Alternative grief therapies are helping people heal after loss

Healing from grief is a different path for everyone. The truth is that grief affects us all in different ways, and the strategies to help us overcome that grief can be vastly different from person to person. Some might get healing from meditation or expressing themselves through art. Others just want to laugh away their pain. There are no wrong answers when it comes to dealing with the loss of someone special, so here are some alternative grief therapies that might appeal to you. Remember, everyone grieves differently, and that’s OK.

#1: Art therapy

Art has long been regarded as a way for us to express ourselves through creative mediums. From young children who are still developing their emotional intelligence to adults who need an outlet for their grief, art therapy can be a wonderful form of therapy that helps manage your emotional and mental wellbeing.

Art therapy isn’t just about the visual arts like painting and drawing. Dance, drama and other physical movements are all part of it – and they can be particularly helpful for those who find it difficult to verbalise their grief.

#2: Meditation

The truth is that no matter how much you may prepare for the loss of a loved one, you can’t always predict how you will react in the moment. Thoughts, feelings and sensations may seem out of your control, which is why an alternative therapy like mediation can be so helpful.

It’s not an instant solution to grief and loss, but meditation can act as a daily ritual to help you mentally process your thoughts and feelings, and learn to be at peace with what has happened. The best part about meditation is that you don’t have to seek out a meditation group or formal study program if you don’t want to – there are lots of free apps that can get you started and walk you through the process. Check your favourite app store and see what meditation apps you find available. 

#3: Walking therapy

There’s much to be said for getting out into the great outdoors – no matter the circumstances. When people feel stressed, they run. When people are agitated, they go for a long walk. And when people are experiencing loss or grief, getting out for a nature walk or even a light jog can help jump-start your body’s natural pain-fighting chemicals.

In fact, some people are even taking to the outdoors with their therapists. Being outside in the fresh air, pushing your body forward and simply taking in the world around you can help your brain process your emotions and put things into perspective.

#4: Laughter yoga

It might sound strange, but sometimes the most unlikely emotional reversal can have the greatest impact. Laughter yoga is one alternative grief therapy that is taking hold around the world. It’s a practice that involves specific movements and breathing patterns designed to induce deliberate laughter.

The old saying that laughter is contagious certainly rings true here, and there are many proponents of laughter yoga – even for grief and loss – that believe in its power to heal.

#5: Apps for grief and loss

Many people prefer to internalise their struggles with grief, so reaching out to a therapist or engaging in alternative grief therapies with other people may not be possible.

Thankfully there are a number of apps to help people at different stages of dealing with loss. There are apps for adults who’ve lost their partners, for young people who’ve lost family members, for parents who’ve lost children, as well as broader apps that bring individuals together in a safe and supportive community.

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