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Good Grief: The Art of Letting Go

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Every year, people include “letting go” in their New Years resolution. Some of us are letting go of friends, poor diets, overspending, procrastination, insecurities, etc. We live in a time of deeming things and people “cancelled” and while this may work when we’re no longer supporting a celebrity, in real life, letting go can be difficult. We grieve all things we lose, not just loved ones. If you’re like me, you may need some stress management while grieving. I may never be able treat loss, letting go, or change in general as a concrete science. But I can view it as an art and offer some friendly suggestions on how to manage your individual grieving process. Check the Facts

In Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), there’s a skill called Check the Facts. It goes as follow:

1. Ask yourself what emotion you want to change and rate the intensity of said emotion.

2. Ask yourself whats the prompting event for your emotion (describe event, question what lead up to event, stakeholders, and what specifically is the problem). Check the facts. Ask yourself which parts of your description are assumptions or judgments. Rewrite or focus on just the facts without extremities, judgments, or assumptions.

3. Question your interpretation( what are your thoughts, beliefs, assumptions). Check the accuracy of your interpretations. If you can’t check the facts, write out a likely or useful interpretation.

Stage best used: Denial Somatic Healing Put your body to good use. People are always encouraging exercise. Most of the time it’s linked to weight loss, which is legit, but there are other reasons to increase movement in your body. How often do we carry stress physically? Anxiety can make your stomach churn, stress can give you headache, frustration can make your heart pound ferociously. It’s important to think of our bodies while we are healing. I recently attended a training on somatic experiences, so I could go on-and-on. For those of us that are not fitness gurus or in grief counseling, this may look like deep breathing while stretching, taking a walk, or dancing. Stage best used: Anger Spirituality Letting go can be especially difficult for those of us that seek meaning in everything. If you believe that everything happens for a reason, you may question why this loss is occurring. While it is normal to question things, it can begin to feel overwhelming if the answers are not revealed. Seeking guidance from your higher power and understanding from the belief system you subscribe to can help to manage worry. Struggling to determine next steps after deciding to leave a job? Meditate, spend time clearing your mind so that the answers will reveal themselves. Stage best used: Bargaining Connect with Others One of the stages of grief and loss is depression, which can lead to isolation. While there are people struggling with depression that are social, many people experience a decline in motivation to participate in activities that once brought pleasure. Thankfully we have resources to connect to others that may be less challenging. Struggling with motivation to hang with friends while you’re grieving diet changes? Connect with others online by joining a group or chat room for health. Stage best used: Depression Art & Expressive Healing For some of us, healing requires work other than talking or thinking through our feelings. Expressive healing can mean writing, painting, using an old item to create something new. The options are endless. Creating allows you to put whatever feelings you’re having into making something tangible. It can also be a good sign off to something you’ve been trying to let go of for a while. Stage best used: Acceptance Regardless of whatever and whoever you decide to let go of in the upcoming year, know that grief is not linear. Things you thought you had a good grasp on may impact you later. It’s completely normal. In those moments, you aren’t alone. Grieve responsibly & Happy New Year.

Good Grief: The Art of Letting Go

By Hybrie Jenae


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