When you and your family suffers the loss of a pet, your world is turned upside down. There is a gamut of emotions that are experienced and as you try to get through and process your grief, you will find that you may not have the tools to deal with maintaining daily life. Grief brings about stress and anxiety and as we go through the motions of our pet memorial, we realize that sometimes we need help. There are many that have turned to a combination of alternative therapies to assist in reducing anxiety and breathing, meditation and journaling has been of great success for some. Anxiety changes the way we feel and act and institutes the “fight or flight” portion of the brain. We will find that we can’t eat, that we are agitated, burst into tears and even lack interest in many parts of our lives.
Mindfulness breathing techniques and meditation are the easiest ways to reduce the incredibly overwhelming sadness that we are going through when we lose our beloved furred family member. Massachusetts General Hospital psychiatrist for the Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders, Dr. Elizabeth Hope is also an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She has indicated that treating anxiety with mindfulness meditation makes perfect sense and indicates:
“People with anxiety have a problem dealing with distracting thoughts that have too much power. They can’t distinguish between a problem-solving thought and a nagging worry that has no benefit.” Our minds are noisy and when you begin with a simple focused breathing process followed by a clearing of thoughts and a repetitive mantra for meditation, it can have a calming effect that only takes ten minutes a day. Professionals have monitored meditation to show that it also reduces blood pressure and helps to remove the problems associated with stress, anxiety and depression.
Dealing with the decisions involved in the loss of our best friend can generate feelings that we often are not equipped to deal with. This is especially true when you are planning a dog funeral, making choices about memorials and trying to get through the daily routines. While talking about your feelings is one of the best grieving methods, it can also be exhausting. Each time you mention or repeat, it can generate a bubbling well of intense emotions. Some have found that an alternative therapy that is helpful in grief is to journal. It requires only the amount of time that you want to devote to it and for those that have trouble conveying things in words it can be a cathartic process of self-discovery as well as relief. Our minds and thoughts move so very quickly and journaling allows us to slow down and write things down, one item at a time while also incorporating the emotions that we are feeling.
The benefits of breathing, meditation and journaling are very personal and each individual must follow the path that they feel most comfortable with. Many people turn to these therapies as a way to help themselves as they move through each day, missing the furred family member that they shared their lives with.