In the wake of recent deaths and disappearances, there are many people on Maui grieving with broken hearts. The latest heartbreaking events – the deaths of Emalia Brown and Harlan Masuda and disappearances of Moreira ‘Mo’ Monsalve and Carly ‘Charli’ Scott – have left Mauians feeling a sense of loss and the heartache has been far reaching. There seems to be trouble in paradise and people are unsure of how to cope.
Following a tragic event, the human tendency is to offer sympathy by feeling other people’s heartbreak and pain. People often empathize with victims and their families by imagining how they would feel if the unfortunate events happened to them. This can be detrimental because the human subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between the real and imagined events. When you think about distressing occurrences, the subconscious mind thinks they are currently happening and the “fight, flight, or freeze” response is triggered. This is also known as the stress response and every cell of the body reacts as if your life is being threatened. Whether a tragic event happened to you or not, repeatedly thinking about it can cause unneeded stress in your mind and on the body. Loss of cognitive function, weakened immune system, insomnia, and depression are induced by stressful thinking and unnecessary, especially if the tragedy didn’t happen to you.
Although the natural tendency is to identify with other peoples’ losses and pain, there are better ways to cope and help loved ones mend their hearts. You’re the most helpful to yourself and others when you have a positive attitude and feeling your best. It might seem unnatural to try to feel good during the aftermath of an unfortunate event, but you’ll be of better service to everyone if you do. Here are six ways to help you cope with tragedy and find peace in the midst of upsetting life experiences:
- Send love and aloha. Think loving thoughts and send healing energy to everyone involved in the tragedy. This is includes the victims, loved ones, law enforcement officials, yourself, and others affected by difficult events.
- Take care of your physiological needs. You’ll be better to yourself and others, if you consistently tend to your physical body’s needs. Breathe deeply, drink ample water, eat healthy meals, get sufficient sleep, and take time outs when you need them. Fulfilling these basic needs will help your brain and body get what they need to support you.
- Focus on the present moment and positive thoughts. In life the only things you have control over is your thoughts and actions in the present moment. Control over anything else is an illusion, so use your mind to focus in a powerful way. Replaying traumatic events over and over in your mind will subconsciously cause other negative emotions and perpetuate the pain. This makes it more difficult to overcome hurts and move forward towards a happy life. Instead of thinking of past events, focus on the present moment and what is happening in front of you. Bring your attention to what you want and imagine it has already has happened. Constantly thinking positive thoughts and focusing on what you want in the future will help you overcome tragic life events and connect to those who are no longer in their physical bodies.
- Surrender. Surrender to the fact you’ll never have all of the answers or know why something happened. Instead of feeling negative emotions following a painful life event, try to tell yourself you’re going to be okay and it’s part of your growth and expansion as a human being. Work to surrender, let go, and move forward. If you choose to grow, then you can use the event to transform and evolve into a better person. If you choose not to use the opportunity for expansion, then you’ll block yourself from being happy and have a painful life experience.
- Appreciate. It’s through expressing appreciation that you can experience love in its purest form. It’s not hard to look around the Hawaiian Islands and find things to be thankful for – the ocean, whales, waterfalls, rainbows, and people are a few examples of the infinite amount of beauty. Instead of focusing on the pain and negativity of the past, think, write, and speak all that you are thankful for often as possible.
- Love and connect with yourself. Practice radical self-love to help you alleviate your emotional pain. Instead of neglecting yourself during unpleasant times, tune in and fulfill all of your mental, emotional, and physical needs. Give your mind, body, and spirit what it needs to help you. Get rid of energy drainers and participate in activities, such as meditation, exercise, and play, to connect and feel positive. The purpose of life is to feel good, so refrain from feeling guilty if you experience glimpses of joy during trying times. It’s important to feel happy and loved especially after unfortunate life experiences.
Use these six suggestions to console yourself during hard times and transform emotional pain. Remember, the best way to help yourself and others is to refrain from constantly thinking about painful events of the past or taking on other people’s heartaches. Understand you have control over and can heal all emotional pain because it exists in the mind. Use the power your mind to help you cope by directing your thoughts towards what you want to feel and imagining how it already feels. Then surround yourself with loving people who lift you up while assisting you with feeling positive and healing your heart. This will give you the piece of mind to live a peaceful life after a tragedy.