Recently, I attended a grief support group for adults who have experienced a significant loss over the past year. All the attendees were at various stages of grief and loss from a life altering experience, loss of an individual in their life either through death,
divorce or alienation.


What was so important about attending this workshop was having the privilege of hearing their stories is that each and every person talked about how being in relationship and or belonging to a family or community were, in the end, the most important aspects of their life. They felt it was part of their self-care and healing process.


Many of the attendees had excellent jobs, owned high end homes and lived what would be considered by most of us “successful lives”. But what each of them discovered through the sudden loss of a spouse, community or family member, or through an unexpected divorce or an experience of alienation, is that Freud hit the nail on the head when he stated that “we are never so hopelessly unhappy as when we lose love.”


When it comes to our health, we often do not connect how imperative the experience of loving, being loved and belonging are to our overall wellbeing and immune function. Leaving the support meeting, it felt important that I share with our readers that it is imperative for each of us, periodically, to reexamine what really matters in our lives. We know today, through the mind-body research that has been done over the last 20 years that our health and our relationships are intimately intertwined. 


As I participated in the various discussion groups that were available during the workshop, a significant number of the participants, appearing to be about 75%, suffered from chronic headaches, fibromyalgia, chronic allergies, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome or ulcers. All of these conditions can be traced back to the stress they experience from the loss and subsequent grief of what comes from the loss of relationship or as Freud says “when we lose love”.


Whole Health self-care recommends that when we have experienced loss of any kind, especially relationship loss, it is an excellent practice to do something good for yourself as well as doing something pleasurable or enjoyable for and with those you are currently in relationship with. Take a moment of gratitude for the gift of family, friends, spouse, partner, peers that enrich your life.

Without the gifts of love and companionship our lives and our health suffer. For more information and health education on Whole Health Self Care visit www.healththyself.org