mind

Sup­port those who find them­selves in a bleak place

Life & Style Weekend - - WELCOME // INSIDE TODAY -

How to treat some­one who is griev­ing

HOW do we cope and keep our sense of self when the world around us sud­denly de­liv­ers an ex­pe­ri­ence that is

out of our con­trol?

When is it okay to show the ef­fect of that event and what

emo­tions are ap­pro­pri­ate? These ques­tions were prompted by two of my clients go­ing through rad­i­cal changes that had come out of the blue. Ex­am­ples that can af­fect any one of us could be los­ing a loved one, a long-term re­la­tion­ship break­down, a se­vere

accident, a messy sep­a­ra­tion and di­vorce or be­ing made re­dun­dant with­out warn­ing. These and other ex­pe­ri­ences can be soul-de­stroy­ing when they are happening, and se­ri­ously af­fect our emo­tional well-be­ing and our ca­pac­ity to func­tion in the myr­iad roles we play in our lives.

Of­ten when caught in this state we will ob­sess about the ex­pe­ri­ence, re­liv­ing it in a con­tin­u­ous cy­cle of think­ing that can spi­ral be­yond anger, frustration and sad­ness into de­spair, hope­less­ness and de­pres­sion. Our world be­comes a bleak place and the small joys that we used to em­brace seem lost to us. Elis­a­beth Kubler-Ross wrote about the cy­cle of griev­ing in her

book On Death and Dy­ing in 1969.

It is en­tirely ap­pro­pri­ate to feel any, and all, emo­tions that come with forced change. Forced change causes a sense of grief. Along with that may come de­nial, anger, blame, de­spair and even­tu­ally ac­cep­tance

of the al­tered state of re­al­ity. That can lead to more pos­i­tive con­trol and in­creased

self-aware­ness and a more re­silient ap­proach to events.

How long does it take? That is per­sonal and de­pends on the

emo­tional strength of the in­di­vid­ual. What we can do to as­sist is to con­tinue to check in with the per­son. En­gage with them, talk with them about the sit­u­a­tion but do not try to fix it. emo­tion­alRather, ac­knowl­edge­sup­port. them and their feel­ings and pro­vide None of us know when these events will oc­cur. How­ever, by virtue of our be­ing alive they are bound to hap­pen. Rather than shy away, where can you show you care enough to check in on a friend or col­league who is go­ing through a chal­lenge? Nick Ben­nett is a fa­cil­i­ta­tor, per­for­mance coach and part­ner of Minds Aligned: www.mind­saligned.com.au

It is en­tirely ap­pro­pri­ate to feel any, and all, emo­tions that come with forced change. Forced change causes a sense of grief.

PHOTO: THINKSTOCK

Peo­ple ex­pe­ri­ence grief dif­fer­ently, and the length of time it takes for sad­ness to pass de­pends on the emo­tional strength of the in­di­vid­ual.

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