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A Main Line expert explains how to effectively use social media to make mourning less (rather than more) messy.
Mourning a loss is one of the most difficult parts of life. We feel grief when we lose someone (or something) we love, like or even hate. Thanks to the pioneering research of Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, we now know that the grieving process has at least five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Soon after losing his son to an accidental overdose, grief researcher David Kessler added a sixth stage: finding meaning.
Undoubtedly, social media has changed the way we experience and express grief. And while it may offer some support, it can also make mourning and finding meaning in loss more difficult, putting pressure on us to bury our true feelings and grieve in ways that meet societal expectations. It can also be challenging to escape the reminders, posts, memories and tags intertwined with social media feeds.
No two people share the same DNA, and we all have our own ways of grieving. Here are six ways to find meaning in loss.
How to Find Meaning in Loss
- Don’t compare your loss with another’s. People often use social media as a platform for sharing emotions publicly, making others feel inadequate. Comparisons can undermine our sense of self, chip away at self-esteem and impede healthy grieving.
- Embrace your feelings. There’s no prescribed way to grieve. Too often, the feelings we try so hard to resist only persist. Write down your thoughts, feelings and memories. And don’t expect to be over your loss in 30 days or succumb to pressure from close relatives or friends to be further along in the grieving process.
- Find your own way to remember your loved one. Go to a special place you shared together, like a park, restaurant or museum.
- Join a support group. Whether in-person, virtual or both, a support network quells feelings of isolation and loneliness.
- Follow educational, supportive and inspirational social media accounts that focus on healthy grieving and mourning. Understanding what to expect during the mourning and grieving process can help with putting plans in place for challenging times such as holidays, anniversaries or birthdays.
- Be mindful of social media habits in the first year of grieving. Grief and mourning are hard work spiritually, emotionally and physically. Avoid the unnecessary emotional pain and anxiety that can stem from excessive social media scrolling.
Related: How to Reduce Digital Anxiety, According to a Main Line Expert