Saturday Morning Message: Easing Anxiety and Stress
Author: Carol Lane
Stress and anxiety are emotions felt by grieving people. This week, survivors share ideas on what brings them comfort when these emotions come over them. Hugs help me the most, so I’m sharing a picture of two survivors giving each other a wonderful hug. It is also the reason I sign most of my TAPS correspondence with the word “Hugs.” Please feel that I am hugging you across the miles. I hope you will find some helpful ideas in this message.
Remember, you can write to me anytime — to contribute, subscribe or if you have thoughts on what could make the Saturday Morning Message more helpful. I look forward to hearing from you. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mother of Bryon
Answers from Survivors
Responses from Survivors to last week's question: What do you do to ease the anxiety, stress and tension of grief?
From Andy, father of Danny:
When Grief visits, I have changed how I greet her.
At first, in the early days when I couldn’t catch my breath, she would overwhelm me. She would keep me from functioning between the dark thoughts she inspired, to her knocking me to my knees weeping, to the shouting I would do to the sky (to God).
Then at TAPS and elsewhere I met fellow grievers. I was not alone. In hearing their grief and sharing our stories, of others who lived, died and suffered… I would lose myself there in the listening (always with my grief close by touching me).
As I carried this heavy weight, I grew stronger. I learned to carry my grief on walks in nature, when looking at photos of Danny, when thinking of my surviving son’s and wife’s pain. I grew stronger as grief weighed on me and could, little by little, with practice and guidance of the lighthouses in my life, learn to put her down completely for moments.
Now, when grief comes to visit me, I welcome her into my heart. She’s become a reminder of my deep pride in my Ranger son and an even deeper well of love. Grief is a friend I did not want, but who is part of my life now. I am stronger for knowing her.
From Robin, mother of Steven:
Listening to classical or Christian music, taking a drive, writing in my diary are all helpful when grief is heavy. I’ve learned it’s okay to be alone with my thoughts and memories. The quiet allows me peace and calm to sort out my feelings.
From Sandra, mother of Josh:
Grief does cause anxiety, stress, and tension. I aqua-jog, read books, watch new release movies and do word searches on my phone. Chair yoga and meditation have been very helpful, too. Sometimes, I go out in my backyard with a cup of hot tea and my sweet dog Lola or take a short hike at a nature center that is about 20 minutes away. I try not to turn to food, but going out for an ice cream or a meal with a friend or family member and talking to someone can be a comfort. Every once in a while, I head out to sit on the beach. I am only 40 minutes away from the beach and I find that the salt water and sand are very healing. As soon as I smell the salt air, I start relaxing as my troubles fly away. Sometimes, I even pick up on a special on a hotel and book it for one night. Of course, I have reached out to TAPS, do the chats and have a grief group.
If you would like to send a message thanking one or all of those who participated in this week’s Saturday Morning Message, send it to me at email@example.com and I will make sure your thoughts are passed along to them.
Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message
March 9 is National Napping Day, which is usually held the day after Daylight Saving Time, because most people feel that 1 hour of sleep loss every year. How often do you take a nap? And does it help you to recharge and feel refreshed?
Would you like to share a question or read how other survivors respond to a topic or question you have? I would love to gather some thoughts for future Saturday Morning Messages. It can be helpful to read and hear how others cope. I encourage you to reply to the Saturday Morning Message by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. I directly receive all responses that are sent to this address. In order to have your reply included in next week’s message, it is best to send your answers to me by Tuesday morning of the following week. Thank you to everyone responding this week and those who read this message.
♫ Song for the Week
This week’s song, "To Bring You Back" by Paul Alan is from Cheryl, mother of Jack. She writes that it is a song that brings comfort to her.
A survivor once suggested we include a song of the week, which has now become a weekly feature. One of our contributors, Andy, father of Danny, makes a free playlist available to you on Spotify of the songs that appear in the Saturday Morning Messages along with a few other songs special to him. The playlist is called TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) Songs of Love and Remembrance.
You can send your favorite songs for this song of the week section at email@example.com and include a note about why the song is meaningful to you.
A growing body of research is showing that controlled breathing has been shown to reduce stress and improve overall physical and mental health.
Here are a few ideas to try to do when stress enters your life. Some involve traveling and others you can do right from your home.