How Bodybuilding Can Help You Manage Grief.

Grief is a mix of emotions and memories in response to a loss. Loss may be due to any number of life events... Learn more.

Article Summary:
  • There is no standard timeline for moving past grief and feeling like yourself again.
  • The five stages of grief include: disbelief, anger, bargaining, sepression, acceptance.
  • Bodybuilding will help get you through some of those very tough times in your life.

Does grief ever stop you in your tracks? Maybe you lost a loved one years ago but their birthday and anniversary of their death always make you feel crummy. Or maybe you are experiencing another type of loss that you just can't seem to overcome completely.

Does Grief Ever Stop You In Your Tracks?
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Does Grief Ever Stop You In Your Tracks?

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What Is Grief?
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Grief is a mix of emotions and memories in response to a loss. Loss may be due to any number of life events including:

  • A miscarriage
  • Job loss
  • Major illness
  • Loss of a friendship
  • Loss of financial stability
  • Loss of security/safety

People have different reactions to grief and ways that grief manifests itself. Some may experience tremendous grief immediately but then get over it.

Others may have a delayed reaction to a loss in their life. And, there is no standard timeline for moving past grief and feeling like your normal self again.

People Have Different Reactions To Grief And Ways That Grief Manifests Itself.
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People Have Different Reactions To Grief
And Ways That Grief Manifests Itself.

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Symptoms Of Grief
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  • Sadness
  • Loneliness
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Nightmares
  • Lack of interest in activities
  • Crying spells
  • Various physical symptoms that mimic the flu
  • Fear
  • Guilt

The five stages of grief may include (you may not experience each stage):

  • Disbelief
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

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How Bodybuilding Can Help You Manage Grief
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  • Bodybuilders Can Re-Focus Their Attention: Being able to alter your mindset is a critical life tool. As a bodybuilder, you do this on a daily basis. You forget your day at work, traffic jam and house projects and tackle what you need to do in the gym. Use this same approach if you feel totally overcome by grief. Distract yourself. Set a new goal in the gym or focus on a competition in the near future.
  • Bodybuilders Connect With Others: As a bodybuilder, you surround yourself with people who support you and cheer you on. You have a community of people in your life working on similar goals. Turn to those people when you need extra support. Lean on them.
  • Bodybuilders Recognize When They Need Assistance: You have a training partner for a reason - so you can achieve new personal bests in the gym, on the track, etc. You recognize when you need a little helping hand. Turn to professionals when you need help with depression, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety or any other overwhelming feeling that you just can't knock on your own.
  • Bodybuilders Know Their Body: As a bodybuilder you are so in tune with your body that you know when you need a day off, what triggered that recent flare-up of tendonitis and the difference between physical symptoms from a hard workout or the flu versus grief manifesting itself through weight gain, weight loss, insomnia, aches and pains. You quickly figure out the reason behind how you feel and take action or rest if needed.

As A Bodybuilder, You Surround Yourself With People Who Support You And Cheer You On.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
As A Bodybuilder, You Surround Yourself With
People Who Support You And Cheer You On.

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Additional Tips To Help You Manage Grief:
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  • Keep in mind that what you are experiencing is normal. Be patient.
  • Prepare yourself for those anniversaries by celebrating the person's life with friends and family on that day.
  • Seek counseling if you are overwhelmed by your feelings.
  • Start a tradition to remember your loved one.
  • Join a support group. There is strength in numbers.

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Conclusion
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Grief isn't something that you can just snap your fingers at and make it go away. In fact, experiencing it tells you something about yourself - what you value or who really made an impact on your life.

Realize that it is okay to grieve. And, continue training. Bodybuilding will get you through some of those very tough times in life. It should be a habit, engrained in your schedule. Something you do for your body, your mind and your soul.

About The Author:

Marie Spano is a leading authority on translating the latest nutrition and exercise science research into real life applications. Ms. Spano has also helped Olympic athletes, NFL-bound athletes and Fortune 500 executives enhance their health and performance through sound nutrition practices. She is a regular contributor to bodybuilding.com. For more information see: www.mariespano.com.

References:

  1. Grief: Coping with reminders after a loss. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/grief/MH00036
  2. Helpguide.org http://www.helpguide.org/mental/grief_loss.htm

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