Dealing with tragedy and loss is never easy, but it is a part of life that will inevitably affect us all. Whether it's the passing of a loved one, facing a major illness or watching an unspeakable devastation, it can be difficult to keep it together and take care of ourselves, our families and our responsibilities. Here are some methods for staying calm while dealing with the loss of tragedies and disasters.
1. Breathe. It's true, breathing does deliver oxygen to your deepest parts, and it can soothe and calm your fears, worries, and anxieties. Paying conscious attention to your breath instead of the tragedy can tune you in to the larger reality and truth that this feeling will soon pass.Try sitting up straight and breathing deeply through your nose into the very bottom of your belly. Inhale and exhale each breath slowly. Do this as often as needed throughout the day. Make it a meditation, focusing on the stillness.
2. Surrender: We cannot bring back a loved one who has passed. We cannot undo a war or a natural disaster. Experiencing our loss and and our feelings of grief is a natural process, but it can lead us into deeper suffering, too. Surrendering to the situation as something we cannot change, and accepting that, can help us to release and honor our grief in a healthy way.
3. Take a walk. Getting out in nature—even if that's just your tree-lined Brooklyn street—can reduce symptoms of stress or anxiety in just 5 minutes. And when our bodies are gently moving, the blood flows, the oxygen flows and each step can leave us feeling lighter and more hopeful. When you're stressed or anxious, vigorous exercise can just exacerbate those feelings, so it's best to stick with gentle activity in a time of great stress. Try gardening, a slow yoga class or a low-key bike ride.
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4. Go for a soak. A hot tub, or natural hot springs can de-stress and calm you almost instantly. While it might seem indulgent to jump into a hot tub after a tragic event, that brief few minutes of de-stressing can help you think clearer about what actions you can best take to help.
5. Try natural herbs for calming. Lemon balm, passionflower, chamomile, skullcap and celery seed are just a few mild herbal options you can take in tincture, capsule or tea form to help you relax and stay calm throughout the day and to help get a restful night's sleep.
6. Volunteer. Helping others in need is a terrific way to diminish our own anxieties. Whether you're directly able to contribute to a cause financially or not, you can always roll up a sleeve and help out in a number of ways.
Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger