Grief Loss (12)

We all have that one situation that sticks with us, either because something terrible happened or because we felt embarrassed. This is a normal part of being human, but when does it become abnormal to which we still can't seem to forget something that has happened? If you still can't let go of something after years, this could be because you have trouble letting go.8771074891?profile=RESIZE_400x

  1. Your Negative Emotions Concern You

When something terrible happens in your life, it's expected that you will have negative emotions for a while following the event. If your event is the loss of a relationship, psychologists say the period of grieving changes based on the relationship's length and depth. So how do you know when it's gone on too long? 

Simple, it's gone on too long when even you think it has. If your negative thoughts seem excessive even to you, well, then you have an issue letting go, and it may be time to seek some outside assistance. 

  1. You Can't See Past What Happened 

Maybe it's been years, but every day you wake up, and for a second, you can't believe it happened. This is very common in people who have lost a partner or a family member in a traumatic and sudden manner. If the event that occurred is still clouding your every thought throughout the day years later, then it's definitely time to admit that you may have a problem. 

  1. You Fantasize About Other Outcomes 

At first, it may be normal to ask yourself the "what ifs" of what may have happened had the outcome been different. But if you find yourself still asking about the "what ifs" months and years into the future, it's a sign that the event is still on your mind, and you haven't entirely accepted its occurrence yet. It would help if you remembered that life goes on, and there is no way to go back and change what has happened. Until you recognize this, you will never be able to move on. 

  1. You Can't Forgive Those Involved 

If the event involved someone else, say a friend or family member, and you find yourself still angry at them every time you think of them, this is a sure sign that you haven't forgiven them yet. Forgiveness is a significant part of learning to let go of the negative feelings which hurt us. Sometimes if the event you can't let go of is the death of a family member or friend, you may find that spending some time learning about who they were helps you humanize them and be able to forgive them more easily. 

  1. You Still Haven't Forgiven Yourself 

The primary sign that you are having trouble letting go of something is that you haven't yet forgiven your role in the situation. To forgive others, you will need to learn to forgive yourself first. 

Venting to and having the support of family and friends can help with this step. Suppose you are still having trouble and are experiencing some of the other concerns on this list. In that case, it may be time to involve the outside help of a spiritual advisor, therapist, or other mental health professional. 

No matter what the event may have been, if you find yourself having trouble letting go of something, this can be a very serious problem. If left unchecked, negative emotions wreak havoc on our well-being. If you found a lot of these red flags in your own life, it may be time to admit that you need to seek outside help to learn to let go of a situation.

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We take a lot of good things for granted in our everyday life. Examples of this are a roof over our heads, a steady paycheck, a loving partner, the ability to go out for a run on the weekends. The specifics vary, but one of the significant advantages of modern lives is the many awesome things we can count on. We're not used to falling short, so when something happens, and our life starts to fall apart, it's easy to fall into thinking patterns that focus on lack and despair. 8162113488?profile=RESIZE_400x

Sometimes the bad things are a result of choices we made. Sometimes they are outside of our control. In either case, it is up to us to decide how we react to each crisis. One piece of advice that is important to remember no matter what adversity you face is to make sure you don't forget about how blessed you are. Gratitude can turn what we have into enough.

There's a quote I love and would like to share with you by Melody Beattie. "Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."

Think about how you can start to do this in your everyday life. An excellent place to start is merely taking a deep breath and pausing when things go wrong, and everything starts to feel overwhelming. Then come up with one little thing you are grateful for during this time. It can be something as simple as being able to breathe fresh, clean air or living to fight another day.

Find that something and start to build on it. What else are you grateful for? Keep making that mental list until the desperation begins to lift, and you can begin to think clearly. When you do, you can start to find your way out, no matter how bad things seem at first. And remember, you never know what good might come from the struggle you are facing right now. 

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, and don't forget to count your blessings and use gratitude to turn what you have into enough. Our ancestors were great at this. It's time we picked that habit back up. Remember, "All things work for the good of those who believe." When you cultivate this belief, you will see the lessons to learn when life is falling apart.

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The pain of loss can feel very overwhelming and stressful, especially in difficult times like these, where it feels like everyone is grieving in some form or another. It can be easy to push away and invalidate your feelings when comparing them to what others are going through, but it is important to sit down with them and recognize why you are feeling this way. It is crucial to process grief healthily so you can protect your emotional and psychological health.

There are many ways to support yourself emotionally, socially, and spiritually and below are a few techniques to do so. 5563076695?profile=RESIZE_400x

Acknowledging Grief

Recognizing that you are experiencing a loss of some sort during these challenging times is one of the first paths to recovery and support for yourself. Rather than comparing your loss to that of someone else, it is essential to realize that you are feeling these emotions for a reason. 

When you bottle up your emotions and make yourself feel invalid because of what someone else may be going through, your trauma and grief will continue to resurface. This will occur until you can sit with these feelings and acknowledge the grief you are experiencing.  


During times of grief, it is quite common to feel very intense and mixed emotions, and you may feel that you are on an emotional rollercoaster. These emotions can be confusing and can make you feel lost and out of touch with reality and the structure that you used to have. 

Connecting with yourself emotionally is very important through difficult times because it can allow you to properly surface your emotions and understand why you are feeling the way you are. This can be done through journaling and writing out the feelings you are experiencing so that you can analyze them and find patterns or trends. 

Another helpful way to experience your emotions and connect with your mind and heart is through meditation and deep breathing. These practices will help you to stabilize your emotional state and find a balance when your structure feels lost.


Without the ability to communicate face-to-face with friends and those who do not live with you during times like these, you can feel very isolated and lonely, which can make grieving much worse. It is tough to feel supported without the ability to interact with humans, so it is essential to recognize that it is normal to feel distant from the world.

With the ability to connect and communicate through technology, you may want to participate in group video chats with friends and group messages to feel as connected and supported as possible. This may help you to grieve your losses and still let out your emotions, so you do not feel like you are going through this alone. Often, it can be beneficial to know and acknowledge that others are going through the same things and feeling the same emotions as you are.


One of the ways that you can support yourself through difficult times and grieving is to understand and connect with your spirituality. Finding yourself in deep and intense emotions can be scary and may make you feel disconnected to your mind and body.

There are many ways to focus on your mind and spirituality to help you find connection and comfort during times of grief. It can mean spending more time in nature, discovering new breathing techniques to become more present and mindful, or reading spiritual books to learn new things.

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“Acceptance” is the last of the Five Stages of Grief developed by Elisabeth Kubler Ross & David Kessler. In short, the stage signifies the end of the grieving process and typically allows a person to return to their normal life.

Yet, there’s quite a significant misconception about this stage. So, let’s go over what the “acceptance” stage entails.5267302301?profile=RESIZE_400x

Misconception About the Acceptance Stage

Many people assume that the term “acceptance” in this case means that you’re okay with the loss. Yet, that’s not exactly true. Acceptance simply means that you’ve acknowledged that the loss will occur or has occurred.

Once you reach this final stage, you’ll likely experience a wave of calmness or peace. At that point, you’re ready to continue with your life and develop what you consider to be a new sense of normal.

Because of this misconception, others who are handling the same loss might feel you didn’t care all that much. After all, they might begin to wonder why you were able to move past the loss so quickly while they’re still struggling.

Don’t feel guilty about reaching the acceptance stage, especially if you reach it before somebody else who’s also experiencing the loss. Everybody grieves differently, and there’s no timeline on grief.

Creating a “New Life

Now that you’ve come to terms with the loss, your life will forever be impacted. After all, you can’t expect to return to your pre-loss life without experiencing at least a few minor changes.

So, your new life might entail….

  • Getting used to waking up alone or not having a person to reside with if your spouse passed away or you’ve gotten divorced
  • Getting used to your new limitations and asking for help if you’ve recently been diagnosed with a medical condition or disability
  • Getting used to building new friendships and connections after one of your most important friendships ends
  • Getting used to working for a new company or performing different tasks if you’ve lost your beloved job

A lot of it comes down to being comfortable adjusting to the new changes after the loss. It might take a while reaching this stage, but this stage allows you the chance to work through the grief and move on with your life.


Shifting Your Perspective

When you reach this stage, you’re most likely going to notice that your perspective is permanently altered. Rather than thinking about your lost loved one or the tragic loss, you might find yourself reminiscing about happy memories (or positive aspects) instead.

So, instead of thinking about how stressful their last few days were, you might begin to feel thankful that you were able to spend their last few days on Earth with them.

If you’ve gotten divorced, you might conclude that the relationship was toxic and that moving on is best for your emotional and mental health.

When a job or career path comes to an end, a new door will open to an even better employment opportunity that fits your strengths better.

Final Thoughts

The acceptance stage is perhaps the most important stage of grief, but not all people will be able to reach it. It takes a lot of time and emotional anguish to experience the acceptance stage.

You’ll know you’ve reached this stage when you slowly begin to return to normal life without having the grief hold you back. Your perspective will be shifted, and you’ll experience the grief through a new lens: A more positive one.

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“Depression” is the Fourth of the Five Stages of Grief that were created by Elisabeth Kubler Ross & David Kessler. This stage involves a sincere acknowledgment of the loss and a profound sadness because of it.

However, the depression stage can manifest itself in several ways. So, let’s go over what might happen when you enter into the “depression” stage.5266877077?profile=RESIZE_400x

Why Anger & Bargaining Turns to Depression

If you noticed the progression of the stages thus far, you’re beginning at a stage of complete denial and eventually leading yourself toward feeling your genuine emotions. So, you go from being angry about the loss to begging for a little more time.

Once you realize that no amount of begging will bring your loved one or relationship back, you begin to feel the sadness of knowing things won’t be the way they once were. That’s where depression rears its ugly head.

In this stage, you’ve come to terms with the fact that these changes or losses are really occurring and that there’s absolutely nothing that you can do about it. In actuality, all you can do is cope with your emotions.

What to Expect

You’ll probably spend a lot of time wondering what’s the point of even continuing with your life after this loss. After all, a significant part of your life was stolen from you, and you don’t know if you’ll ever fully recover.

Here’s what you might experience when you’re in the depression stage.

  • Inability to sleep despite feeling extremely tired or fatigued
  • Appetite changes, whether you’re eating to cope or just avoiding food altogether
  • Lack of control of your emotions, including crying and anger
  • A sense of loneliness
  • A lingering sense of anxiety

Though we can’t put a timeline on each stage of grief, the depression stage does tend to last the longest. At the same time, it’s practically the last stage of grief, as the next stage would be acceptance and returning to your everyday life.

When the Depression Stage Becomes Actual Depression

Even though the depression stage is a completely normal stage of grief, there’s a point at which it becomes something more severe. We’re talking about when depression from grief becomes an actual mental health condition.

So, how do you know whether your depression stage is clinical depression? Well, the depression tends to stick around a little longer than it usually would.

While those around you are slowly moving on with their lives and returning to normal, you’re still engulfed in the sadness and unable to function as normal.

Some other effects might become a little more severe, including….

  • Suicidal thoughts or just thinking about ending it all
  • Sleeping much longer than usual and have a hard time getting out of bed
  • Developing regret or guilt for things you did or didn’t do
  • Lack of enjoyment of activities or hobbies you once loved
  • Slacking on hygiene like showering, shaving, or cleaning the house

When you notice that your grief is lasting a little too long and that you’re in a downward spiral, it’s vital that you reach out for help and find professional health.

Final Thoughts

The depression stage is the last intense phase of the grieving process, but it begs to be felt. But, it also tends to be the longest stage of grief, so don’t be surprised if you have a low mood and intense sadness for a prolonged period of time.

The best thing you can do is to keep an eye on the depression stage and get professional help if it seems to be turning into clinical depression.

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Even though we all experience grief in different and unique ways, the grieving process is generally structured into five main phases. The grief process was first identified by a woman named Elisabeth Kubler Ross in 1969 and has allowed people to understand their emotions and feelings as they go through something very overwhelming. 

These phases may arise in different ways depending on the person and occur in a different order. Before discussing one of the stages, it is crucial to understand that everyone grieves for different periods of time and that no process is set in stone.5266504258?profile=RESIZE_400x

What is Bargaining?

The third phase of the grieving process is known as bargaining. When you are experiencing some form of loss, you may feel as if you would do anything in the world to change the situation or get rid of the pain. You are hoping to reverse the outcome of the situation and make things back to the way they were and are willing to lose anything.

When you feel lost and uncertain, the bargaining stage comes into play, and you may try to promise or request something from a higher power. This stage is unique from person to person because it deals with one’s spiritual connection and religious values. This is because you feel hopeless and want to influence and be in control of the situation.

Bargaining with a Higher Power

Bargaining usually involves some form of regret or self-reflection that is then turned into a promise for the future should the situation be reversed. For example, you may make a promise to God that if the outcome changes in some way or if your pain goes away, you will never act a certain way or make someone angry.

Another example is promising to change and improve yourself if the person gets healed from whatever they are going through. Bargaining is a very common form of grief because we often look to a higher power when we feel out of options or overwhelmed. We hope that by connecting with this higher power and proving something of ourselves, that we will no longer have to go through the pain. 

What-If and If-Only Statements

Along with speaking to a higher power in hopes of changing your situation, you are also continually questioning and reflecting on times with that person or the times when things were different. You may figure out ways that you could have controlled the situation or reversed it or may reflect on times where you could have been a better person.

Guilt goes hand-in-hand with bargaining. You question the past constantly in search of ways that things could be different to hold onto times when everything was more normal. This is a form of negotiation that is very common throughout the grieving process because you are left full of uncertainty and are in a state of shock. 

Overcoming Bargaining

It is essential to understand that bargaining is an inevitable part of the grieving process, especially for those who are deeply connected to a higher power or some form of religion. You may feel that if you change a certain aspect of your life or if things could have been different, the situation would be reversed. However, it is important to focus on coping in the present instead of playing out past situations. By focusing on moving forward, you will eventually be able to let go of the past and the regrets or experiences that are out of your control.

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“Anger” is the second of the Five Stages of Grief created by Elisabeth Kubler Ross & David Kessler. This is the first time in any stages of the grief process where you’re actually expressing your emotions and acknowledging the loss.

But, “anger” can mean a lot of things and it manifests itself in several different ways. So, let’s go over what to expect when you enter the anger stage.5265736454?profile=RESIZE_400x

Why Anger?

If you’re feeling sad because of the loss, why does it tend to show up as anger? Well, it all comes down to covering up your real emotions and hiding your sadness and grief from the outside world.

Think about it, you’re going through a tough time, and you’re overwhelmed with emotions overall. At the same time, you’re angry about the loss and just want to find someone or something to blame for your pain and suffering.

Targeting your anger toward specific people might be unwarranted, but it’ll most likely be your first method of coping with the loss.

What to Expect

You might find yourself angry at just about everyone and everything. It’s quite common to be a little snippy and short with people, even if they mean well and are just trying to lend a listening ear or a helping hand. Lashing out is common too.

Here’s a brief list of the potential sources of your anger.

  • Anger at the doctors or nurses for diagnosing your loved one’s medical condition (or not diagnosing it sooner)
  • Anger at yourself for not spending enough time with your loved one when they were healthy or alive
  • Anger at your loved ones for not understanding your emotions or how you’re affected by the loss
  • Anger at your spouse or significant other for breaking up with you or leaving you
  • Anger at how the world seems to be ganging up on you and how negative things keep happening to you specifically

Even though you know your anger isn’t rational, it feels as if it is at the time. The most important thing you can do is let others know that you’re struggling with your emotions and that you don’t mean what you’re saying.

Getting Through the Anger

While there’s no good way to rush the grieving process, there are some ways you can limit the effects that your emotions are having on those around you. That’s especially important when you find yourself lashing out at those who don’t deserve it.

First, take some time to yourself and allow yourself to process the loss. Give yourself some space to handle your thoughts and emotions alone first before you begin opening up to those around you.

Find good coping strategies. It’s not okay to take your anger out on other people, so find a healthier way to handle your anger. Intense exercise can help you to burn off some steam while going out into nature might make you feel more relaxed.

The goal isn’t to simply cover up the anger, but instead, find a better method of letting it out.

Final Thoughts

Anger is an unavoidable stage of grief (for the most part), but that doesn’t mean that it has to ruin your relationships with those around you. Remember that there’s nothing that could’ve been done, and hindsight is always 20/20.

Take some time to acknowledge your emotions, but understand that your impulsive anger won’t solve anything in this situation. Do your best to rid yourself of any lingering anger by finding a healthier coping strategy to avoid taking it out on other people.

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Grief from losses felt in life, whether death or otherwise is a natural process. To heal from grief is possible and can help protect your emotional and psychological wellbeing.

“Denial” is the first stage of the Five Stages of Grief compiled by Elisabeth Kubler Ross & David Kesler. In essence, this stage occurs when you first hear about the loss and insist that it’s not happening the way it appears.

But, there’s a lot more to this “denial” than what the word implies. So, let’s go over what happens when you’re in the “denial” stage.5237142873?profile=RESIZE_400x

What’s Meant by Denial

When a significant loss occurs, your first thought will likely be, “this can’t be happening.” For a little while after that, you might refuse to believe that the loss has occurred (or will occur) and continue life as usual.

It’s not that you don’t believe that the loss has happened, but that you don’t want to believe that it happened. As long as you convince yourself that they’re still alive, that you’re still together, or that you weren’t fired, everything is right with the world.

Avoiding Emotions

When you deny that something traumatic has happened, you’re avoiding any type of emotion that’s typically involved with grief. To the outside world, it might look as if you don’t care about the loss since you’re not showing any type of outward emotion.

By forcing yourself to stay within the denial stage, you’re making yourself more likely to experience delayed grief. So, instead of experiencing the emotions of grief right now, they’ll happen at a later date instead.

That means….

  • You might finally begin the grieving process days, weeks, months, or even years later
  • Any event or trigger can suddenly ignite the grief without warning
  • You’ll still experience the grief at some point
  • The suppressed grief will begin to wear away at your emotional and mental states
  • You’re only delaying the grief, not wholly avoiding it

The most harmful thing you can do when you’re grieving is avoiding your emotions altogether. So, make it a point to allow yourself to begin and continue through the grieving process to feel some emotions finally.

Slowly Transitioning

Denial is normal, but you’ll eventually find yourself transitioning over to a state of anger. The good news is, it likely won’t hit you out of the blue and at full speed.

Over a few hours, days, or weeks, you’ll eventually start to acknowledge to yourself what’s really going on formally. You’ll realize that the relationship is ending, your loved one is sick, or that you only have a few days left working at your current job.

Once it starts to set in, the emotions will begin to release themselves slowly. You might begin to question how you can continue with your life after such a traumatic and emotionally draining loss.

The important thing is to let yourself feel your emotions as they begin to take over. Remember that, as much as you deny that the loss is indeed happening, it doesn’t mean that it’s not happening.

Final Thoughts

Once a significant loss occurs, you’ll find yourself in a state of complete shock as you begin to dissect the emotions associated with losing someone or something you truly valued. However, this first stage is often void of emotion and leads you to a state of complete denial.

When you’re in the denial stage, you refuse to admit that you’re experiencing the loss or that it’s happening the way it seems to be. Over time, you’ll eventually come to terms with the loss occurring and begin to feel some sort of emotion.

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Grief and loss are unavoidable parts of the human experience.

Key Facts About Grief

  • Grieving is a process
  • The way out of grief is through it
  • Grief comes and goes
  • It takes time to go through the grief process and that time is highly individualized
  • Avoiding the process of grief can lead to serious emotional and psychological issues
  • The grief process is highly enhanced with support from others
  • By giving oneself time and grace, grief can be processed, and one can move forward in life

The Stages Of Grief5236594056?profile=RESIZE_400x

In 1969, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross first introduced what is now commonly referred to as the Five Stages of Grief. In her 1969 work, On Death and Dying, Kubler-Ross outlined these five stages as representing the feelings of those who have faced death and tragedy based on her many years of work with terminally ill cancer patients.

The stages she outlined were: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.


The initial stage outlined in Kubler-Ross’ process is denial. Denial is typically characterized by shock and numbness. The psyche develops a protective mechanism that initially causes the impacted individual to respond in disbelief (Kubler Ross stages of grief, n.d.). This helps us process what is happening by slowing the onset of our understanding, thereby allowing us to pace our emotions gradually over time (Kessler, 2013). 


Anger is the second stage of the Kubler-Ross model. Once the reality of what has happened sinks in, shock and numbness become replaced by rage and resentment. Though displayed as anger, this is genuinely just displaced pain. As the psyche tries to find a rationale for why the loss took place, in the initial stages, often there aren’t logical/acceptable answers. This lack of sense causes hurt, which we experience and project as anger (Kubler Ross stages of grief. (n.d.). Retrieved from


The third phase of the Kubler-Ross stages of grief is bargaining. This stage involves going to a higher power and mostly trying to bargain for the return of whatever is lost or in the process of being lost. 

An example might include asking God to save the life of a loved one pronounced brain dead or trying to make a deal with a boss to get a job back after just being fired. Bargaining can also be experienced as thinking in “what if” or “if only” terms. For instance, “What if I had done this?” or “If only I had done that.” This stems from a desire to return to a life before the loss, so one focuses on scenarios that could have potentially prevented the loss from occurring. 


Depression is the fourth stage of the Kubler-Ross model. This stage involves the realization that the loss is going to take place. Its characterized by deep sadness and sorrow regarding the loss. 

The length of this stage varies from person to person, and its duration and severity are heavily influenced by the type of loss experienced (i.e., physical, social, job, etc.). For some, this stage lasts days or weeks, while others can experience this stage for weeks or months.


The final stage of the Kubler-Ross model is acceptance. Acceptance is simply the realization and acknowledgment that the loss has occurred and is reality. This is not to be confused with the belief that a person agrees with the loss that has taken place; this simply means there is a realization that nothing can be done to change the outcome. Thus, the focus can be shifted towards moving forward versus trying to go back or getting stuck in the loss.

Grief Is A Process 

The process of grieving after a loss is just that, a process. It takes time to go through each of the stages outlined in the Kubler-Ross model, and there should be no pressure to rush through .these stages 

Individuals should take their time to experience the emotions and stages in their entirety so they can completely and wholly grieve and heal from the experienced loss. By giving oneself time and grace, grief can be processed, and one can move forward in life.


Johnson, P. (2007, February 1). Coping with death and grief. Retrieved from 

Kessler, D. (2013, October 15). Five stages of grief by Elisabeth Kubler Ross & David Kessler. Retrieved from 

Kubler Ross stages of grief. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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Grief is an entirely natural part of being a human being. At one point or another, every person alive will experience this emotion in their lifetime. Grief is a bit different than simply feeling sad or upset. It is a much stronger experience usually brought about by a dramatic life change, such as the death of a loved one or an unexpected diagnosis.

While everyone experiences grief, the way it manifests from person to person almost always varies. We are all unique individuals going through life with wildly different perspectives. However, there are responses to grief that are either healthy or unhealthy, regardless of who is experiencing them. 

In this article, we will discuss a few healthy and unhealthy responses to grief so that you are more aware of how you or someone in your life is handling a difficult place in life.5211042682?profile=RESIZE_400x

Healthy Responses

  • Allowing Yourself Enough Time To Heal

Given that grief is caused by traumatic life experience, it is crazy to think that getting through the process should be quick. Pretending like everything is okay and back to normal, feeling as if you should have gotten over it by now is nonsense. If you are in the grieving process, be kind to yourself. Realize that there is no set timeframe for your situation. This also goes for dealing with someone in your life going through a similar ordeal.

  • Distinguishing Between Alone Time & Isolation

It is normal to want to be alone more than usual when experiencing grief. Being alone is a healthy way to gather your thoughts and sort things out mentally. However, extended periods of isolation in which you shut yourself off to the outside world entirely, not the right decision. 

As humans, we are social creatures, and this includes dealing with difficult emotional situations. Giving yourself or someone you know time alone during the grief process is healthy as long as this does not turn into complete isolation. 

  • Feel Safe To Vent

Grief is one of the strongest emotions that a person can feel. Therefore, there is often a considerable buildup of emotional tension that, if kept bottled up, can be extremely detrimental moving forward. It is essential to understand that venting is okay, as long as it is not harmful to you or anyone else.

If you need the ear of someone close to you to pour your heart out, let them know. If punching your pillow for half an hour gives you a bit of peace, knock it out. Emotions of this magnitude must not be suppressed. 

Unhealthy Responses

  • Chronic Denial

Although denial is somewhat common in the early stages of the grieving process, this becomes unhealthy in a chronic state. In an attempt to protect itself, the mind will often try to block the traumatic event, forming a sort of fantasy in which it never happened. Among other things, chronic denial inhibits the healing process. When a person never accepts whatever terrible thing has happened, a vicious cycle occurs that never allows any resolution.

  • Risk-Taking Behavior

It is somewhat common for a person to engage in uncharacteristically risky behavior when dealing with grief. Whether to vent, suppress the hurt, or forget what has happened, the individual may turn to external coping mechanisms such as drugs, alcohol, or life-threatening acts. Why this is an unhealthy response needs no explanation.

However, it is crucial that if you are experiencing this behavior that you seek help. 

  • Excessive Guilt

When referring to excessive guilt, we are not talking about a situation in which you are grieving something for which you are responsible for. That is an entirely different animal. Instead, many people feel a sense of unwarranted guilt for a traumatic situation.

They feel like they could have done more to prevent it or like they may have been an underlying cause of the event. This response not only hinders the healing process, but it also takes an immense toll on a person’s emotional and physical health.

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What Is Grief

While the question posed by the title of this article may seem obvious, grief is a particularly interesting emotion. We all know that it is caused by an extremely unfortunate life event, such as the death of a loved one or a negative change of some sort, but pinning down an actual definition that sufficiently describes grief is not a simple task.5210164690?profile=RESIZE_400x

It is easy to see how grief is commonly used as a synonym for other emotions such as sadness, hurt, and frustration. Although there are similarities between these emotions, grief is an experience very unique to itself.  

First of all, the times in life when a person truly experiences grief are not fleeting moments that quickly fade away. People will always remember the periods in their life that were so upsetting and painful that they felt the real emotional discourse that grief entails.

On the other hand, feeling sad is a fairly common occurrence for the majority of individuals. Most of the time, sadness is resolved rather quickly, coming and going without any lasting changes to life. With sadness, there doesn’t tend to be a process for working through the situation. This is the same for other emotions often associated with grief, like hurt and frustration.

Grief is not a passing feeling that someone experiences for a moment or even a day, an experience that is forgotten as soon as the next emotion experienced takes its place. You are probably familiar with the term, “grieving process,” and this term describes what this emotion is a process. 

There are multiple stages of the grieving process that people tend to go through, although the order and duration of these stages almost always vary according to the individual. What is universal, however, is that reaching a state of healing after an event monumental enough to cause genuine grief takes time, sometimes a lot of it.

Another unique aspect of grief is that, unlike weaker negative emotions, unresolved grief can very easily disrupt a person’s entire life. For example, we have all heard of people becoming completely derailed after a tragic event.

This can look like substance abuse, wildly uncharacteristic behavior, isolation from the outside world, and complete loss of interest in hobbies and activities. Getting upset at a rude comment or becoming frustrated at a boss or colleague doesn’t possess nearly this much power.

Given that grief most certainly can become a detriment to an individual’s life far down the road, those experiencing it must be allowed to sufficient time to work through the process. 

Furthermore, dealing with grief alone is very difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish. Whether experiencing this emotion personally or being aware that someone else is going through it, being surrounded by those who care is critical, some feelings are too intense to be dealt with alone. 

Although odd, grief can also be a series of conflicting emotions. The death of a loved one is extremely saddening, whereas the knowledge that they are no longer experiencing the pain and suffering that went on for a long time due to a terminal disease can be comforting.

Moving out of a home filled with years of fond memories and leaving behind a familiar city can certainly feel tragic, but the excitement of a new job, new school, or new opportunities can ease much of the pain. Grief is an extremely complex emotional experience. 

So, what is grief?

Grief is a lot of things coinciding. It is deep sadness, loss, and hurt blended with release, newness, and resolve. Trying to place a concrete definition on such a strong emotion deprives the individual experiencing it the validation required to work through it.

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During these trying times, we are all grieving in different ways. People are experiencing tremendous losses, and many feel like they are grieving alone. Whether it be the loss of a loved one, a job, or the feeling of structure and routine, a loss is present for nearly everyone.

High school and college students do not get to experience the graduation ceremony they have awaited, and rituals and gatherings are postponed indefinitely. During these times more than ever, it is essential to be supportive and reach out to your loved ones, and below are a few ways to do so.5180815270?profile=RESIZE_400x

  1. Stay in Contact

During times like these, we all feel somewhat isolated and separated from some of our loved ones or friends. By reaching out with a phone call, text, or even a handwritten letter, you can make this person feel supported and connected. Keeping up with your loved ones and those who are grieving around you is crucial when there is a loss of human interaction.

  1. Refrain from Comparison

When talking through difficult conversations like death or other forms of losses, it may be easy to relate it to yourself to make the other person feel like they are not alone. However, this comparison can make them feel like their emotions are invalid and not understood. Rather than comparing their loss to yours, listen to what they are going through and be there for emotional support.

This allows them to express their emotions, and sometimes just talking about the situation rather than keeping it bottled up can help improve their situation.

  1. Assist with meals

When someone is grieving a loss, it can be hard to get off of the couch or out of bed to cook a meal. By going to the grocery store for them and preparing food for them, this can improve their day significantly and show them how much you support them.

When someone experiences a loss, their whole routine will feel out of line, and it will take time to adjust, so anything you can do to keep their routine moving will be greatly appreciated.

  1. Listen 

Although there are many ways to show your support for loved ones who are grieving, one of the most important things to do is just be there with open ears. Even though it may seem like the person needs advice, they often just need a place to let out what is going through their head and feel like they have someone there for support.

Unless asked for advice, the best thing to do is acknowledge their feelings and let them know that what they are going through is very typical during a loss.

  1. Avoid Judgement

Since everyone grieves in different ways, it may take your loved one a lot longer to adjust emotionally and mentally than you would expect. Instead of judging them and wishing that they would be back to normal, you need to let them adjust.

Especially during difficult and unpredictable times like these, someone may be grieving over something that you may not think is a big deal in comparison to other events going on. However, judging the situation and providing these types of opinions will only hurt the other person and make their feelings seem invalid.

There are many different ways to be supportive in times of grief, and these different solutions will vary based on the situation and what the other person is going through. It is essential to recognize that during times like these, people may be grieving things that stray from the norm, but being there for them and reaching out for support will help them in more ways than you could imagine.

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