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How do I process a loss?

vital.de: You deal with the psychology of happiness. How do you define happiness?

Bea Engelmann: For millennia, neither philosophers nor poets and thinkers have managed to find a universal definition of happiness. Happiness is a very beautiful feeling and something very individual. It is therefore important to face our happiness and take the time to know exactly what makes us happy and contributes to our happiness.

For me personally, happiness is a special form of self-confidence, in the sense of “being self-aware”. It is the result of an inner decision and process: how positive am I about my life? I love the quote from Nicolas Chamfort “It is difficult to find happiness within yourself, and it is completely impossible to find it elsewhere”.

I distinguish between being lucky and being happy. We have little or no influence on being lucky, it is different when it comes to being happy because we can contribute ourselves with the help of so called happiness strategies. Happiness is divided into happy moments on the one hand and an attitude towards life and contentment on the other. Feeling at home in my life means happiness to me.

To what extent can the psychology of happiness help overcome severe loss and pain?

The psychology of happiness helps people lead a good life. In addition to focusing on our strengths and positive thoughts, it’s about increasing the good and good feelings in life.
In my workshops I tell participants about the six basic emotions: sadness, fear, disgust, surprise, anger and happiness. I explain to them that all feelings have their own justification and that they want and can be experienced. I make people deal with their feelings.

As for grief and loss, it is important for me to point out that there are such losses in every life and we can learn to deal with them. It is about acceptance on the one hand and empathy with ourselves on the other. It’s not about overcoming losses as quickly as possible, but about honestly facing yourself and your pain. It’s a process …

How can I allow happiness and joy to return to my life despite a great loss?

Everything has its time – I think it’s important to allow yourself to mourn this loss and allow the feelings that come with it. It is certainly helpful to think that feelings can coexist.
A wonderful strategy for happiness is gratitude. What good memories do I have of the person? Why is it nice to have walked together for a while? What experiences am I grateful for? How has this person made my life a little better? This is what I would focus on.

In general, is a happier person better able to cope with the loss than a more unhappy person?

I wouldn’t put it that way. Rather, it is about resilience, also known as the standing man mentality – the ability to find inner strength. People who have a high degree of resilience can more easily cope with very stressful living conditions, crises and even losses thanks to certain strategies. Since happier people are generally more resilient, they are more likely to have so-called coping strategies with which they can better process a loss.

When do you think it is necessary to seek professional help to process the loss and pain?

I think everyone here should listen to each other. Nobody has to “do it” alone: ​​it is a very drastic experience in which the support of a psychologist or a coach can be so helpful and soothing. I wish it was a matter of course to get help when we are mentally ill – and when we lose a loved one it is extremely stressful. I advise everyone not to wait long for help.

Happiness psychologist Bea Engelmann: “Pain takes time”