How to Start Healing After a Tragedy


I write this with a heavy heart, the week after yet another funeral of a someone I know. It seems we have all been inundated with sudden deaths amongst friends, and acquaintances. Our hearts break for the young children left behind. Our hearts break for us too, as the holes left in our lives loom large- above and around us.

How many times must we watch someone tearfully speak about their loved one?

How many times must we explain to our children why bad things happen to good people?

It all seems too much to bear, and yet we must. How do take care of ourselves in times like these?  One of the ways of starting the healing process is to practice self –care.
Here are a few tools that I’ve used to help me cope.

1) Don’t run away from your feelings.

Feel your feelings. I cried when I heard about the last death , tears of sadness, and anger. The memories came flooding through me. How could this be happening again?
I leaned into my pain and sadness and anger; let it wash over me and allowed it to flow through me. The feelings came over and over again, with each new update, each new Facebook post, every time I saw a loved one cry. I felt their pain. I felt MY pain.

2) Take care of your body, with adequate rest, water and clean eating. It is very tempting to remain glued to the TV or Facebook getting more details, trying to make sense of how and why?

Rest your mind and body by getting adequate sleep. Keep hydrated with adequate amounts of water. Avoid processed foods, with added sugars and salt. Treat your body as a sacred vessel through which your work in the World will come through.

3) Take care of your mind, with journaling, spending time in silence, and positive affirmations.

Get your thoughts and feelings out of your mind and on to paper. Write a letter describing your feelings. Spend time in silence, connect with your inner voice and let the answers come. Write out positive affirmations on pieces of paper or on your phone to remind you to focus on the good in the World. What we focus on expands. Let’s all focus on love, kindness, and peace.

4) Take care of your spirit with prayer, and meditation.

It is tempting to lose faith, to lose hope.

Connect with a Higher Power, pray for peace, for strength, for guidance, for healing. I pray for the deceased and their families. For wisdom and guidance for our leaders. I prayed for me too – to heal my heart, and soothe my grief. I prayed for a World where love and peace prevail; where accidents and illnesses no longer touch us.

5) Practice forgiveness.

Forgiveness does not mean we condone the act. It means that we are releasing ourselves from the anger and bitterness. It means we are no longer giving our power over to the perpetrator. By practicing forgiveness, we are giving ourselves the gift of freedom; freedom from pain and anger and allowing joy and happiness to replace these feelings.

6) Volunteer, Give of your time, and your talents.

In times like these, we often feel helpless.
Volunteer at a shelter for the homeless, sign a petition for better legislation for alcohol related accidents, do something that you’re passionate about. We do not have to sit back and feel helpless. We can do something to heal our World.

I believe that we are inherently good and kind. I believe that Love will prevail.

For as Nelson Mandela said:

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” ¤

More from Dr. Tanya Destang-Beaubrun

How to Start Healing After a Tragedy

I write this with a heavy heart, the week after yet another...
Read More