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IS IT STRESS … OR IS IT GRIEF?

Updated on September 23, 2012

Stress is already recognized as one of the most common and destructive emotions in American life. Each and every day we find more people suffering from the effects of stress.

Sometimes the complaint is purely emotional as in “I just can’t seem to be happy”. Others are suffering from physical complaints such as headaches, loss of sleep or even pain. In all cases, help is available.

With that bold statement, maybe it would be wise to examine “stress” and find out if we are really helping in the most appropriate way. Stress is real. Hypnosis is a nearly perfect modality to empower the client to relieve stress. Would hypnosis be even more effective if we had more information about the stress? Absolutely!

Too often, we tend to make assumptions about the stress client. We expect them to fit into the common mold of life’s everyday stress … job, family, bills, health, etc. For many of those wise people who seek our help, the assumptions are adequate. But, what if we look just a little deeper? What if we ask more questions? What if we expand the intake process to include a few more of the influences in that person’s life? What if we find out that the root cause of the apparent stress is grief? Would that …should that change how we do what we do?

First, maybe we should define grief. We all understand what we call primary grief … the death of someone near and dear in our life. But is that the only type of grief? Definitely not. We humans can also grieve over the loss of a marriage, relationship, job, friendship or a pet. You might be faced with a 35 year old client who is, at some level, still grieving the divorce of her parents many years earlier. Is that grief? Yes, all of these things represent a loss and can trigger a grief response. Allowing the client to address the grief is going to help far more than just addressing the stress symptoms.

As our society has become more prosperous and lifestyles have changed so has our view of death and dying. For most of the history of this country we have had a unified nuclear family. Several generations would live together under one roof or in adjoining houses. People got old and died in their own bed with the family gathered around. Death was normal. Nobody reached adulthood without witnessing the death of a loved one first hand. We understood it. We accepted it. We grieved appropriately and we moved on.

Fast forward to the 21 century. Most adults have NEVER seen a dead person. Death is not thought of as normal. Dying is something you do alone in a hospital and your family has no tools to handle this loss. Some people simply never get over the grief on their own.

If you have ever had the honor of being with someone close to you as they transitioned from this life to the next, you might have noticed an amazing change. The dying, after going through the different stages of grief, come to a peace and clarity. As they realize they have done and said everything they are able to … when they have said their goodbyes … there is acceptance of the miracle they are entering. The transition is made even easier with the help and guidance of someone like you, or even better, a loving family member you have counseled.

Many people, on their death bed, are concerned with the small things. “Does my wife know where to find the will? Did I remember to tell my brother I love him? Have I seen everybody I can?” Even some things that seem ridiculous like “do I have anything at the cleaners?” At some point it can be very helpful to let them know that they are done. The details are taken care of. They have finished their obligations. It is okay to let go and move on to the next place. This is where the miracle occurs. As you watch the peace come over their face and the last breath is exhaled, you know you have done a good thing. You have eased the transition …you have aided the miracle. Using just a few simple tools you already possess, you can help to make the whole experience a part of the miracle.

Most of us have seen or at least heard of the movie “Bucket List”. The really big list of all of the things you want to do before you die.

The truth is, those really big things just don’t matter. The things that do matter are more of a teacup list. In realty, and in the end, the things that really matter are the small things. With that in mind, you might find it helpful to make a list of your own. Not the big things. Not the mountains you want to climb or the skydiving adventures. We are talking about a time in your life when it is too late to climb mountains. This is that other list. Did I make up with my sister? Does my son know I love him? Does my family know how to handle the life insurance? Can my spouse, who has never done it before, pay the bills?

It is those simple, everyday things that will allow you to greet your miracle and make your transition smoothly. Taking care of the small things on a day to day basis, you are free to enjoy your last weeks, days, hours and minutes in this life.

Keeping those thoughts in mind you can start to see how you are already able to help others prepare for grief or deal with the grief they are already carrying. By going through the list of smaller things, not only can you help a client prepare for a future grief situation, you can also use these tools to guide in the release of grieving from the past.

Many of the things you can do on a daily basis, such as emotional release, already help. Addressing grief as a separate issue, putting a name on it, just takes you to the next level. You will soon realize that by taking that one extra step, your value increases more than you might have imagined. You have given them something they could find nowhere else … we can help.

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