A POSITIVE LIFE Publication by Dr. James F. Hubbard



A Grief Recovery Program
by Dr.James F. Hubbard, Associate Professor of Psychology - UNC-Pembroke, Pembroke, NC


Read About Stress Basics

For the person who has lost a loved one, grief is a continuing experience. You feel sad and depressed.
Your mind simply will not stop reviewing and recounting the recent experiences. At the time of the funeral
many relatives and friends were at hand to help reduce the stress. They show their love in many ways and
bring you many positive feelings. The funeral service brought you a significant uplifting.

After the funeral is over friends and relatives will leave and your stress level
may reach its greatest height. You will see things that remind you of the relationship,
even little things like buying groceries. You will probably think of the
unkind words that you said at times. Guilt feelings may plague you. These negative experiences create
stress in your body. You will not feel good. There is a loss of appetite, there is difficulty sleeping,
there may be problems with elimination, there is sadness and depression.

You may develop unbearable pain which makes you worry about yourself, adding to the stress.
Nervous tensions continue. It is not easy to relax.
There are some helpful stress control techniques to reduce some of these health symptoms.
The following discussion is designed to help your recovery.


In order to make you feel better and in order to prevent some health problems that might develop,
bereaved people should release their emotions rather than trying to hold them in. Trying to repress
the feelings will probably make them worse when they do emerge. Collecting memories of the lost relationship
should be a regular planned experience. It is a very painful experience, but tears provide a positive
release of nervous tensions.

Confining the grieving experience to one time during the day keeps it from
arriving too often at other times. Set aside a 30 minute period during the day (not near bedtime) for
the grieving period. Start with the beginning of the relationship and try to recall the positive experiences
that meant so much to you. Take out pictures and letters to help you remember. This, of course, will be painful,
but let your emotions flow freely even to the point of weeping. When you remember experiences which make you
feel gullty search for positive feelings to balance them off.

No two people can live together for years without some unpleasant situations. You are forgiven by your Savior,
so you should forgive yourself. The ratio of nice and loving words is 10 to 1 over mean and ugly ones.
It would be helpful to put your experiences down in a notebook as you progress through the years.

Close the memory experience with as many positives as you can, but limit
it to about 30 minutes each day. Experiencing your grief in this manner is emotionally healthy and much less stressful.
It may well prevent sad intrusions at other times of the day.
In time you will find that the pain is less, and the tears are fewer.


If you work, this is no problem for you. There are tasks to occupy you, and there are friendly people
around to bring positives. If you do not work, you need to plan activities to use your time. You need to
get out where you can interact with other people and meet friends. Get some volunteer work. Join a class of some type.
Go out with friends as often as you can. Join a support group where other grieving people come together.
You share experiences and comfort each other.

Grief can affect your health temporarily and can become more serious if the grieving period is prolonged.
You must take care of yourself.

Regular exercise is essential to preserve your health. A 30 to 40 minute walk is usually sufficient.
Using muscles, in itself, reduces nervous tensions and promotes sound sleep. The stress you have experienced
has raised the blood sugar level and put cholesterol into your bloodstream. Exercise uses these excess products
and restores the blood to normal. The hormones from the adrenal gland which make you sad and depressed will be more
rapidly removed through exercise. Walking with a friend enhances the health experience with positive socializing.

Join an exercise class provided by your community parks and recreation or church. Indoor exercise is all important in
the winter months when sunshine is very infrequent. You may find it necessary to get yourself some type of indoor bicycle
to ride while watching T V. When going through a grieving period one needs to exercise daily regardless of the weather.

Healthy Eating Practices will bring benefits to your recovery. Sugar restraint is important when your blood sugar is
elevated by stress. Curbing cholesterol by limiting your intake of fat will be very beneficial to you. Animal fat, cream,
butter, cheese, and egg yolks are high in cholesterol. Your grief depletes your supply of several vitamins. Include a good
supply of fruits and vegetables to replace your lost vitamin C. Include whole grain cereals and whole grain bread to provide
the needed vitamin B complex. Sprinkle wheat germ over your oatmeal, grits, and cream of wheat.
(You can get stress vitamins at your pharmacist.)

Exercise and healthy eating practices are very important to you during your grief period.



When sad thoughts emerge, recite the verse several times.

John 3:16, 17
For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him
should not perish but have EVERLASTING LIFE. For God sent not his Son to condemn the world:
but that the world through HIM might be SAVED.

Ephesians 2:6, 7
And God has raised us up, has made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that He might
show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

John 11:25, 26
I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead,
yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.

John 6:40
This is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son and believeth on him,
may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Isaiah:7, 9, 10
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace,
that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation, that saith unto Zion, thy God reigneth.
Break forth into joy, sing together ye waste places of Jerusalem: The Lord hath made bare his holy arm
in the eyes of the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

John 14:1-3
Let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God. Believe ye also in me. In my Father's house
are many mansions: if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go
and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself: that where I am ye may be also.

I Corinthians 15: 22, 52,53, 55, 57
O death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? For as in Adam all die, so In Christ shall
all be made alive. For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible. This corruptible
must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality. Thanks be to God who giveth us the
victory though our Lord Jesus Christ.

John 10:9
Verily, verily I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep: by me if any man enter he shall
be saved and shall go in and out and find pasture.

II Corinthians 4:16,17, 18 5:1
Every day the inward man gains fresh strength. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment,
worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. While we look not at things which are seen:
for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that
if our earthly tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

  Copyright 2006 James F. Hubbard
All Rights Reserved
May Be Copied For Educational Purposes Only