“To put it bluntly, it’s been a lot—and those experiences won’t leave our psyche instantly when we are vaccinated, or we no longer have to wear a mask to venture outdoors. It will take time—and the use of powerful coping mechanisms. That’s why psychologist Dr. Yvonne Thomas, Ph.D. says it’s paramount to mourn 2020 and all of the trials it forced us to face. Here, a deep dive into why we mourn and ultimately, how it benefits us to process these negative emotions so we can move forward in 2021 and beyond.
WE MOURN BECAUSE WHEN WE ARE EMOTIONALLY INVESTED.
According to Dr. Thomas, humans mourn when we lose something or someone we are emotionally invested in or connected to in an innate, powerful way. Everyone expresses these feelings differently: some may cry; others may become angry, and so on. In some cases, these reactions can be confusing, especially if we feel relief, which can stir up guilt. In terms of the pandemic, you may feel empathy for a friend who lost a loved one to COVID-19 but also comforted that no one in your personal circle has tested positive. You probably took a ride on this rollercoaster many times throughout the year, as cases grew and more people faced the reality of the virus. This can create an emotional residue and one that mourning can help you clear up.”