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  • Ben Musburger, Keynote Music Therapy Founder

Create Your Preferred Way of Grieving

In addition to being a small business operator, my day job is to provide grief therapy to people who have experienced losses. Therapy is a creative process. At a minimum, both therapist and client are trying to create growth in the midst of hardship. When working with grief, I believe one of my tasks is to assist the mourner with creating their preferred way of grieving. Co-developing a preferred way of grieving often requires me to soften fear-based avoidance, name existing mourning practices, identity personal growth, and to gently encourage grieving efforts. The creative process honors grief as encompassing both the struggle and beauty of life. If you or a loved is interested in creating a way to grieve, here are some ideas that may support you.

1. Grief is a natural and universal part of life. Try to remember that grieving is normal (and difficult).

2. Trust that grieving is necessary. The only thing that heals grief is grieve.

3. Mourning is a process with many twists/turns and ups/downs. Trust that the process will unfold as needed.

4. Be patient with yourself. Research has observed that a majority of people grieve most intensely for one to two years after a loss. Notice if you are pressuring yourself to “get over” grief.

5. Everyone grieves differently... and similarly. Your way of grieving will look different from others.There are also similarities across grief experiences.

6. Avoiding grief is difficult, if not impossible (and avoiding may cause undesired consequences). Try gently opening yourself to experiencing your grief.

7. Take care of yourself. Participate in self-care as grieving is painful and exhausting.

8. Pay attention to your body. Grief symptoms often manifest in the body. These signals may point you toward self-care needs and/or draw your attention to aspects of your grief that require your attention.

9. Believe in your resilience and strength. Know that you have grieved before and overcome other challenges.

10. Establish your preferred way of grieving. Perform rituals. Create memorials. Listen to music. Write a song (I know some Music Therapists who can help!). Get a tattoo (I am not well-networked in the tattoo community). Grieve your heart out in a way that is true to you and your losses.

11. Lean on others. Grieve with trusted loved ones. Join a support group. Talk to a counselor. Read a book. Join a social media community.

12. In your interactions with others, notice what is helpful and less helpful. Try to assume positive intent from those who do not meet your needs. Temporarily protect yourself, if needed, in relationships that are too painful at this time.

13. Find what is to be learned in the midst of loss/grief. Let your grief change you and your relationship with life.

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