Following the death of a loved one, it can be difficult to find happiness. You may feel a sense of guilt for feeling happy. You may simply find it hard to feel positive emotions, or any emotions at all. These responses are completely normal.
In periods of grief, it is common to forget how to find your own happiness. Simple things that gave us happiness before may not naturally bring us happiness anymore. Life’s external situations have the power to take over these simple sources of happiness. But even more importantly, we have the power to take them back.
Here are three simple ways to find your happiness again.
Connect with nature.
Nature heals. The outdoors help to quiet your mind, reduce stress and raise your energy levels. Henry David Thoreau, the famous American writer, spent two years in the secluded wooded areas of Massachusetts while writing Walden, his meditation on life and nature. Even back in 1845, he sensed that nature has beneficial effects on your health. In the midst of all the busyness and chaos of life, we forget the simple things that make us happy. Unplugging from daily life and spending time outdoors can help bring you back to the now, and stop dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.
Connect with other loved ones.
Humans are social beings. It is literally in our DNA to connect with other people. Happiness and love flourish in the presence of others. Cherish your loved ones through regular social contact through both thick and thin. It could be as simple as sending a quick text. Or taking someone out on a spontaneous dinner date. From the other side, if you know someone is going through a tough period, initiate the connection. Remember, little things make the biggest difference.
Connect with a peer.
Reaching out to others who have experienced a similar loss helps provide perspective and a listening ear. Being able to talk about your experiences and then, have someone relate to it is comforting. Grief peers can also share their strategies for finding happiness. The supportive, empowering relationships that stem from peer-to-peer conversation have healing power.
At the end of the day, it is important to remember to show yourself grace. The road to healing is never easy, and we need to love and be patient with ourselves. These strategies may or may not help you immediately, but that is not a reason to lose hope. Healing has no timestamp and everyone’s path is different.
BFO-Toronto provides opportunities to reconnect. In our Healing Garden, located at Duplex Parkette, we provide a calming environment to sit quietly, relax or meditate. Open to everyone, feel free to make yourself at home in our garden. We also provide support for bereaved individuals and families through our peer-to-peer support programs. We hold one-on-one sessions or support groups to help connect with peers who have experienced similar losses. These sessions provide a safe space to share your thoughts and feelings, learn helpful strategies and bond with others. Ultimately, BFO-Toronto strives to help you heal and find your happiness again, learning how to live with grief.