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