How to Avoid Self-Imposed Isolation When Mourning

Are you shying away from your support system? Are you turning down invitations from friends or relatives to join them for dinner or a family barbeque? Are you choosing to walk alone instead of with your old walking buddies? If so, you are not merely isolating yourself from needed social contact when mourning, you are actually delaying the healing from your great loss.

The many studies on the subject of social interaction and its relationship to health and longevity have made it abundantly clear: your social circle plays a major role in mitigating stress and stimulating the healing process.

This does not mean that you shun all time to be alone. We need quiet time as much as interactive time. Solitude replenishes the inner life and allows us to balance the constant buzz and attention that often occurs when mourning a major loss.

However, it is important to understand that the love and support of friends and relatives can affect the way you feel about yourself at a time when sadness and depression often take a great toll on energy and your spirits. This is one of those times when mourning, that it is essential to do what you dislike doing, and get involved with others in a social setting. You may want to look at it as a diversion, a necessary diversion that is part of your grief work.

Diversions when mourning are essential in order to relieve the mind of constantly thinking about the loss. The grief process in itself is hard work and saps energy. It is perfectly normal to seek a time out away from the sadness and pain. In fact, it is important to schedule a time each day to give yourself special care and do something just for you–even if you don’t feel like it.

If you want to change your isolating behavior, start by changing your beliefs. Beliefs are the powerhouse for behaviors. Often our beliefs about grief and what we should do are picked up from poor grief models early in life. If, for example, you were taught to believe that the depth of your love for the deceased is expressed by how long you grieve, or that it is disrespectful to find a moment of enjoyment even while you are mourning, these beliefs will bring unnecessary suffering.

Carefully examine why you are isolating yourself and consider changing unhealthy beliefs. We all have them. In any event, make a commitment to yourself that you will speak to at least three people each day and accept invitations that will get you out of the house and interacting with others.

To summarize, uncover the hidden beliefs that are limiting your healthy grief work. Recognize the vast importance of the love being expressed to you by members of your support network. It will greatly assist you in gradually reinvesting your emotional energy in rewarding pursuits. Love will open your mind and heart to find meaning in your great loss and lead you to reinvesting in life.