Coping With Grief and Loss

Grief is a normal response to a loss, but there is not a typical, standard response to it. There are defined stages in the grieving process a person will go through. However, each individual will cope in their own way.

The loss of a loved one or something of value can be emotionally painful and overwhelming. How a person copes depends on many factors such as faith, nature of the loss and personality. Grief has no standard timetable. Some may heal quickly. For others it might take years.

But before an emotionally stricken person can begin the healing process, certain myths about grief must be dispelled. Following are a few examples:

· Ignoring the pain will make it go away quicker

· Be strong, put on a brave front and don’t show weakness for the benefit of family or friends

· You must cry or everyone will think you don’t care

There are 5 generalized stages of grief. They are:

· Denial:Refusal to accept what has happened

· Anger: Finding someone or thing to blame and vent

· Bargaining: Promising something if only the problem will go away

· Depression:Sadness

· Acceptance: At peace with the situation

However,not everyone who grieves goes through all of these stages or in this order. Some may experience none of them. The 5 stages were not intended to be a framework set in concrete, but just a guideline.

These are some strategies others have used to help cope with their grief:

· It’s important to get enough sleep and rest

· Take things one day at a time

· Maintain a normal routine

· Don’t mask pain with alcohol, medications or drugs

· Eat a balanced diet and stay hydrated by drinking sufficient fluids

· Exercise to relieve stress

· Be with those who can provide comfort

· Talk with others who have experienced grief

Besides the 5 stages, those in the grip of grieving may experience other physical symptoms. It’s not uncommon to have memory loss, irritability, difficulty concentrating and bad dreams. There may also be loss of appetite, sleep and fatigue from being emotionally drained. And often they are silent because of a sense of being isolated.

It’s important to understand these feelings and symptoms are natural and universal for all grief sufferers and to know they are not alone. Medical professionals generally agree loss of a loved one is the most painful type of grief.

However, Ross’s cycle, doesn’t always apply. Researchers have found several patterns. For example, some people suffer grief, and others show none.

In fact, some physicians have discovered avoiding grief sometimes helps recovery. Some who repressed their grief were psychologically and physically healthier after their losses than others who had grieved. An interesting discovery, but it shouldn’t be viewed as denial.

It should be noted here, male and females have been shown to grieve differently. Many women talk, cry and are outwardly expressive of their grief. Men on the other hand tend to be more close mouthed and less expressive of their inner feelings.

But, regardless of how one copes it has been revealed as many as one-third suffer physical or mental effects ranging from depression, anxiety and impaired immune systems to heart disease. It has also been shown those who are spiritually strong handle grief better than those who aren’t.

To assist a person with their grief there are a few things which may prove helpful. First, never force personal methods on them. Instead, respect the person and let them choose how to deal with it. It’s also important not to minimize a loss with statements like “Just get over it.” The simple act of being with a mourner and listening is sometimes the best method.

Here is a good link to available resources: http://www.webhealing.com/links.htm

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Comments 6 comments

Rachelle Williams profile image

Rachelle Williams 5 years ago from Tempe, AZ

You hit the nail right on the head when you wrote" It’s also important not to minimize a loss with statements like “Just get over it.”

I experienced crushing personal grief in 2008. At the time, I was in school, and one of my friends, a Psych PhD grad student no less..., pretty much told me to get over it.

I have since recovered from my grief, but I will never forget that absolutely ridiculous statement from someone who certainly should have known better.

Vote Up for a Great Hub!


JY3502 profile image

JY3502 5 years ago from Florence, South Carolina Author

Rachelle Williams, you're right. That was an insensitive remark by someone who should have known better. I wonder if they graduated?


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 5 years ago from South Africa

Well-written, covering all relevant facts about grief. Let's face it, JY, you are a brilliant journalist. Thumbs up!


JY3502 profile image

JY3502 5 years ago from Florence, South Carolina Author

MartieCoetser, I've had many years of practice and some good teachers. But there are better writers. Gives me something to shoot for. But great comments like yours help keep me inspired. Thanks Martie


frogyfish profile image

frogyfish 4 years ago from Central United States of America

You gave some useful advice and some physical activities to do as help for someone grieving; excellent tips, for we must care for our bodies so it can help care for our mind/emotions. Great helpful hub. I would like to link yours to mine on 'Passings..." if that's ok.


JY3502 profile image

JY3502 4 years ago from Florence, South Carolina Author

No problem. Feel free to do so, and thanks for asking.

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