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Dealing with Grief

by Jessica B. May 17th, 2012 | Mental Health
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We live in a society that constantly pushes us to be positive, but part of the human experience is also the grieving process, the way we as individuals handle overwhelmingly sad and tragic situations. For some it could be a break-up, the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, a missed opportunity, or a tough diagnosis. These situations can bring about different emotions which take on both physical and mental symptoms.

Everyone deals with grief differently, and while there isn’t a one-size-fits-all way of handling grief that will carry you through, there are some things you should be careful to try to try to avoid – like burying your feelings.

There are five stages of grief which many people going through the grieving process are often able to identify with, but they should serve as a guideline rather than a grieving to–do list. Many people in grieving situations may skip a stage, or follow them out of order, but the list does help many to understand that their feelings are an OK.

Denial –The idea that the situation isn’t real, or the feeling that it must be a dream. Sometimes the person grieving tries to just go on with day to day life as if nothing has happened.

Anger – Why did this happen to me? Why do I get this, and other people get what they want?

Bargaining – The person grieving tries to negotiate – If this happens, I promise I will do that.

Depression – A deep sadness which might lead to weight loss, change in sleep patterns, and other physical symptoms.

Acceptance – The person who is grieving accepts the situation for what it is.

There are many different ways to cope with grief.

Friends and family – Some people lean heavily on friends and family. This works well if they have a healthy support system around them that listens to their feelings and respects them. A good support system won’t encourage you to just get over it, or encourage you to just move on.

Professional support – Grieving does not mean you are crazy or mentally ill, as it is a natural process. Sometimes working with an outsider, like a professional counselor, can help give someone perspective and confidence in their grief.

Support groups – Meeting and talking with people in a similar situation can be an important tool in the healing process. Look for a support group online or in person, whichever you might feel more comfortable sharing your feelings with.

Religion – Reach out to your religious community. If you are someone who has felt solace in faith, reaching out to your religious leader and the community can be a way to find comfort and support. They sometimes also have support groups.

Take care of you – It sounds obvious, but when people grieve, they often forget the important things like eating, getting exercise, and even breathing well. If you are too busy grieving to take care of these things, try to reach out to people to take care of frozen meals, and to join you for a walk around the block. Chances are, the people around you want to help.

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All health and medical information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the medical advice or treatment of your healthcare professional.