Monday, December 19, 2011

Holidays Especially Hard on Those Who Are Grieving

The Christmas/New Year holiday season is often the most difficult time of the year for people who are grieving, Michael Miller, M.D., editor-in-chief of the Harvard Mental Health Letter, notes in its December 2011 issue. Among strategies he suggests to help grieving individuals ease their pain at this time of year are placing a lighted candle on the dinner table or leaving an empty chair on behalf of the deceased loved one. Another suggestion to ease the pain is to make a donation to a favorite cause in memory of that person.

The death of a loved one, however, is just one of the types of loss that creates emotional pain and can be interpreted as a blow to one's ego, James Frosch, M.D., an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, maintains. To spare themselves the anguish, rage, or other negative emotions provoked by a serious loss, people need to develop a capacity to tolerate loss, Frosch asserts. For more information about Frosch's views on this subject, see Psychiatric News here.

(Image: Poznyakov/


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