Anticipatory Grief Guide: What Is It? – Forbes Health


Conventional Grief: What’s the Difference?

Think of conventional grief as “grieving backward,” says Werner-Lin—mourning a loss that has already happened. Anticipatory grief is forward-looking. We’re grieving “what we still believe we might lose,” she says.

This leaves space for hope, however unrealistic, that the loss may not occur. Anticipatory grievers might find themselves “hanging on to possibilities” in ways that may not be helpful, Werner-Lin says. Conversely, in

Conventional Grief: What’s the Difference?

Think of conventional grief as “grieving backward,” says Werner-Lin—mourning a loss that has already happened. Anticipatory grief is forward-looking. We’re grieving “what we still believe we might lose,” she says.

This leaves space for hope, however unrealistic, that the loss may not occur. Anticipatory grievers might find themselves “hanging on to possibilities” in ways that may not be helpful, Werner-Lin says. Conversely, in

What To Do When You Can’t Sleep | Sleep Foundation

4-7-8 Method6

  1. Place the tip of your tongue near the ridge behind your front two teeth and hold it in this location throughout the breathing exercise.
  2. With your mouth closed, slowly inhale through your nose while counting to four.
  3. Hold your breath while counting to seven.
  4. Open your mouth and exhale while counting to eight. Because of the location of your tongue, exhalation should cause a whooshing sound.
  5. Repeat this 4-7-8 cycle three more times.

Who It’s Great For:

Controlled breathing is excellent for people just getting started with relaxation techniques or who have difficulty using other objects of focus like imagery or mantras.

Meditation and Mindfulness

Why It Works:

Mindfulness is centered around slow, steady breathing and a non-judgmental focus on the present moment. By reducing anxiety and rumination, it has been found to have sweeping health benefits7, including an ability to help reduce insomnia8.

How to Do It: 

There are many variations of mindfulness meditation for different situations. One easy to use style is the body scan meditation9.

  1. Focus on slowly inhaling and exhaling at a comfortable pace.
  2. Notice the position of your body on the bed.
  3. Notice any sensations, good or bad, in your legs and feet. Let your legs be soft.
  4. Continue the “body scan,” observing, from your legs up to your head, each region of your body and its sensations. The goal is to stay present and observe your body without judging or reacting and then letting each part of your body relax.
  5. After scanning each part of your body, reflect on your body as a whole and allow it to relax.

This version is adapted from UC-Berkeley’s Greater Good in Action (GGIA) program that offers audio recordings for this and other mindfulness meditations10.

Who It’s Great For: 

Anyone can meditate, including with mindfulness meditation, but it can take more practice to get used to. As a result, it usually works best for people who can devote at least five minutes per day to increase their comfort with it.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Why It Works:

Progressive muscle relaxation11 (PMR) creates a calming effect by gradually tightening and releasing muscles throughout the body in conjunction with controlled breathing.

How to Do It:

  1. With your eyes closed, slowly breathe in and out.
  2. Starting with your face, tense your muscles (lips, eyes, jaw) for 10 seconds, then release your muscles and breathe deeply in and out for several seconds.
  3. Tense your shoulders for 10 seconds and then relax and breathe.
  4. Continue tensing and relaxing the following body parts, skipping any area where tensing the muscles causes pain:
    1. Shoulders
    2. Upper arms
    3. Lower arms and hands
    4. Back
    5. Stomach
    6. Buttocks
    7. Hamstrings
    8. Calves
    9. Feet

Who it’s Great For: 

Studies have found that PMR can help people with insomnia12, and when done carefully, may be beneficial13 for people who are bothered by arthritis14 or other forms of physical pain. PMR is not recommended for people with uncontrolled cardiovascular problems.


Why It Works: 

Visualizing a peaceful image from your past and all of its details engages your attention in order to promote relaxation.

How to Do It: 

  1. With your eyes closed and in a comfortable position, think about a place or experience in your past that feels relaxing, such as a quiet natural setting.
  2. While slowly breathing in and out, reflect on the details of this setting and how it looks.
  3. Continue focusing on this image by adding details relating to your other senses (smell, sound, taste, touch) and experiencing the calmness of this mental imagery.

Who it’s Great For:

Visual thinkers who easily recall past scenes replete with details are ideally suited to using imagery as part of their bedtime relaxation.

Are There Downsides to Relaxation Techniques?

Negative consequences are rare for relaxation techniques, but a small number of people find that they can provoke anxiety. Anyone with concerns about trying these methods should talk with their doctor for specific advice before getting started.

What to Do About Mind Wandering

Even experts in meditation find that their minds can wander during these relaxation techniques, so don’t worry if it happens to you. Instead, stay calm, keep breathing slowly, and try to bring your mind back to the main focus of attention.

What If I Still Can’t Fall Asleep?

If you get into bed and cannot fall asleep after 20 minutes, get up, go to another part of your house, and do something soothing, such as reading or listening to quiet music.

Lying awake in bed for too long can create an unhealthy mental connection between your sleeping environment and wakefulness. Instead, you want your bed to conjure thoughts and feelings conducive to sleep.

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Pre-Bedtime Tips to Help Fall Asleep Quickly

Before you actually get into bed, a few simple tips can help make sure your mind and body are prepared to fall asleep easily:

  • Wind down for at least half an hour before bedtime. Reading, light stretching, and other relaxing activities are ideal during this time.
  • Disconnect from close-range electronic devices like laptops, phones, and tablets because they can stimulate the brain and make it harder to fall asleep.
  • Dim the lights to help your eyes relax, and make sure you’re in comfortable clothing.
  • Make sure your bedroom is set to a pleasant temperature. The cooler the better.
  • Consider a calming scent, like lavender essential oils, that can generate a calming effect.
  • Avoid big meals, spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol in the lead-up to bedtime.

Big-Picture Tips to Fall Asleep Easily

Beyond the immediate run-up to bedtime, incorporating fundamental sleep tips can aid in falling asleep and prevent serious sleeping problems.

  • Follow a consistent sleep schedule with the same wake-up time every day, including on weekends. This helps fine-tune and entrain your internal clock for more regular sleep.
  • Make time for physical activity. Regular exercise benefits the body in many ways, and facilitating better sleep is one of them.
  • If you have a hard time sleeping, start keeping a sleep diary to identify trends that could be throwing off your nightly rest.
  • See a doctor. If your sleeping problems are severe, long-term, or worsening, it’s important to see a doctor who can work with you to try to identify a cause and recommend optimal treatment.
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About Our Editorial Team

Eric Suni

Staff Writer

Eric Suni has over a decade of experience as a science writer and was previously an information specialist for the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Abhinav Singh

Sleep Physician


Dr. Singh is the Medical Director of the Indiana Sleep Center. His research and clinical practice focuses on the entire myriad of sleep disorders.

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    Want to Sleep 

    Sad already

    I’m missing you already we can’t talk

    You are feeling breathless, I can’t walk

    Overwhelmed by grief I called your name

    Then I wondered if I were to blame.

    Perhaps you’re lying to me for some fun.

    I’m getting paranoia, you’re no con

    Still mazed by unbelief I cannot think.

    I read between the lines I found some hints.

    You are walking onward still with hope.

    Dont cross that final river where death gapes.

    Love will need no trick

    In my despair I felt that I was stuck
    Paralysed by  grief and guilt I failed
    By the end I had tried every trick

    From prayer unthought to deeps of logic black
    My  life, my engine ,juddered off the  rails
    I hated God and of “his” Church was  sick

    Starving  and alone I was in shock
    The death of one I loved   had made me frail
    By the end I had tried every trick

    I felt  Love’s arms around me,  death to block
    I knew   this goodness,  why else would I wail?
    I   thought I hated God  but Love had struck

    Warm and golden light  that  did me hold
    Where are you now when Evil has grown bold?
    Kind despair  that  made me long time sit
    By the end I learned Love needs no trick

    How to Prevent Memory Loss – The New York Times

    The second way our relationship with technology is detrimental for memory is because it often takes our focus away from the task at hand. “In our day, the greatest impediment of memory is distraction,” Dr. Restak wrote. As many of these tools have been designed with the aim of addicting the person using them, and, as a result, we are often distracted by them. People today can check their email while streaming Netflix, talking with a friend or walking down the street. All of this impedes our ability to focus on the present moment, which is critical for encoding memories.

    Researchers: Improving Eyesight May Help Prevent Dementia – The New York Times


    Why would hearing and vision loss contribute to cognitive decline? “A neural system maintains its function through stimulation from sensory organs,” explained Dr. Rojas, a co-author of an accompanying editorial in JAMA Neurology. Without that stimulation, “there will be a dying out of neurons, a rearrangement of the brain,” he said.