At the 2015 Association for Death Education and Counseling conference, Dr. Gloria Horsley spoke with Dr. Judith Stillion about how to balance a positive life while in grief. It’s all about consciously choosing positive acts for yourself every day, with Dr. Stillion suggesting art or reading as a positive approach to healing. However, it may take some trial and error to find the positive approach that works best for you. Re-tapping into old, favorite hobbies as well as trying new ones can be a way to challenge yourself and re-direct your energy and thoughts into a more positive realm.

“Positive psychology is a way to approach grieving people to give them real tools to work with,” says Dr. Stillion. She runs widows groups and has been using exercises based in positive psychology. “Living the full life” requires the balancing of three critical things each day, starting with “the pleasant life.” This means doing enough for yourself while in grief, and feeding yourself (body and spirit) is important.

A Balanced Life

There are many ways to chase pleasant, from taking a swim to cooking a healthy meal. You also need to have a “happy, engaged life” that takes you outside of yourself. This is going with the flow, and may include getting lost in a book or getting into work-related tasks.

Finally, “the level of meaning” needs to be nurtured. It’s how we all make sense of the world and of meaning. This lets you move beyond yourself and helps you make sense of what’s happening around you. Having all three of these aspects is a must for taking mini-vacations from grieving. Positive psychology is rich with exercises, and you don’t necessarily need to be in a grieving group in order to research these measures and benefit from them.


Gloria Horsley

Dr. Gloria Horsley is an internationally known grief expert, psychotherapist, and bereaved parent. She started "Open to Hope" to help the millions in the world with grief. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Clinical Nurse Specialist, and has worked in the field of family therapy for over 20 years. Dr. Horsley hosts the syndicated internet radio show, The Grief Blog which is one of the top ranked shows on Health Voice America. She serves the Compassionate Friends in a number of roles including as a Board of Directors, chapter leader, workshop facilitator, and frequently serves as media spokesperson. Dr. Horsley is often called on to present seminars throughout the country. She has made appearances on numerous television and radio programs including "The Today Show," "Montel Williams," and "Sallie Jessie Raphael." In addition, she has authored a number of articles and written several books including Teen Grief Relief with Dr. Heidi Horlsey, and The In-Law Survival Guide.

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