There is no right or wrong way to grieve. But by learning about the different types of grief and the stages people go through, you can find a way to cope. Grief affects you mentally, physically, and emotionally. A recent study even showed grief to cause a drop in academic performance.
It’s a natural response to losing someone or something you were close to. You may experience all kinds of intense emotions from guilt to disbelief, shock, anger, and extreme sadness.
Your physical health may also be affected, making it difficult to eat, sleep or think clearly. While these are normal reactions to loss, each person will experience grief differently.
What Causes Grief?
Grief is often caused by the death of a loved one. It can also be caused by:
- A miscarriage
- Losing a job
- Loss of health
- Loss of a friendship
- Death of a pet
- Selling a childhood home
- Divorce or relationship breakup
- A loved one’s serious illness
Even subtle changes in your circumstances can trigger the onset of grief. But always remember, grief is personal to you and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. You shouldn’t feel that your grief is not appropriate when it’s something that means a lot to you.
You May Find Grief Comes in Waves
It’s important to remember that grief comes in waves. When you first experience loss, your grief may feel all-encompassing. But with time, it will come in smaller bouts and become easier to handle. Grief comes in waves for a variety of reasons including:
Being a Lot to Process
When you lose someone or something close to you, the news can come as a shock. You may experience numbness initially and not actually believe it has happened. Give yourself time to process what has happened/is happening.
You Need Time to Accept a New Reality
It takes time to get used to a new reality without that person or thing. You might forget that the person is not around and call out for them accidentally. Until it happens to you, you have no idea how you will respond. But know, that things will become easier with time.
Healing is Not Linear
One person dealing with grief may spend months crying and not being able to get out of bed. And another person can move through this stage quickly. You may even move backward and forward between the stages of grief.
Triggers are Everywhere
Small things can trigger waves of grief such as seeing your loved one’s jacket or the chair they used to sit in. These simple things can trigger anxiety, sadness or even a panic attack.
How to Support Yourself and Manage Grief
Everyone experiences grief in varying ways and for different lengths of time. Symptoms of grief can include sleep disturbances, no appetite, crying, dreaming about the person you’ve lost, and withdrawing socially.
Just know that it’s ok to ask for help when you’re ready. When the time feels right, there are a few ways to cope with grief such as:
- Getting out of the house
- Healing Meditation for Grief
- Getting support from family and friends
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