Our minds crave patterns and routine. That’s why it’s hard to keep that new diet or exercise program going. It’s also why it is so easy to stay stuck in our grief. Once it’s established a pattern, our brain is more comfortable grieving than healing.
When grief becomes a habit (which is easy to do in widowhood because there’s a LOT to work through!), then it’s hard NOT to get stuck in dark moods, weepy memories, and loneliness. The more ingrained this sticky web of sorrow becomes, the more the brain repeats the pattern. Not because you want to, but because that’s what the brain does.
When a spider catches an insect in its web, it binds up in sticky silk, mummifies it, and leaves it hanging in the wind. This is what your mind can do with grief. And it’s no fun being stuck there.
The STOP technique is great for those times when we feel stuck. First: just stop what you’re doing. Next, take 3 deep breaths and smile (force yourself, smiling releases happy chemicals into your body). Then, observe how you’re feeling. And proceed with awareness. This technique, developed by Dr. Rudolph Tanzi at Harvard University, helps you become aware of grief cycles and lets you stop the cycle long enough to make a different choice.
If you want more help in getting free of grief’s cycles and patterns, I offer a proven coaching system for widowed women. Learn more here.