Coping with Grief: Building Your Emotional Toolbox

by Brittaney Latta, LMFT

Grief is a powerful, complex, and deeply personal experience that we all encounter at various points in our lives. It is not limited to the loss of a loved one. It encompasses a wide spectrum of losses, including the end of a relationship, loss of health, or the death of a pet. Regardless of the source, the pain of grief is real and profound.

Hello grief, yes, I feel you. There is no correct or incorrect way to feel you. It's a rollercoaster of emotions that can be overwhelming. Some people may try to numb or distract themselves from the pain. But remember, the pain you're feeling represents your love for what you've lost. It's a testament to the depth of your emotions.

The Five Stages of Grief

The five stages of grief are a commonly referenced framework for understanding our reactions to loss. The stages include, but do not have to go, order denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It's important to remember that these stages can be experienced in any order.

Coping with Grief: Building Your Emotional Toolbox

One of the ways we can navigate through the discomfort of grief is by developing a coping toolbox. This toolbox consists of strategies and activities to help you manage your grief and promote healing.

Creating an emotional toolbox can be as simple as grabbing a pen and paper or using the notes section on your phone. The idea is to have a go-to list of coping tools to turn to when the waves of grief become overwhelming. Eventually, you might want to turn this into a tangible "emergency kit" you can carry.

To begin building your emotional toolbox, pause and write down each section of your feelings. Next, identify two coping tools to help manage each of these feelings. Be sure to include a variety of tools and refrain from repeating any to ensure that your toolbox is versatile and adaptable.

Examples of Feelings and Coping Tools

Here are some examples of feelings that you might experience during the grieving process, along with potential coping tools for each:


 Journaling, using a weighted blanket


 Talking kindly to yourself, calling a friend


 Focusing on the present, volunteering


 Exercising, meditating


 Punching a pillow, holding ice


 Writing a letter, coloring


 Using essential oils, taking a bath


 Getting outside, seeing friends


 Eating healthily, drinking water, taking a nap


 Taking a shower, gratitude journaling


 Building something, crafting

Remember, these are just examples. The coping tools that work for you might be different. The key is finding activities that soothe you and help you navigate your grief.

Grief can be a challenging journey, but it's important to remember that you are not alone. There are numerous resources and support networks available to help you through this difficult time. By building your emotional toolbox, you're taking an active role in your healing process, empowering yourself to cope with the waves of grief healthily and constructively. If you are ready to get some one on one help with your grief, click the link here to schedule a one on one session with a therapist in California.

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