Navigating Grief: Unveiling Insights from Trauma Therapy for Healing During the Holidays and Beyond

 / 

Grief, a formidable companion to loss, often surfaces with both psychological and physical consequences. Meghan Riordan Jarvis, a trauma therapist based in Washington, DC, specializing in grief and loss, unveils insights from trauma therapy and the complexities of grief during the holiday season and beyond.

With a unique blend of professional expertise and personal experience, Jarvis offers insights from her new book, “End of the Hour: A Therapist’s Memoir,” where she shares her journey through complex post-traumatic stress disorder following her mother’s sudden death.

Insights from Trauma Therapy For Healing

The holiday season, traditionally hailed as “the most wonderful time of the year,” can become a minefield of emotions for those grappling with grief. Jarvis emphasizes the role of expectations versus reality, highlighting the stress and grief-laden nature of the holidays for many individuals.

Attempting to sidestep grief triggers through avoidance strategies proves futile, as Jarvis argues that memories are ingrained within us, constantly resurfacing in response to stimuli in the present moment.

Triggers, as explained by Jarvis, are stimuli that pull individuals back into memories, an automatic process of the nervous system. In an attempt to avoid pain, people may employ avoidance strategies such as online shopping, overcommitting to engagements, or even planning getaways.

However, Jarvis cautions against these attempts, asserting that there is no outrunning the profound emotions associated with grief.

Anticipation, according to Jarvis, compounds the challenges of grieving during the holidays. Clients often express concerns about navigating the day with the least amount of pain possible. Jarvis encourages embracing the day without judgment, acknowledging that feelings about the holidays will evolve over time.

To cope with grief, Jarvis recommends personalized coping strategies, urging individuals to find “sad holiday buddies” — trusted friends or confidants to share waves of grief with. Compassion for oneself during the grieving process is crucial, and Jarvis suggests writing down one’s story and responding to it as a caring friend would.

One aspect that Jarvis explores is the physical manifestation of grief. Drawing from her personal experience, she details the intensity of physical symptoms, such as disrupted sleep, cognitive fog, and unexpected health issues.

By understanding the body’s responses to grief triggers, individuals can gain critical insights into coping strategies that help regulate the nervous system.

Jarvis introduces a practice to increase awareness of the body’s reactions to grief triggers. This involves setting a timer for seven minutes, closing one’s eyes, and imagining magnetic paint being poured over the body. The areas where the paint collects indicate where energy is stored, prompting individuals to explore the nature of that energy and its impact on their well-being.

Acknowledging the various states of grief — fight, flight, freeze, and collapse — Jarvis delineates specific coping strategies for each. She underscores the importance of disrupting the process when in states of freeze or collapse, emphasizing meeting the nervous system where it is.

Disruption, according to Jarvis, involves engaging with the body’s activation and soothing sides. Different practices, such as movement, yin yoga, or sensory exercises like the “54321” mindfulness exercise, can aid in resetting the central nervous system and calming the limbic system.

In a society that often underplays the physical aspects of grief, Jarvis advocates for a comprehensive understanding of how the body experiences loss. She draws parallels with educating individuals about puberty and suggests that a similar approach is needed to prepare people for the inevitable and universal experience of loss.

As grief continues to be an integral part of the human experience, Jarvis’s insights from trauma therapy offer a roadmap for navigating the complexities of loss. By embracing the physical and psychological dimensions of grief, individuals can embark on a journey of healing that goes beyond mere survival.


Ads

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Up Next

Finding Hope: Woman’s Misdiagnosed Anxiety Leads to Discovery of Rare Brain Condition

Evie Meg, a 23-year-old from England, recently uncovered a shocking truth about her health after years of misdiagnosis. Initially told by doctors that her symptoms were merely manifestations of anxiety, Meg eventually learned that she suffers from a rare brain condition – Tourette’s syndrome, seizures, and autoimmune basal and ganglia encephalitis – a severe form of brain inflammation.

This revelation came after she received a message from a follower on TikTok suggesting that her symptoms aligned with encephalitis. Subsequent diagnosis confirmed the rare condition, marking the end of a long and tumultuous journey to proper medical understanding.

Up Next

5 Misguided Coping Strategies Exacerbating Anxiety, As Per The Expert

In the realm of mental health, understanding effective coping mechanisms is paramount for individuals grappling with anxiety. Yet, recent insights from anxiety therapist Joshua Fletcher shed light on five misguided coping strategies purported to alleviate anxiety that may inadvertently exacerbate the condition.

Anxiety, characterized by persistent feelings of worry and unease, often prompts individuals to adopt coping mechanisms aimed at quelling discomfort. However, Fletcher’s observations challenge conventional wisdom, suggesting that certain everyday habits might inadvertently fuel anxiety rather than assuage it.

5 Misguided Coping Strategies That Causes Anxiety

Up Next

Therapists Recognize Rising Climate Anxiety Cases, Offer Strategies for Coping

In an era increasingly defined by environmental concerns, therapists are grappling with a surge in clients reporting anxiety related to climate change. As individuals confront the existential threat posed by global warming, mental health professionals are exploring new approaches to address this unique form of anxiety.

Caroline Hickman, a psychotherapist, highlights the distinct nature of climate anxiety, emphasizing that traditional methods for treating anxiety may not suffice. Unlike fears of more tangible dangers, such as dogs, climate anxiety stems from an overwhelming sense of powerlessness in the face of a global crisis.

Hickman’s research reveals the profound impact of climate anxiety on individuals, particularly children and young adults. Those affected often experience alienation, distress about the future, and intrusive thoughts about survival. So

Up Next

Columbia Psychology Professor Advocates That Gen Z Workers Should Normalize Stress and Anxiety

In a rapidly evolving workplace landscape, discussions surrounding mental health have gained significant traction, particularly among younger generations. Kathleen Pike, a psychology professor at Columbia University and president and CEO of One Mind at Work, asserts that Gen Z workers should embrace stress and anxiety as normal aspects of life rather than signs of mental illness.

Pike’s perspective comes amidst growing concerns about the mental well-being of Gen Z employees, who seem to be grappling with stress and anxiety at work at higher rates than previous generations. However, she emphasizes the importance of distinguishing between normal emotional experiences and indicators of mental health disorders.

According to Pike, the increased openness among Gen Z regarding ment

Up Next

Navigating the January Drag: The Psychological Lengthening of the First Month

January, the inaugural month of the year, is often labeled as the longest and dreariest. While it shares the same number of days as six other months, there’s a collective sentiment that January feels interminable.

As people engage in social media banter and cultural commiseration, the question arises: Why has January become synonymous with a seemingly eternal duration?

Psychological Reason Behind January Drag

Post-Holiday Letdown:Clinical psychologist Chloe Carmicha

Up Next

Grammy-Winning Artist Common Unveils Mental Wellness Journey and Guide to Self-Care

Rapper, actor, and activist Common, born Lonnie Rashid Lynn, unveils the transformative impact of therapy on his mental health and well-being in an exclusive interview with Yahoo Life. Common unveils his mental wellness journey, and delves into his personal experience dealing with heartbreak, highlighting the pivotal role therapy played in his life over the past two decades.

The acclaimed musician recalls the moment when his mental health journey began, revealing, “I was dealing with a heartbreak. I really was down. I wasn’t eating like I normally would.

I just didn’t see any way out of the tunnel.” It was during this challenging period that his acting coach recommended a therapist specializ

Up Next

Revolutionizing Mental Well-being: Dr. Neerja Agarwal Unveils the Power of Bedtime Rituals in Recent Interview

In a recent exclusive interview, Dr. Neerja Agarwal, Co-founder of Emoneeds and a distinguished psychologist holding a Ph.D. in psychology, delved into the critical role of bedtime rituals in shaping mental health.

As a seasoned expert, Dr. Agarwal emphasized the profound impact of sleep on overall well-being, underscoring the prevalence of sleep-related issues in the Indian population and positioning India as the second most under-slept country globally, following Japan.

The Significance of Bedtime Rituals