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Your Mental Health Questions: “How do I rewire my brain after too much grief when you also struggle with socialization issues?”

Be patient with yourself. Grief and loss are emotions that take so much time to process and sometimes they last forever but we can hold space for both sadness and joy.

There are so many different types of grief, complex, compounded and general grief and the feelings of pain and loss will come and go. Grief is something that lasts forever and unites us all. There are resources out there. Check out @ourhousegriefsupport and #griefsupport on instagram to find grief specific support.

Loss and the impermanence of everything in life is something we can count on. We must find peace with this fact. Mindfulness and meditation are two practices that help us to find peace with those facts of life.

As for neural rewiring, your brain is made up connections and they have been wired up a certain way for a long time. Luckily, science shows that we can change how they are wired.

One, eat healthy foods!

Healthy foods have been proven to help people’s brains cope with trauma. Try to eat whole unprocessed foods, as many as you can and as many different colors as you can. Eat nuts and research supplements that help increase resilience. Start taking magnesium and B12. There are resources out there to help you access those foods if they are unavailable to you. Let me know if you need help finding those resources.

Two, ACTIVELY challenge long held beliefs that do not serve the greater version of yourself.

When you say to yourself, “I’ll never feel good again. I’ll never be happy. I’m so sad,” rewire your thought patterns by saying out loud to yourself or writing down the thoughts that belong to your higher self such as, “I may be sad now but I will feel happiness again. I am capable of feeling good.” You need to challenge the way your brain has been thinking about yourself, your loss and your life.

Life is filled with grief and it hurts so bad but we have to allow ourselves to experience these things and eventually turn them into a part of our story in a way that empowers us.

Tell yourself, “I can do hard things and that includes experiencing deep sadness and grief.” Tell yourself, “I can feel joy.” “I find moments of joy.” “Even if I am sad, I can feel gratitude.”

Repeating these positive affirmations starts to strengthen a new path for your brain. Over time, it will become more natural. Do this every day! Try to challenge your thoughts as they come. As you first start doing this, make it a habit to say these affirmations both when you wake up and right before bed.

Three, practice gratitude.

Every day before bed, write down as many things as you can that you are grateful for but the minimum is five things. If social situations are hard for you, carry a notebook and when you feel grateful for something, write a note of it. If your up for the challenge, give people the thank you note.

Four, try sleep hypnosis.

Moments before waking and sleeping, (aka. the hypnagogic stage), sleep hypnotists believe that the brain is susceptible to suggestion. Take advantage of this time to flood your brain with positive suggestion and strengthen the positive cell pathways in your brain. You can find free YouTube videos when you search sleep hypnosis for depression, grief, anxiety, etc.

Five, find safe spaces and community.

Surround yourself with positivity. Find a community of people who you aspire to be like. Maybe it is a community online or it is a music station that has positive messages. Try to get away from people and spaces that are continuing to reinforce the old brain wiring you are trying change. Align yourself with community and spaces that reinforce the new messages you want your brain to get used to.

It takes time to change your brain’s pathways but you can do it. It is a constant work in progress. It also sounds like you have experienced a lot of stress because of loss and grief. Again, have grace with yourself. The fact that you are asking these questions is a sign that you care deeply about yourself and that is a wonderful thing. Stress, trauma and loss will affect all aspects of your mind and body. I encourage you to try to eat healthy and seek therapy as well. Please let me know if you need help finding more therapy resources.

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