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In this issue: Grief, Loss, and Healing, Help for Moods and Mental Health During the Pandemic, July Mental Health Tip

Grief, Loss and Healing


We are surrounded by traumatic events and alarming news.  Everywhere we look we see news about social unrest, racism in our nation, and the unprecedented impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.  These have caused anxiety, fear, anger and sadness. How can we help ourselves and others move towards healing?
First, we must acknowledge our pain and loss.  As individuals and as a collective community, it seems easier to go on as if nothing happened.  It takes real courage to identify and express how we are impacted!  Start by talking about what has happened.  Honesty is required.  You cannot begin to heal from something that never happened or did not hurt you. What pain and losses are you coping with? Right now, we are coping with many kinds of losses: the loss of income, loss of social support, loss of stability, loss of our ability to do our daily activities and the sense of predictability that came with it.  Being a party to traumatic events, such as the death of George Floyd and too many others like him, also causes pain. 

Once we have been able to speak honestly about the pain and losses in our lives, we must then take time to grieve.  What does grieving look like?  In 1969, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced what became known as the “five stages of grief:”
  • Denial: “This can’t be happening to me.”
  • Anger:Why is this happening? Who is to blame?”
  • Bargaining: “Make this not happen, and in return I will ____.”
  • Depression: “I’m too sad to do anything.”
  • Acceptance: “I’m at peace with what happened.”
These stages help us understand our experience after loss, but grief is not so neat and orderly.  You may go back and forth between these or skip a stage entirely.  All in all, grieving is about experiencing our feelings rather than denying, ignoring or keeping them stuffed inside.  Where are you in the grief process?  What could you do today to make space for your emotions?
Lastly, we move toward healing by finding ways to deal with our experiences.  This is largely an action step.  What needs to happen for you to move forward?  Maybe that means taking an active role in fighting racism.  Maybe that means confronting someone who has abused you.  Maybe it means embracing a relationship with God.  Perhaps it is something subtle like spending more time with family, taking a more relaxed pace in life or using your creative talents.  

Wherever you find yourself in this healing process, know that we move toward healing together.  Above all seek out supportive relationships with people who want to see you thrive!  Should you need professional support, we are ready to meet you:
With Thanks, 

Stacie Dowler Silvas
Thrive Executive Director
"This is what our Scriptures come to teach: in everything, in every circumstance, do to others as you would have them do to you."
Matthew 7:12 The Voice

Help for Moods and Mental Health 
During the Pandemic

During this Pandemic are you having periods where your mood feels up, down, and sometimes out of control?  Are you feeling worried, overwhelmed, isolated and at times panicked? You are not alone!  A lot of people are struggling with mood swings, feeling helpless and afraid that they or their loved ones might even die.  What can we do during these uncertain times to deal with this kind of overwhelming stress?  What will help us calm down and put all these stressors into perspective?  

First, we need to regain a sense of control instead of feeling like we are being controlled by the situation. Focus on what we can control, like washing our hands frequently, following social distance guidelines and wearing protective masks and gloves.  We are also in control of how we respond to stress.  Remember to use healthy stress-busters:
  • Call a friend, stay connected with others. 
  • Keep a diary or journal.
  • Listen to your favorite music.
  • Read a good book.
  • Find things that make you laugh.
  • Get your mind off yourself. Don’t dwell on thoughts of failures and resentments. 
  • Be kind and volunteer to support others in your neighborhood.
  • Remind yourself this situation and your mood are not permanent.    
If we stay focused on the things we have control over it will help us build resilience over time, and we will be less likely to lose our cool.  
There are plenty of things we can’t control.  Focusing on these things can lead to those feelings of helplessness.  Instead try to stay in the present.  If you need to plan, make short term goals that you know you can complete.  When struggling with what others do to scare, anger or bother you bring your attention back to the present moment with your breath.  Breathe deeply, notice how your body feels, and become aware of everything you see and hear. Redirect your thoughts to the things you can control.  

We can also lean into faith and prayer to help us find peace and perspective.  A popular prayer asks for help in separating the things we can control from things we have no control over.  The “Serenity Prayer,” written by Reinhold Niebuhr is commonly quoted as: 
 "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference." 
We often need help in perceiving what can be changed and what cannot.  What things can be changed?  Ask God to build your courage to act! What things in your life right now cannot be changed? Ask God to help you accept these things.

If you know that you have existing mental health issues like Depression or Anxiety, here are a few other things to keep in mind.  Natalie Healey and Dr. Sarah Jarvis have reported that social isolation can reignite a sense of being trapped and bring back traumatic memories.  It is important to find ways to feel safe, stable and secure. Allow yourself to do things that soothe the senses like taking a warm bath, using fragrant scents, getting outside and letting the warmth of the sun relax you.  It is also important to take care of your physical body: exercise, eat healthy and keep sleep patterns as consistent as possible.  Avoid heavy substance use.  If you drink alcohol, try to limit yourself to one alcoholic drink a day, especially when things are stressful. You may find that exercise outside, gardening or other outdoor activities help with your mood. If you have a prescribed medication for depression or anxiety, make sure you take it as prescribed and stay in touch with your doctor regularly.   

Finally, when should you be concerned about mood swings? There is no need for alarm if you experience some mood swings.  It’s when mood goes down and stays down that you should ask for help and actively find ways lift your spirits. 

By Cherie Thompson, LPC-S, LCDC, LMSW
The Serenity Prayer Song. 
Check this out for a tangible way to use the Serenity Prayer!
July Mental Health Tip: 

Gratitude can help alleviate depression!

Try one of these ideas to practice more gratitude in your life:

1) Gratitude visit – Deliver a letter of gratitude in writing or email to a person you are grateful to.

2) Three good things - Write down three things that went well for you this week and why.  

3) Keep a prayer journal - Note how you see God answer prayers or be present in your life. Write about moments this week where something negative led to something positive.

4) Counting kindness - Count and report the acts of kindness you offer and/or receive every day. 
Special thanks to Jennifer Grauberger, Beauty Counter Consultant, for donating a percentage of her business profits to Thrive in June!  You can find Jennifer here: or here

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