This relaxation script is for dealing with grief and loss. This guided relaxation will help to normalize the grief experience and explain the stages of grief.
Begin by finding a relaxed position, sitting or lying down. Set aside a few minutes to relax.
But first, I would like to talk a bit about the different types of losses.
Grief can result from a variety of types of losses. Some kinds of losses are well-recognized, for example, death of a loved one, divorce, or loss of a job. Other types of losses can be just as difficult to deal with but may be less well understood. Losses may include loss of a pet, relocation, changing jobs, infertility, illness, or any other event that changes life plans.
Loss can be experienced with both negative and positive events. An event may be positive overall (for example, getting promotion at work that you were hoping for), but still be associated with loss. Loss of what is familiar, loss of the old way of living…any sort of change can be associated with feelings of loss.
Perhaps you are dealing with a change that is reasonably positive, and your grief is relatively simple to deal with. Maybe you are coping with a significant loss, and are going through a challenging grief process. Or maybe you have experienced a huge loss that has profoundly changed your life, and are having difficulty dealing with grief.
Whatever your situation, your grief is real, and your loss is important.
Though you need time in solitude to come to terms with the loss you have experienced, it is also important to accept support from others. Reach out to someone who can offer you support. You might want to call a friend, even if you haven’t spoken in a while. It’s okay to ask for what you need. Often people do not know how to support you, and they feel relieved if you ask for something specific. Ask for help! Even if it is just calling a friend and asking to eat a meal together…any small act of support can help you to feel less alone. You may also find it therapeutic to journal your grief.
Before thinking about your loss and beginning the process of dealing with grief, let’s start by relaxing. Close your eyes, and just sit or lie quietly. You do not need to do anything in particular.
Take a deep breath, and as you breathe out, feel your body sinking into the surface you are on.
Breathe slowly in…and out…
Keep breathing slowly and calmly, letting your breathing relax you.
Imagine that your body is a fleece blanket. Imagine that the blanket is dipped into warm water. Imagine how it would feel to be floating, suspended in the warm water…gentle waves moving your body…
Now picture being lifted out of the water…the heaviness of the water stretching the blanket…stretching your body…so you are very tall.
Imagine that the blanket is placed on a warm concrete surface in the sun. Imagine how it would feel to be this blanket…so warm and heavy…completely limp…
Steam rises from your body, warmed from beneath by the warm concrete, and warmed from above by the sun. Imagine how it would feel to be this damp blanket, and have the water slowly evaporating…becoming lighter and lighter…steam rising…carrying the water away….
Feel your whole body becoming lighter…relaxed…totally limp…
Let your body become completely relaxed…so calm…so serene…
Now that you are starting to feel more relaxed, let’s focus on dealing with grief.
Dealing with grief is very tiring. You may have been feeling tired, stressed, and burned out lately…and this may be caused by the grief process. It is normal to be short-tempered and have problems with memory and concentration.
These symptoms of dealing with grief can be troubling, but they are normal…and they will go away. You will gradually get back to feeling like yourself. Right now you are healing.
The process of dealing with grief is similar to the process of recovering from a physical injury. When a physical injury occurs, the body needs time to heal and recover. Dealing with grief is no different. The mind needs time to recover and heal. You need the time to cope, and deal with grief. Be kind to yourself, and give yourself this needed time.
Sometimes people who are dealing with grief feel like they are going crazy. You are not going crazy. What you are going through is normal and natural.
There are several stages of grief, and it is normal to experience these stages…many of them more than once…in no particular order.
It is normal to experience numbness, a time where you do not feel very much at all. This does not mean that you are insensitive or that you do not care, rather, it is the mind’s way of protecting you and a normal way of processing a traumatic experience such as a loss. Numbness and shock are a normal reaction to loss.
Another stage you may experience is anger. You may find that you are angry, frustrated, upset…it is okay to be angry when you lose something that is important to you…angry toward the person or thing you lost, angry at the world, at God, at the causes of your loss…you may even feel angry toward others who have not been through what you have. Not all of the anger is rational, and that is because you are grieving. People who are dealing with grief do not always think rationally. Your thinking will become more clear as you cope with grief. The passage of time will help to decrease the irrational thoughts and the extreme anger.
You will probably go through a stage of questioning, wondering why…trying to get answers. It can be hard to understand why losses happen. As part of the process of dealing with grief, you may seek answers as to why the loss happened, and try to make sense of what has occurred. You may find yourself bargaining, trying to make deals with others, with yourself, or with God, to try to make things go back to the way they were before the loss happened. Questioning and bargaining are normal parts of dealing with grief.
Another stage in dealing with grief is a stage of loneliness and sadness. This is a time of low energy, feeling slowed down, sad…maybe even depressed. During this time it is hard to focus and concentrate. You experience memory problems…sometimes feel confused…distracted…have difficulty sleeping…like you are not yourself. It’s normal to feel this way because you are grieving. It is okay to feel sad and upset when you experience loss. These feelings can be very intense and painful. While you are getting through this pain, remember that it will gradually decrease as you heal. Even though it may feel like the sadness will go on and on, you will not feel this way forever.
Acceptance is another stage of grief. During this stage you begin to re-create a new life in the aftermath of the loss. You begin to accept that things have changed. Your life is different…maybe not better…maybe not worse…just different. Acceptance is the act of coming to the realization that the loss has occurred, but you can move on.
It is normal to proceed through the stages of grief in a non-linear order. For example, you may experience acceptance, and then return again to anger. It’s okay to be wherever you are at. It is okay to ask questions and to feel upset. You have the right to grieve.
You can get through this.
You will feel better, and you will make a new life. Your new life may be different than the life you had planned, but you cannot always plan for losses.
It’s okay to experience a variety of emotions. It is okay to be angry. It is okay to be sad. It is okay to feel relief…and you still do care even if you feel relieved in some ways. It is okay to feel guilty. It is okay to feel impatient, to get upset at things that seem small and insignificant. You’re going through a hard time, and a confusing mix of feelings is completely normal. This is the human experience of grief.
You are coping…you are dealing with grief…and you will come out the other side stronger.
You did not deserve this loss. It is not your fault. You are dealing with a situation that is challenging…difficult…perhaps devastating…and you cannot be expected to be over this immediately.
There may not be any reason why things happened this way. Many of the things that happen in life do not make sense. You can grow and become stronger as a result of these challenges, even though there is no good explanation as to why you had to go through such difficult times.
Even after you have dealt with the grief, you will have times where you feel like you are right back where you started. This is normal.
Everyone has their own way of going through the process of dealing with grief. You do not need to grieve in a particular way. Do whatever is right for you. You can cry…or not. Be more busy…or less busy. Grieve in your own way.
Though you need time in solitude to come to terms with the loss you have experienced, it is also important to accept support from others. Reach out to someone who can offer you support. You might want to call a friend, even if you haven’t spoken in a while. It’s okay to ask for what you need. Often people do not know how to support you, and they feel relieved if you ask for something specific. Ask for help! Even if it is just calling a friend and asking to eat a meal together…any small act of support can help you to feel less alone.
You may even want to seek out others who are dealing with grief, to find support from people who can relate to what you are going through. You can find support groups in the community or on the internet.
Allow yourself the time you need to grieve.
Take good care of yourself. Eat well. Get exercise. Try to keep a regular sleep-wake schedule. You need the strength.
Now if you want to, you can take a moment just to be with the feelings you have…just to allow the grief, face the emotions, and accept that you are grieving. I’ll pause for one minute, and during this time you may choose to just relax and breathe deeply, or you might decide to just go with the emotions you have, and experience the grief.
Do whatever feels right for you right now. If you need more time, go ahead and pause this audio, and resume whenever you are ready.
Let’s conclude this exercise with some relaxation, to allow you to get a break from the grief you are going through.
Focus on your breathing for a few moments…breathing slowly in…and out…
Create a picture in your mind, imagining a peaceful place where you have no worries. You may picture a comfortable room…quiet…peaceful…
Imagine that the room is warm…and has a comfortable place to sit or lie down where you can relax. Imagine sitting or lying down…maybe on a pile of soft pillows…releasing all your worries with a sigh.
In this room, you have no cares…no worries…no problems…nothing to worry about or think about at all.
This is a place where you can completely relax…you can take a break here…even just for a few moments…to get away from all of the stress and tension.
Picture this room in your mind. What does the room look like? Create a detailed image of this room in your mind…so comfortable…complete serenity…
You can return to this room in your imagination when you need a break…whenever you need to relax.
Whenever things get difficult and you just need a rest, you can picture this room in your mind.
Now it’s time to conclude this relaxation exercise.
You may want to re-awaken or drift off to sleep. I’ll count now from five to one. If you decide to wake up, let yourself become more and more awake with each number, until at one you are fully awake and alert. If you decide to sleep, become sleepier with each number, until at one you are deeply asleep.