GRIEF AND YOUR HEALTH
Dr. Robert Dee McDonald
Grief is a deep sadness, a painful emotional response to a perceived loss, which is called bereavement. The sensations of grief are felt in the chest as an emptiness or concavity. A grieving individual, someone in mourning, may report feeling sad or that they are pining or longing for something or someone who is missing, lost or gone, and is now thought of as existing only in the past.
Specifically, you are in a state of grief when you feel a painful longing for something or someone who is no longer in your life, whether your loved one died or simply moved away.
Very broadly speaking, grief is the result of mentally representing a valued person, animal, place, thing, activity or dream as absent from your life, no longer present and available.
The Good News:
The way you think of your loved one, what you mentally see and hear in your mind's eye and ear, determines your emotional state. And since you can change your mind, you can change your emotional reaction. You can transform your experience from grief to gratitude.
What Grief is Not:
Grief is not anger, shock or trauma. These painful emotions commonly accompany grief, so I use different tools to help resolve them. Grief is also not a way to honor the one who has passed away, but thinking of the loved one with joy in your heart is. And grief is not a way to honor family and friends who have experienced the same loss, but sharing the genuine happiness that comes from resolving your own grief is.
Grief Offers a Gift:
Your ability to feel grief is evidence of your humanity and your capacity to love. That's because we only grieve the loss of those people, animals and things that we truly value. All suffering offers us a gift. That gift is compassion. The pain you experience as you grieve the loss of a loved one is the basis of your ability to appreciate the pain others feel, which deepens your humanity. There is an emotional law: No suffering, no compassion. Compassion comes from the Latin "com", which means "with" or "together", and "passion", which means to suffer. So if you have suffered from the loss of a loved one or for any other reason, you are given the opportunity to more deeply connect and emotionally commune with others. But, because compassion can only come to you through the pain of your broken heart, you may be reluctant to accept the gift. Nonetheless, the offer is made to everyone who grieves.
Objections to Ending Grief:
Objections to resolving grief are not uncommon. Even though grief can now be healthily resolved, not everyone wants to stop grieving. Many people believe that grief cannot be resolved at all. Others regard the end of grief as a kind of betrayal of the loved one, thinking something like, "If I feel good when I think of (him or her), doesn't that mean that I didn't really love (him or her)?" Some want to preserve their grief as a way of demonstrating family loyalty. But most people continue to grieve for two reasons: They have not received the gift of suffering, which is universally known to be compassion. And, not having access to anyone who knows how to help them, they simply don't have the means to resolve their grief.
Grief and Chronic Stress:
Painful emotions suffered for a prolonged period of time eventuate as chronic stress. Chronic stress releases adrenaline and cortisol, called corticosteroids, into your body. These stress hormones can be beneficial in the short-term, but if you are exposed to them for too long, you may experience high blood pressure, heart disease, muscle tissue damage, anxiety, depression, sleep problems, weight gain or loss, memory and concentration impairment, and much more.
Although studies have not shown a direct link between chronic stress and cancer, the medical community agrees that chronic stress compromises the immune system and therefore decreases the body's ability to fight disease and kill cancer cells.
Grief is a very stressful and universally felt emotion. Everyone who is able to love, and lives long enough, will feel grief at some time in their lives. It is a normal reaction to the loss of a loved person, pet, place, thing, activity or dream. But when grief is unresolved, it can be a source of chronic stress and a damaged immune system. In fact, researchers at Yale University have found that prolonged grief had a greater negative impact on people's lives than major depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. It therefore opens the door to a variety of unnecessary diseases, including cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us that up to 90% of the doctor visits in the USA may be triggered by a stress-related illness.
The methods I use to resolve grief positively impact chronic stress and thereby strengthen your immune system. This extraordinarily powerful work gently guides you in a step-by-step fashion to mentally represent the lost loved one as present, here and now. It includes a profound process of integration that lifts you to the next level of conscious evolution.
The Results of Resolving Grief:
The goal of healing your wounded heart is to happily re-engage in the flow and joyous mystery of life. Your grief has ended when you are able to happily think of your loved one, and, at the same time, breathe freely, enjoy life, and love again.
How To Resolve Grief:
More than 30 years ago, I wrote my Master's Thesis on unresolved grief reactions in survivors of suicide. At that time, no one in the professional psychotherapeutic community imagined that grief over the loss of a loved one could be resolved at all, certainly not in one to three sessions. But since I was feeling grief over my father's suicide, I was deeply motivated to find effective and healthy ways to end my grief and then assist others in resolving theirs. After years of research and study, I finally learned the nature of the human mind. I learned how the mind creates, and resolves, every emotion, including grief. I learned how to help resolve grief, shock and trauma in virtually anyone seeking assistance. Today, I am happy to report that, by working with clients in 18 countries around the world, I have helped literally thousands of people end their grief.
My personal experience of grief includes the suffering I felt over the loss of my father, nephew and two cousins by suicide, two sisters and a brother, when I was a child and they were babies, my mother, at 85, my grandmothers, aunts, uncles, dear friends and colleagues. Naturally, I missed them and felt grief over their absence.
Then I resolved my grief by the renewing of my mind.
Now, when I think of the loved ones who have passed away, I feel happy, connected, peaceful and loving. I do not miss them because I experience them as with me. To me, they are not lost, gone and in the past. Each one, as I think of him or her, is with me here and now. They are as present in my life as a loved one who has just stepped into the next room.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of people cannot imagine that such a powerful emotion can be effectively and healthily resolved in such a short time. And because so many people simply don't believe relief is possible, they don't seek it.
Please keep this fact in mind: Recent research has found that 90,000 parents a year, in the U.S. alone, experience the profound suffering that follows the death of a child or adolescent. Of course their suffering is natural, normal and to be expected. But, to show that prolonged grief is unnecessary, I offer the following report from a co-founder of the Cure to Cancer Conference and Editor and Chief of Integrated Health International Magazine, Jean Swann:
"Dr. Robert Dee McDonald helped me, in one session, to completely heal the profound shock, trauma and grief I felt over the death of my 23 year old son. All I can tell you is I experienced a life changing miracle, only a few months after he died. Now when I think of my son, I do not cry tears of sadness and loss, I cry tears of joy. It is absolutely so incredible! I didn't know I could feel this way again. I have studied healing modalities and spirituality for more than 12 years, and I have never experienced anything as miraculous as this! I want everyone suffering over the loss of a loved one, the way I did, to know that rapid and compassionate healing is now possible. I am spreading the good news!"
My most powerful method for resolving grief is called The Grief Resolution Ceremony. This extraordinarily powerful tool gently guides you to compare two different emotional experiences: 1) The pain you feel when you think of someone you are currently grieving, and 2) the happiness you feel when you think of a loved one you used to grieve, but now you feel fine when you think of him or her, almost as though he or she is in another room or at work or school at the moment.
It is important to realize that neither of the two loved ones is literally with you. The one you are grieving is not with you. The one you used to grieve is also not with you. Yet, you grieve the one and you feel fine about the other. The difference that makes the difference is the way you see them in your mind's eye and hear them in your mind's ear. Because these differences are universally reported, irrespective of country, language or culture, it is now possible to resolve grief by learning how to change your thoughts and beliefs, that is, the mental representations that cause grief and disturb your peace of mind. In this way, your grief can be healthily, honorably and quickly resolved.
My work with grief, shock, trauma and unconscious conflict is designed to resolve chronic stress. It thereby strengthens your immune system, and supports you as you walk the Path of the Seven Virtues, which includes authenticity, humility, mercy, forgiveness, grace, wisdom and ultimately love.
© 2014-2015 Copyright by Dr. Robert Dee McDonald. All Right Reserved.
The Telos Healing Center • 714-577-5717 • www.TelosCenter.com