Archive for February 2020

The Impact of Managing Grief With Regular Exercise

Posted on Feb 20, 2020

woman happy from exercising

While daily life must continue following the death of a loved one, the emotions associated with grief can feel like an immense weight that is impossible to shake. Fortunately, for many experiencing grief and depression, they are discovering an incredibly powerful tool for relief from an unlikely activity—exercise.

“Does the gym attract happy people or are people happy because they go to the gym?”

It sounds counterintuitive—exercising while in grief? Indeed, you'll likely never see someone in a depressed state on the treadmill or swimming laps. If these two activities seem to be at odds, that's because scientifically, they are.

How Exercise Effects Grief

Even though exercise is not a magic bullet to help the grieving completely rebound, the effect it has on one's brain chemistry is undeniable. When one partakes in a particular duration and intensity of exercise, the brain is triggered to release several chemicals, including endorphins. Endorphins are incredible mood-boosting chemicals designed to relieve discomfort. While these endorphins were largely designed to help our ancient ancestors outrun predators, today, they can make us feel physically and emotionally amazing after a great workout.

"Exercise is a very good and positive tool that people can use while grieving, mainly because it triggers that release of neurotransmitters and the release of endorphins," reported Sharon Stallard , a trained bereavement counselor.

"That was it."

At a hulking 6'6", comedian Gary Gulman has been making audiences laugh all over the world for nearly 30 years. Despite inspiring the happiness of millions, Gary had a dark secret he hid for years—he was suffering from deep depression.

For decades, Gary checked into a variety of mental health programs with mixed results. Exercise, however, has been one of his saving graces.

During a podcast episode with fellow comedian Pete Holmes , Gary said that, when he was feeling down, there was one question he would ask himself:

"Have I exercised today? Usually the answer is, 'no, I haven't exercised today.' 'Alright, see how you feel after you exercise.' And at this point, thank God, after I exercise, oh, that was it. ... every time for a couple of years now...and it can be as little as 18 minutes. I've never gone under 18 minutes— it's probably 10. But you don't want to tell me that—the guy who just exercises 10 minutes a day...and he's happy?"

Exercising For Grief Resilience

If you've ever heard the NPR news quiz show, "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me," you've likely heard the unmistakably gruff comedic elbow-jabs of the legendary Paula Poundstone. Suffering from happiness issues of her own, Poundstone researched and wrote a book The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness. Her research consisted of her experimenting with the various age-old happiness avenues and seeing which fostered the greatest results. Experiments varied from test driving sports cars to volunteering with charitable organizations.

During an interview with Parade , Poundstone expounded one of her findings—the impact exercise had on the resilence of her happiness in the face of grief.

Interviewer: "...You write that exercise made you feel more resilient. Again, that's not something we necessarily think of when it comes to being happy..."

Poundstone: "Yeah, it definitely was. I do think it provided a better shield than most things. If some of the things that happened during that stretch (of regular exercise) had happened during the stretch of another (happiness experiment)—like my friend Martha dying...If Martha had died while I was driving a Lamborghini (one of Poundstones' happiness experiments), it would have been a totally different experience...because it's worthless. It comes with too much reflection... It's a can of worms. And push-ups aren't."

How Much Exercise is Necessary?

You may feel that you don't possess the time to exercise enough to experience the intended results. According to a 2017 study by Black Dog Institute , as little as one hour a week of exercise was shown to reduce the intensity of the symptoms of depression. Divided over the course of the week, that's less than 10 minutes a day.

Finding Exercise You Enjoy

For those experiencing grief who would like to give the mood-enhancing effects of exercise a shot, they should know that most forms of physical activity can be considered exercise. Many of us imagine sweating on a treadmill or lifting weights, but exercise can be achieved in other more enjoyable ways. Going for a walk. Dancing. Skipping rope. Swimming at a leisurely pace. To increase the chances of adopting a habit of regular exercise, it is vital to find a form of exercise you actually enjoy and will look forward to performing.


● Exercise can trigger mood-enhancing endorphins

● As few as 10 minutes a day may be necessary

● Exercise may make you more resilient against grief

● Exercise can take on many enjoyable forms

In addition to enjoying the myriad of benefits of regular exercise, we hope that you will consider regular exercise for helping ease feelings of grief and depression.

How to Write an Obituary (with Examples)

Posted on Feb 20, 2020

writing an obituary

Whether you’ve recently lost a loved one or you’re making those necessary arrangements beforehand, writing an obituary can feel emotionally challenging. Feelings can seem like a barrier between you and this task that needs to be accomplished. With that being said, the act of writing an obituary doesn’t have to be difficult—it can actually be immensely cathartic. The goal of this piece is to guide you step-by-step through the obituary writing process as well as help you see the therapeutic impact of such a seemingly daunting task.

The Types of Obituaries

Before you begin, we must note that there are a few different obituary styles.

Self-Written Obituaries

As the name implies, self-written obituaries are written by the individual themselves. These are usually written by people who are immensely forward-thinking and want to save their loved ones the discomfort of writing such a document. Some of these may have been written at varying stages of health or realization of the progression of a condition. The person’s desire to have a self-written obituary should be completely respected. Still, review all details to make sure they are current—such as a change in family structure or if they had moved since writing their obituary. When in doubt, lean into respecting their own wishes.

Funeral-Use Obituary

The “funeral use” obituary will be the primary obituary used for funeral program inserts, possible read aloud at the funeral, and otherwise distributed. These are largely free of word-count limitations, but should ideally fit neatly on one page.

Newspaper Obituary

The newspaper obituary is the obituary submitted to newspapers for publication. This may be a slightly shorter version of the funeral-use obituary—opting for more details over personal stories. The publication typically dictates the word-count for these.

How to Begin Writing Their Story

An obituary is a summary of a person’s life and what they held most dear. For this reason, writing one can be fairly therapeutic for those in mourning. Let’s break down the usual parts of a person’s obituary story.

The Essential Details

Most obituaries begin with the essential information about the person’s death. They may contain their name, age, and details about when and where they died.

Buchanan “Bucky” Goldstein, 92, died early Monday morning, February 17, 2020, at this home in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

For newspaper obituaries, some may prefer to provide funeral details following these details. Some prefer to save these for the end.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, February 18, 2020, at 11 am at Congregation B’nai Emunah in Tulsa, OK. Services will be immediately followed by a graveside service in The Preserve section of Woodland Memorial Park Cemetery in Sand Springs, OK.

Those Who Have Preceded Them

Immediately following the details of one’s death and funeral arrangements for the newspaper obituary, some may choose to mention close family members who have preceded them in death. This is optional.

Bucky is preceded in death by his father Emil, and his mother Shoshana, as well as brothers Morty, Rick, and sister Ruth.

The Story of Their Life

In telling the story of someone’s life, it is helpful, if not enjoyable, to start chronologically and walk through their early years. Begin with their birth as well as where and how they spent their childhood. As you move through the childhood and teenage years, mention some of the schools they attended, the organizations with which they were affiliated, and the activities they enjoyed. Feel free to pepper in memorable stories.

Bucky was born June 7, 1928, in Austin, Texas. He picked up the fiddle from the age of 4 with the help of his grandfather, Mendel Goldstein. His family moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1935 and became active members of Congregation B’nai Emunah, where Bucky celebrated his bar mitzvah in 1941. He attended Central Tulsa Highschool, where he showed a profound interest in poetry as well as western swing music. Bucky graduated from Oklahoma State University and married Ruby Glaser in 1952. He worked as a writer and editor for the Tulsa World until his retirement in 1993. He loved playing music for his children and grandchildren as with groups in the Tulsa area. Bucky will be remembered for his quiet wisdom, his warm sense of humor, and affinity for Tulsa.

Those They Leave Behind

At this point, some may mention the living family members of the individual. To guard the feelings of those who may be left out of this section due to word-count or writer error, it is recommended to finish this section fairly open-ended, i.e. “—as well as many other beloved family members and friends.”

Bucky is survived by his wife Ruby, children David, Betty, and Max, as well grandchildren Abigail, Jerry, Gabriel, Asher, Rachel, Ted, and great-grandchildren Levi, Rivkah, Ezra, and “Little” Bucky—as well as many other beloved family members and friends.

Next Steps

At this point in the obituary, it is customary to provide an address or organization where flowers or donations may be sent in honor of the person’s memory.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Bucky’s honor to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.


Nobody truly wants to write an obituary, but many find the process tremendously fulfilling. Treat this as an opportunity to recall the wonderful life that this person lived and the lives that they’ve touched. Know that the obituary you write will help fellow grieving friends and family members celebrate the life they led.