Grief is the natural response to loss

By Dr michelle Cooper - Good Health

Published 14/07/2015 | 00:00

Grief is a natural response to loss. Loosing someone or something you profoundly care about is very painful and distressing. The intense emotional and physical pain you feel is often unbearable and very difficult to explain. When grieving there in no quick-fix. The more significant the loss the more intense the grief will be. It is very necessary to work out, at this time, how you can help yourself to alleviate the power grief has over you.

Common to human experience is the death of a loved one, which is generally the most acute type of grief, but any loss can cause grief, such as:

•Loss of health

•Loss of pregnancy through miscarriage

•Divorce or relationship break-up

•Losing a job

•Loss of financial stability

•Loss of a treasured dream

•Death of a pet

Physical and emotional reactions to grief:

Physical Reactions


•Muscle tension

•Difficulty sleeping

•Difficulty eating/loss of appetite




Emotional Reactions






•Pining or Yearning


There are many viewpoints and theories about grief. Psychiatrist Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, introduced five individual stages of grief:

•Denial: People experience a sense of shock, numbness and disbelief. Denial helps you to absorb your feelings of grief.

•Anger: People are often angry and this can be a confusing feeling. It comes from a sense of frustration that there was nothing one could do to prevent death occurring. People may feel an injustice was done and may feel angry with medical staff, God or angry with themselves about things they did or did not say or do.

•Bargaining: Feelings of helplessness and vulnerability fuel a need within to regain control of your life. You may puzzle yourself with if only and what if questions at this time, for example, "If only I had helped more..." "If only he/she had sought medical care sooner..."

•Depression: Feelings of emptiness, despair, yearning. You may feel emotionally unstable and cry a lot. Feelings of sadness and loneliness may prevail.

•Acceptance: Accepting the deep and painful reality that your loved one is gone. Acceptance may help you to have more good days than bad days.

Not everyone who grieves will go through all of these different grieving stages. Grieving is unique and very individual. If you do go through these stages of grief you may not experience these feelings in sequential order.

Don't worry about what you should be feeling or the stage of grief you are supposed to be in. The most important thing is to acknowledge your loss and give yourself permission and time to grieve.

Next topic: Coping with loss.

Wexford People

Read More