How to Live Well After a Loss

I’ve been thinking a lot about loss during the last week since having learned that a dear friend has died. Warren Bolthouse was the founder and long-time President of Family Life Radio.  For years, he played an important role in the opportunities I have had to observe the kind of vision, mission and hard work it takes to fulfill a dream and grow a successful organization. While his absolute faith in God assures us that he is at peace, he will be sorely missed by his family, friends and the countless number of people whose lives he positively impacted throughout the years.

No matter who you are, how much money you make or whether you feel like a success or a failure, there’s one thing you can count on: Loss. No one can go through life without experiencing the loss of someone or something important. It can happen through death, divorce, job changes, relationship breakups, health problems, economic downturns and a host of other possibilities. It can leave us asking, “What now? How do I live my life each day when it just isn’t the same?”

It is important to seek help from friends, family, your pastor or a counselor to cope with the initial loss, but there are some helpful universal principles for living that, when practiced regularly, will help you stay “up” when the world around you feels very “down”.

  1. Look beyond your circumstances

Whatever you’re going through today won’t last forever. You can rise above the pain and sorrow by focusing on the hope that better days are ahead. Optimism isn’t the opposite of reality – it’s just the best way to view it.

  1. Focus on what you have rather than what you think you lack

A scarcity mentality discourages, but an abundance mentality encourages. Counting the blessings in your life and reviewing them daily will help you maintain a grateful and positive attitude.

  1. Attend to the needs of others

It takes no time at all to find someone around you who would appreciate your help. They may need love, physical or material help, encouragement, time, etc. It’s nearly impossible to feel discouraged when you’re actively engaged in encouraging others.

  1. Be true to what you value most

When your life consistently reflects your values, it keeps you from having to carry the heavy burden of guilt, regret, failure and disappointment. Stop and think before you act, and then do what you know is right.

  1. Minimize the negative influences in your life

Your thoughts, behaviors and emotions are often a byproduct of what you feed your mind. By minimizing the negative people, mindless television programs, toxic work environments and discouraging news media in your life, you’ll make room for things that can bring real joy and satisfaction.

  1. Monitor the words you speak

Words are powerful and can either build up or destroy. Choose to fortify yourself and others by speaking words of hope, optimism and encouragement. Mom was often right when she said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.”

  1. Let those who have hurt you off the hook

It’s been said that holding on to resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Forgive, and you’ll feel a lot better.

  1. Treat your body and mind well

When you consistently nourish your mind and body you will boost both your physical and emotional immune systems. If you can’t seem to kick a bad habit, get help.

  1. Live in the present

You can’t change the past and the future isn’t here yet, so choose to embrace the gift that is the present. Make the best of today, and tomorrow you’ll enjoy the memory.

  1. Know where you are going in life

Having a clear understanding of what you want to achieve, acquire or accomplish in life will help you to stay focused on what’s truly important. But, while you’re traveling through each day, don’t forget to look out the windows and enjoy the scenery.

Live, Work and Relate Well!

Dr. Todd


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