Harvesting Happiness Director Lisa Cypers Kamen shares a Special Message for those Effected by the Boston Marathon Bombings
Tragedy is exactly that: Tragic. It comes quickly, with heavy impact on the bodies, hearts and minds of those affected by it’s devastation. The recent bombings in Boston have once again brought tragedy to the forefront of our thoughts, and we may all find ourselves grieving at the great pain caused by such a terrorizing act upon the innocent.
Experiences such as this event and others such as the recent Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, are devastating not only for the families and friends of those whose lives these random acts of violence claim, but also on society as a whole. It is during this time, that we are tested most in the art of resiliency, the ability to transcend the tragic outcome of an unforeseeable event with hope, optimism and action.
Although difficult to process, these three components of moving forward are vital to a healthy response that allows us to process the event like an ocean wave; accepting each new wave of varying emotions as it hits, and allowing the emotion to come and go in it’s own time. Just as waves hit the beach in a violent storm, thoughts of anger and revenge are to be expected and can best met with proactive action.
Here are five tips for turning anger into positive management of the grieving process:
1. Connect. Reach out to others who are in your support circle (family and friends) or those experiencing the tragedy with you. Our instinct is to with-hold our thoughts and process internally, but sharing the physical process of a tragedy through hugs, tears, and verbal expressions with others, is vital to sorting out anger for the management of sadness.
2. Talk. Share your thoughts with others in your support system. They want to be a part of your grieving and support you in any way they can. Use them as a shoulder to rely on as you process the tragedy and the loss. Share your thoughts with them, allow them to hear your thoughts and respond in their own way to be a part of the healing. Talking out loud offers a sounding board for processing your true emotions and can be a great release from the pressure building in your heart and thoughts.
3. Serve. If you are a family member, friend, co-worker or neighbor to someone who has suffered a great tragedy, you can find ways to reach out to the party grieving through small acts of kindness; a card, a hug, a knock on the door with a dinner, a call to play babysitter, an offer to pick up some groceries at the store while you are out, an offer to water the plants or even just a phone call checking in. If you are the one grieving, you will find comfort in a small act of service to another grieving as you break out of your thoughts to be the shoulder for another. A small service goes a long way to rebuilding joy.
4. Breathe. Remember to keep your body going. Tragic events can literally take your breath away while adding to the panic you’re feeling already. Without deep and focused breathing, our bodies remain in a state of panic, which works against the healing that your body is craving. Before or after talking with someone, as the panic and the pain begins to well up, pause for a deep breath, which can help you process the emotional thought you are forming.
Simply put, breathing deeply helps you exhale everything from pain to tears.
5. Eat Well. When our body and mind is in shock, we respond different ways. Sometimes we eat nothing at all, and sometimes we might find ourselves eating nothing but the comfort food we rely on to make us feel better: chocolate, chips, cookies, candy, etc. . . Our bodies need sustainable foods to sustain the grieving we are undergoing. Try to eat as healthy as possible when the hunger hits. Sliced apples, grapes, yogurt, and healthy whole grains are great items for neighbors to bring to grieving families, and will go a long way in keeping our body’s ability to fight off illnesses while we are in a weakened state, but will keep our minds healthy as we push through the waves of emotion hitting us.
We at Harvesting Happiness offer our sincere condolences to the victims and families affected by the horrific events in Boston, and we hope that these tips will be valuable in helping heal your pain. Our hearts and minds are with you!
Lisa Cypers Kamen