Suzanne Farkas, MFA, MSW, LCSW Montclair, NJ
There is no right way to grieve. The experience is as unique as the individual who is facing it. He or she may feel sadness, fear, anger, ambivalence, guilt, even relief—in any order: There is no timeline. Death is not the only loss we grieve. Leaving a job, moving to a new home, transitioning to an empty nest, and even losing faith in or questioning long-held spiritual beliefs can trigger significant grief. Ambiguous loss may occur when a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or found to be on the autism spectrum, or in response to a divorce, adoption, or addiction. Traumatic events surrounding loss may make the grieving process particularly difficult. But grief is a normal response. If you feel like you are stuck in grief or can’t move on, there are ways to help.
Anxiety?! Stress?! Panic?! Fear?! These are all physiological responses — which means they can be reduced and often ameliorated completely. Having a clear understanding of why and how your body reacts; how to change that reaction; and finally, changing the perception you have of those “triggers” can leave you calm and free of stress. (Note: Although my approach considers medication treatment as a last resort for anxiety disorders, it is often necessary in combination with our work.)
Can’t get motivated? Then don’t. Needing to be motivated in order to make changes or follow through with tasks can set you up for failure. If you want to start exercising, lose weight, find a new job, or write that best seller, but believe you can't because you are not motivated, you may be putting the cart before the horse. Often behavior can create motivation, and motivation and “self-sabotaging behavior” may be the flip sides of the same coin. Finding ways to create a new core belief about yourself can be an effective way to reach your goals.