The grieving process is hard. Everyone deals with grief differently, but if you understand your emotions take care of yourself, seek support, you can heal in a very healthy and natural way.
Grief is a natural human response to a loss of something important in your life. It is a response to either losing someone or something like a job. Grief is hard and during the process, you will feel multiple emotions especially sadness and loneliness. In life, we all lose things that are close to us and important to us. I am sure that all of us have lost a loved one, a relationship, getting laid off from a job, moving into a new home, or other life-changing events.
Two related articles that may help you during the grieving process: 28 Ways to Reduce Anxiety and 24 Ways to Manage Stress.
Grief is hard, no one said it was going to be easy.
Stages of Grief
There are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These are scientifically proven tools in order to help us frame and identify what we feel at certain points in the grieving process.
Do not look at them in order for the grieving process to end. Not everyone that is grieving go through all of the five stages or in any particular order. The stages are more about coming to the knowledge of emotions that you feel when you lose something or someone.
Understanding these emotions make you better equipped to cope with life and all the challenges that come with loss. Grief is hard and everyone deals with it differently, there is no cookie-cutter way to heal or cope with it. Just as you are unique, so is dealing with grief for each individual person.
The first of the stages of grief is denial. In this stage, our life may seem to be meaningless and overwhelming at times. This is due to the shock that experience of the loss that we have suffered. The state of denial helps us to survive loss because we actually go numb. Most days we wonder how we can keep living each day and becoming numb helps us to get through grief and survive.
Denial helps us to deal with our feelings in a very slow way. When we have lost something that we love our emotions deal with it as a marathon and not a race. It’s our human bodies response to only handle a little bit at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed. When you start to accept the loss in reality, that is when you start to begin the healing process. As time goes on you will understand more and the denial phase will begin to fade out.
Anger is truly necessary in the order of the healing process. Feeling anger is not a bad thing. During a time of grieving you have to feel your anger, don’t be afraid to express it in a healthy way. The more you feel your anger the more you will heal from it. Never suppress any emotion that you have, if you lock it up inside you without dealing with it, it will eventually be surfaced and destroy you.
Anger is one of the most easily manageable emotions. Anger really has no limits and you’ll begin to blame everybody: friends, family, doctors, and even blame God. The reason why you are blaming God is that you are feeling abandoned. You start getting irrational when at this stage, and start getting mad for no reason. You may get mad someone who knows you’re hurting and has not reached out to you. Being angry someone gives you an anchor into the real world. Often times in the stages of grief it is like you being lost in the desert. Finding someone to be mad at is a natural way of grounding in reality. Anger is not always a bad thing, it means that you actually cared.
When you know a loss is coming do you start to bargain. Sometimes we try to bargain with God, “Please God don’t let my mother die, I promise I will start going to church.” “God, I will believe in you if you just spare my grandma.” We start talking about “if only…” or “what if…” types of thinking. ‘If I would’ve done xyz my spouse wouldn’t be leaving me.’ ‘What if I would have gone to the doctor sooner, I could have saved myself from cancer spreading.’ Guilt is often associated with bargaining. As humans we feel pain, that is part of life, but we so badly want to run away from it. If we do not face the pain then it will persist and drag on for weeks, months, and years. We need to experience the loss and stop bargaining and feeling guilty.
Shortly after bargaining, we start to move into the present time. This is when emptiness and empty feelings show up. When this happens are grief enters in a more deeper level, sometimes deeper than we had ever thought. This part of the depression stage lasts a long time, or at least that’s how it feels.
We have to remember that being depressed is not a sign of mental illness. Depression is actually an appropriate response to suffering and loss. When we lose something in life we think that depression is an unnatural feeling and we should fix it. Of course, losing someone is very depressing and depression is an appropriate response. Not to experience depression when someone you love passes away is unusual. The most important thing to understand is that grief is a process of healing and depression is one of the necessary parts.
We often think that acceptance is confused with being ‘okay’. Most people never have this feeling of being ‘okay’ about the loss something important in their lives. This stage is mostly about excepting that I love someone that is physically gone. It is about accepting this new reality that has presented itself, and that this reality is a permanent one. Of course, we would rather have a reality in which our loved one was here with us, but we have to accept this new reality.
This is where we learn to live with it and understand that this is the new normal. Most people try to resist this reality and people try to live life as this the loss never happened. Our lives have changed forever and we need to readjust to reality. Finding acceptance is more about just having more good days and bad ones. Sometimes if we feel like we are having a good day we are betraying our deceased. Instead of denying this new reality we need to we need to invest in new relationships that benefit us and others, we need to live again but we cannot until we have accepted this new reality.
How Grief Changes You:
When we mourn the loss of a loved one we still have emotional ties to that person. That means we still have love in our heart and we need to express that in some way. Just because someone has passed away doesn’t mean that our relationship with them has. Of course, it changes the relationship but we can continue our relationship in a more spiritual way. Everyone’s experience will be different depending on their relationship with this person. The biggest thing about your emotions is being honest in everything. After someone has passed away it is healthy to use those emotions in healthy ways.
After someone has passed away grief is hard and we are usually in a state of shock, our thinking is impaired, and we lack the ability to concentrate and focus. It seems like all we can think about is the person that we have lost. This may be for the first few weeks, months, or even years. Usually when you’re in the state of mourning is best to have structure, This means having to do lists, notes for yourself, goals for the day, and reminder alerts. It is important to remember activities such as paying your bills, and in this time of mourning, it’s usually best to ask someone around you to help you with making in important life decisions. Part of grieving this understanding that you’re thinking it is foggy and it is best to organize your life in give it some structure.
Our bodies are connected to our emotions, our mental abilities, and our physical strengths and weaknesses. One of those three affects the whole body. Think about when you don’t feel good physically, and how it can affect you feel mentally or emotionally. When you mourn the loss of someone, it takes the same effect. If you used to have a sharp mind, that mind will be dulled. A loss can result in the roller coaster of emotions and it can be expressed in very physical ways because of stress and uncertainty.
Common symptoms of grieving the are headaches, backaches, and stomach aches. The stress of mourning can compare our lower our immune system, slow down response times, and impair our judgment. When mourning it is important to be physically active in some way and if you have constant pain go to your doctor and check it out. Make sure that all those around you know that you are mourning and don’t expect the same you, at least not for awhile.
When we are in a state of loss we tend to isolate ourselves or that can be a temptation. When we are in a state of mourning and grief has overcome us we may not feel so sociable. The normal every day ‘hey how are you doing?’ small talk that we experience, will become an annoyance. All the social aspects of our life when mourning is put on the sideline because our mind can only think about one thing. It is shortly after we have lost something that cares about that’s our life quickly becomes under the microscope by all those around us. Of course, people are worried about us, but sometimes people will give us empty affection or try to fix the problem by saying nice things to us. It is true that we need others to help us heal, But make sure and let people know if you need some space.
Whenever we have a major event in our life such as loss it can change how we feel about our spiritual beliefs. Especially with the death of a loved one. Sometimes we realize what we actually believe, and sometimes we change some of our views because of circumstances. Reviewing our beliefs doesn’t always mean that we are losing our faith, it is meant to make our faith stronger. It is important for our faith to be tested no matter what religion you come from. People are angry with God, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to lose your faith. I think God understands when you are going through and understands why you’re mad at him. Just make sure you are experiencing all of your emotions in a very healthy way.
12 Ways to Cope With Grief
Give yourself time.
Is important when you’re grieving to give yourself time to process what has just happened. Your reality is changing and sometimes it can be hard to accept. It is important to let others know like friends and family what you are going through, tell them not to worry and tell them the times when you need your space.
Talk to others.
Usually when we are mourning it is hard for us to muster up the energy to talk to others. But when we have those opportune times and those little bursts of energy, it is important to reach out to friends and family. The worst thing you do when you are mourning is to isolate yourself.
Take care of yourself.
Mourning can be a very stressful process mixed with all kinds of emotions. You need to take care of your body emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Do not let this cripple your life after the mourning process is over. Go get a breathe fresh air, go for walk, go to the gym, go get a massage, or do anything that will help take some stress off.
Find a hobby.
If you had a previous hobby and you want to pick it up again, now is a perfect time. Or if you have never had a hobby, this would be a perfect time too busy yourself with something productive. Hobbies can take our mind off of stressful situations and give us a nice break from our new reality.
It is always nice to talk to people who are going through the same things that you are going through right now. Sometimes it seems we are receiving emotional support from people who do not understand the grieving process or what you are going through. Each town I’m sure it has some sort of support group that you can view part. If anything you go to your local church and find a leaving group or just a group that you can be around.
Seek out people.
You need to find people in your life that care. Sometimes we think that the best of our friends will be there for us in times of need and that’s not the case. You really see who cares about you in times of trouble. Many times in my life I have experienced unexpected people help me through the hardest times, not my best friends.
Express your feelings.
Is important not to suppress any feelings that you are having. It is important to feel what you are feeling and spend some time throughout the day feeling your emotions and walking through them rather than avoiding.
See your doctor.
Seeing a doctor can be scary, and I know that not everybody likes to do it. But seriously, in times like this, it is good for you to just go get a checkup and tell your doctor how you’re feeling.
Acceptance is one of the most the Important stages of grieving. The closer you come to accepting the new reality the faster you will heal. But healing comes sooner for some people than for others. Don’t be discouraged if you take months or even years to heal from the loss.
Be patient with yourself, this is very hard time and may take a long while for life to get back to normal adjusting to your new reality. Don’t dwell on the situation but start living your life.
In times of mourning often we see that our faith is tested. This is an important time for you to figure out what you actually believe. Whether it strengthens your faith or makes it worse. You need to question your purpose in life, this will help you in the grieving process.
Sometimes you just needed a trip to get away. Take a day trip on the weekend or take an extended vacation. Get out and do something, do not stay stuck in your house, you need to be active. Travel can be fun can take your mind off of reality for a little while.
Getting therapy also may be an option, find great psychologists online. Click here.