As we get older the number of life losses we experience can increase, whether it’s the loss of a friend, loss of independence or the loss of our home. These experiences can cause feelings of grief which can impact both the body and mind. Thankfully there are a number of practices, including yoga and meditation, that you can draw on to help you come out of the situations stronger and more resilient.
When you’re happy and connected to a person or situation, your brain floods with dopamine and oxytocin, neurochemicals that bring on positive emotions. But when a change you perceive as negative happens—retiring from a job you love, losing a spouse or a pet—there is an uptick in adrenaline and cortisol, and anxiety and sadness ensue.
Yoga and meditation have been shown to help people experience emotions and bodily sensations—such as tension in the chest and muscles that often come with the stress of loss—as they are happening. This helps us to accept those feelings so that they can, in time, pass naturally which opens the door to transformation.
Spiritual practices that allow us to quiet our minds and connect with ourselves give us the space to forgive anyone we think has wronged us and to say goodbye to the pet, the friend or the job, in a private way. Here is a breathing meditation you can do to help work through grief:
Loss is a part of life but these strategies can make grieving more bearable.