Understand what grief is and how it works


By Pierre Milot

Grief is painful and at times the pain seems unbearable. It is a period when mixed emotions come and go, often without warning. How long this difficult period lasts depends on the relationship with the deceased, the circumstances of the death and the situation of the survivors. There is no precise timeline for the grieving period; it can last weeks, months and even years, but one thing is certain: it eases over time. In order to escape, some people may be tempted to deny the pain. But studies show that denial does not help to get over the loss in the long run. Repressed painful emotions can turn up in unrecognized and destructive ways. Understanding the emotions of grief, its feelings and symptoms is an important step in healing and in helping other grievers. According to experts, when grieving is done properly there is growth and maturity

Normalize your grief: grief reactions are a normal part of the human behavioral repertoire and will occur whenever attachment bonds are broken or threatened.
Seek for spiritual support in your local community.
Join bereavement support groups.
Express your emotional pain: anger, fear, pain, sadness, guilt, shame.
Shop with friends; join a gym or a social club.
Practice breathing and relaxation techniques.

The Rhythmic Breath

Without crossing your legs, sit down comfortably on a chair, hold your back straight and let your hands rest on your thighs.

Close your eyes and direct your thoughts onto the air that is coming in and out of your lungs while directing the breath towards the top of your nose in the olfactory zone.
Now, start breathing slowly while counting from one to three. Then, hold the air in your lungs while you count another time up to three.

Once this is done, breathe out slowly while counting up to three again, then extend your breath to force out the air left in your lungs. In order to accomplish this, contract your stomach muscles to crush the diaphragm, then start breathing again up to three, and start once more from the beginning. At first, start with 3 to 5 minute sessions and increase the length gradually to reach 15 to 20 minute sessions at a time.


Specifically recommended to counter the negative effects of stress and burnout, this exercise deeply affects the nervous system. It brings about a hyper-oxygenation of the blood and a momentary CO2 reduction, which has the effect of calming the respiratory centers. These centers, in return, relax the nervous system, thus creating an incomparable energizing effect.

Kapalabhati favors the oxygenation of the brain, stimulates endorphin production (the feel-good hormone) in the brain, restoring vital energy. Its effects constitute inestimable benefits for nervous, stressed or burned-out people.

This exercise is harmless because the arterial pressure always remains within normal physiological limits. Nevertheless, it is not recommended for people suffering from serious pulmonary or cardiac conditions. Kapalabhati consists of forced, brief expulsion of air, each time followed by a passive air intake. Contrary to normal breathing where the inhalation is active and exhalation passive, the opposite occurs in this instance. The exercise can be performed standing up; however, it is the kneeling position which is the most comfortable. The spine must be erect while the head is well balanced. The chest must remain as immobile as possible throughout the exercise. The abdominal girth, which comprises the muscles in the sub-navel area, is the motor of the exercise. Thus, kneel down and sit on your heels (sitting in a chair is also acceptable, if you have a problem with your knees), with both hands resting on your thighs.

Straighten the spine, expand your torso, and concentrate on your abdomen. Now, release the abdominal girth until your belly hangs out and then contract it suddenly while exhaling abruptly through your nose (or through your open mouth if there is a problem with your nose). This contraction will cause a sharp expulsion of air from your lungs. Release the abdominal girth immediately, until your belly hangs out once again, while a certain quantity of air passively and silently enters through your nose and lungs. The complete exercise consists of a succession of abrupt and brief expulsions of air, followed by passive inhalations.

In this exercise, it is the sub-navel girth area that is the most active. Remember that the most important factor is the vigor of the exhalation, not the quantity of the air inhaled.

The speed must be increased very progressively. At the beginning, the rhythm is increased in order to reach 60 expulsions per minute. When the exercise is well mastered, 10 expulsions per minute are added until a maximum of 120 expulsions per minute is reached. The expulsion must last at least 3 times longer than the inhalation. Three series of 120 expulsions per minute is a goal to be reached with a rest period in between.

Dr Milot is a therapeutic counselor who specializes in stress, grief and end-of-life management. He is also to date the only certified ‘Guided Afterlife Connections’ facilitator in Canada. In his new book, Rising from the Ashes of Loss: My Voyage Through Grief, the reader will follow Dr Milo into the depths of his deep grief as he descend into darkness after the loss of his sick wife and back up again through his successful rise from the ashes of loss.

Dr Milot has published four books in French and numerous magazine articles on parapsychology and health-related matters. He also recently released a self-help book on stress management entitled: Power Up Your Life & Make Stress Work 4 You. The book is a condensed version of his popular stress management program. Dr Milot has been teaching this program successfully for many years in private practice and through workshops and seminars.

Author Website: http://www.shareyourpain-grievingsuccessfully.com/
Rising from the Ashes of Loss: My Voyage Through Grief is published by Ayni Books, ISBN: 978-1-78535-151-8 (Paperback) £12.99 $20.95