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Reiki and Grieving

What Is Grief?

Grief is defined as a normal, emotional response to different types of tangible and intangible life events. The apparent event that comes to mind is the death of someone we love, but grieving also occurs when we experience a divorce, loss of a job, house etc.

Traditional Ways of Dealing With Grief

Historically society dictates how we should deal with grief. It tends to be passed down from generation to generation with well-meaning platitudes such as ‘They’re in a better place’ or ‘God must have needed another angel’. If it is the breakdown of a relationship, you may hear things like ‘It wasn’t meant to be’ or ‘There’s plenty more fish in the sea’. Society tends to want to ‘fix’ grief rather than listen to it. This is just one of the many ways we have been taught to deal with grief incorrectly. These losses are a part of who you are and, if processed correctly, will become your biggest strength. We also learned how to deal with loss by watching the adults around us as children. I’m sure many of us can recall when someone we love was upset by grief but then shook it off when you came into the room. Or they may have said things like ‘Be strong for your sister’, which is saying to us, don’t show your emotions and that by doing this you are setting a good example. Subconsciously this has taught many of us to bury our grief and push the feelings associated with it deep within us. Our heads learn to rationalise the grief, but by doing so, we are pushing away how our hearts feel. This creates a blockage of emotional energy that can manifest itself in many unhelpful ways, not least causing sickness.

Common Responses to Grief

  • Sadness

  • Loss of concentration - It can take four or five seconds longer to answer a question, and you can be more accident-prone.

  • Emotional and physical numbness.

  • Anger - sometimes, it is easier to be angry than to face grief. We often look for someone or something to blame.

  • Fear - grief triggers worry, anxiety, helplessness or insecurity.

What to Say

  • ‘I can’t imagine how heartbreaking this must be for you. Grief is about a broken heart; how can we even begin to know how they feel?

  • ‘I don’t really know what to say - it is honest, and it shows you are not trying to judge, analyse or fix them.

  • ‘I am so sorry for your loss’ - another honest response.

  • ‘What happened?’ - grievers need and want to tell their story. Don’t avoid the subject its the most loving thing you can do, providing support without judgement.

What Not to Say

  • ‘I know how you feel’ - grief is unique for every individual - try ‘I can relate to your loss’ instead.

  • ‘Be strong’ - you are asking a person to hide away grief. Showing emotion is important, especially around small people.

  • ‘At least they are not suffering anymore’ - this may be true, but it doesn’t help the griever.

  • ‘Everything happens for a reason.

  • ‘Just give it time.’

What To Do

  • Just listen - by far, the greatest gift is your time. Feeling heard helps with healing.

  • Reach out - after the funeral

  • Be patient - there is no timeline - each journey is unique and will take as long as it takes.

  • Accept their humanness.

  • Help them find balance - between being alone and being with people. Being alone is good but not to the point of isolation.

  • Help them express their honesty and accept their sadness.

  • Replacing misinformation about grief helps a griever to heal.

Emotional Responses to Grief

  • How the heart reacts to grief. - Sadness is the normal and first response to a loss.

  • The physical response is how the body reacts - stress hormones, crying etc. A griever is more susceptible to illnesses because of the release of stress hormones. It is vital to take enough time to rest and recover.

Spiritual Response to Grief

  • How spiritual beliefs react to grief which may not be religious in the traditional sense.

  • You may question your own life or life in general. Start to think about the bigger picture and your own legacy.

What Does Reiki Have To Do With Grief

Energy basics - if you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration. Everything is made up of atoms; therefore, everything is energy. Energy affects you physically, emotionally and spiritually. Reiki works to unblock energy centres that have become clogged or blocked over time. Grief and, importantly, unprocessed grief is something that can cause blockages in our energy field and centres (chakras). The result can be illness, weakness and pain. When someone is grieving, the heart chakra is most impacted, but it affects all others. If one is off-balance, then the others will follow; grief is an energy-depleting emotion. Energy is essential to keep the body alive—energy from food, water, sunshine and exercise. A griever must replace the energy lost through grieving. If left, the person may start to feel worse and worse over time. This is why it’s not unusual to get sick when grieving. How Reiki Helps

  • Replaces and balances the energy within the body - eases muscle tension and improves sleep.

  • Enhances the body’s ability to heal itself

  • Activates the natural healing processes

  • Reiki knows where it is supposed to go

  • Reiki doesn’t magically take away a grievers pain, but it does make it easier for them to deal with grief’s ups and downs.

  • Having a sense of calm and balance gives a griever the stamina and courage they need to tackle their grief.

Emotional, Spiritual and Physical Benefits of Reiki When Grieving

  • Promotes feelings of calmness (less emotional tailspins)

  • Relieves stress by relaxing the mind

  • Encourages emotional release

  • Soothes emotional distress

  • Removes fear and negativity

  • Provides clarity of thought

Physical Benefits

  • Balances and increases energy

  • Reduces physical tension

  • Relieves fatigue

  • Promotes sleep

  • Clears toxins

  • Improves circulation

  • Relieves pain

Spiritual Benefits

  • Deal with difficult challenges

  • Connect with a higher power

  • Take a new perspective

  • Heal relationships and situations

  • Let go of the past

  • Awaken intuition

  • Find inner peace

To summarise, Reiki enhances energy flow in the body to release any grief-related emotional, physical and spiritual imbalances. If you are struggling with any loss, visiting a reiki practitioner may help you navigate this rocky road. ‘Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms, you would never see the true beauty of their carvings’ - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.


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