Ushering In Solace With Affirmations
While navigating the often painful experiences of grief and mourning, many people find
themselves searching for solace or ways to set down the heaviness of their grief, if even just for a moment. They may ask themselves, others, or look online for things they can do to manage the suffering of their grief. While we know that there is no “fix-it” solution to lessen the magnitude of this pain and that true healing comes, in part, from feeling your feelings, there are things we can do to nurture ourselves through our grief and mourning journey as well as ways to take a break from the pain.
Your grief is unique to you and you are likely to find that there are certain ways of coping that
speak to your soul and bring comfort, and other ways of coping that may not be the best fit at any particular time. Because the things that bring comfort can often change from one season to another, do consider trying new coping strategies with an open mind and heart to find which strategies work for you at any given time.
One idea that may bring peace to your life is the incorporation of positive affirmations. The website PositivePsychology defines positive affirmations as: “positive phrases or statements used to challenge negative or unhelpful thoughts“. These are short phrases that should be repeated often and can be tailored to be as unique as your own grief process is. While the use of positive affirmations will not “fix” what feels broken or take away the pain of grief, affirming yourself can bring hopefulness and even a sense of lightness, which could help provide a reprieve from the heaviness of your grief.
A few tips to writing and utilizing affirmations include:
Write your affirmations using "I" statements in the present tense (for example: I want…I do… I will…I am…). They should be believable and realistic, and rather than focusing on negatives, use positive language to affirm what you DO want or desire for yourself. For example, instead of writing an affirmation like, "I don't want to feel this pain", reframe this desire for yourself into something such as, "I am being gentle with myself as I grieve and I believe that the pain in my heart will soften", "I will give myself time and space to feel all my feelings", “I will remember that each feeling is temporary”, or “I trust that this too shall pass”.
Show yourself grace if affirmations do not immediately come to mind. As we are grieving our minds are not as sharp as they were before our loved one died. Please be patient with and kind to yourself if you find yourself struggling to find the words to write your own affirmation(s). If you're interested in adding positive affirmations to your life and are struggling to come up with some on your own, consider brainstorming with a trusted friend, family member, or counselor. You may also find the internet an inspiring place to get some ideas.
Once you have an affirmation(s) in mind, consider how you would like to incorporate them in to your day-to-day routine. Keep in mind: positive affirmations have the most benefit and long-term effects when they are a consistent part of your routine. Perhaps you could write your affirmation(s) on a sticky note and put it somewhere you see regularly – like the bathroom mirror or on the fridge. Maybe you'd like to keep it on a note card near your bed, so that you can see and repeat your affirmation every day when you wake and as you go to bed. Some folks practice repeating their affirmations, aloud or in their mind, while doing something that is already an established part of their day such as brushing their teeth or getting their coffee.
As with any changes to our habits and routine, it can be a process of trial and error to find
the right combination of positive affirmations and routine that work for you. Try to
embrace the process with kindness towards yourself, give yourself room for error, and
know that you can and should try out as many different phrases as you need until you
find the ones that speak the language of your heart and your grief.