Today, you’re going to learn how to heal a grieving heart using grief activities for adults.
The Five Stages of Grief
In 1969 Swiss doctor, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, introduced a five-stage model of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance— that became the most well-known theory about grief.
Denial helps us survive the initial emotional shock of the loss.
During this stage, we feel numb, which helps us cope with the first weeks and months after a loss.
Eventually, a range of overwhelming emotions will return once we begin to understand the implication of the loss.
It’s not uncommon to find ourselves extremely angry after a loss. We might feel angry at medical personnel who attended to our lost loved one, or at people who did not attend the funeral and show us support.
Anger can be a powerful emotion that gives us strength but be careful how you express this anger outwardly. Find healthy ways to release it.
During this stage, we are trying to find ways to alleviate the pain we are feeling over the loss by bargaining with a higher power or with ourselves.
You may find yourself preoccupied with “What if” questions.
At this stage, grievers find themselves truly facing the loss, which can bring on heavy feelings of sadness and emptiness.
Some of us dwell on feelings of hopelessness about the future or about how we will ever live without our lost loved ones.
While these feelings are essential for our healing, some people will need additional support and work to move through this stage and be able to function effectively.
This is when grievers reach a level of acceptance about their loss.
This might not mean that you’re okay that your loved one died, but you come to accept that you will have to live your life without them as your embrace your new normal self and life.
However, these five stages were originally intended to be applied to patients who were dying, not patients who were grieving.
First, the patients are in denial.
After that they became angry.
Then they start to bargain—with themselves, with the medical staff, and even with their higher power.
Then they face their illness and become depressed.
At the end, most patients reach a level of acceptance.
For this reason, the famed five stages don’t work as smoothly when applied to a person who is grieving.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross explained later that when applied to grieving people, the stages are not meant to be a linear and predictable progression. (*)
Can Grief Cause Anxiety?
In her book Anxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief, Author and grief therapist, Claire Bidwell Smith, argues “anxiety that stems from loss is more common than most people realize.”
Many people who experienced loss, reported experiencing anxiety and panic attacks, that usually manifest in such real physical symptoms, and without understanding how grief can cause anxiety, most people won’t realize that anxiety is the source of their problem, rather than a heart attack.
Whether the loss is recent or decades old, and whether anxiety is severe or just enough to make your life uncomfortable, going through this stage of grief and learning how to get a grip on it, is essential for your healing process.
Why Grieving Individuals Experience Anxiety?
The shock that comes with losing someone significant is a significant catalyst for fearful thoughts and worries, which in turn leads to anxiety.
Grief-related anxiety usually comes from three places:
1. Trying to avoid and suppress the strong emotions that come with loss, which leads to unresolved grief and tension that builds up and manifest in anxiety and panic attacks.
2. The stark reminder that loss brings uncertainty.
3. The nature of the death itself, especially when it is too traumatic to watch or hear about how your loved one died.
How To Alleviate A Panic Attack?
1. Remind yourself that you are healthy, that this is part of your grieving work, and there is nothing physically wrong with you.
2. Take a few deep, calming breaths to regulate your heartbeats and blood pressure.
3. Bring your attention back to the present through mindfulness (engage your senses in the task at hand) and grounding exercises.
4. Call a safe person who knows you well and tell them you are feeling anxious. Saying it or writing it down will help alleviate your anxious feelings.
If you can’t think of a safe friend or family member who’s willing to listen, try 7cups of tea – it is an online service with thousands of volunteer listeners stepping up to lend a friendly ear.
5. Meditate and visualize something calming.
6. Remind yourself that these feelings won’t last forever – that you are not stuck in the attack.
+30 Grief Activities For Adults
There is no right way to grieve and there is no quick and easy way to move on.
In her book On Grief and Grieving, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross writes about depression, “See it as a visitor, perhaps an unwelcome one, but one who is visiting whether you like it or not. Make a place for your guest. Invite your depression to pull up a chair with you in front of the fire, and sit with it, without looking for a way to escape.”
This quote applies, not only to the depression stage but to all stages of grief, too.
Most people push themselves to move quickly past their grief and return to their normal lives, but grief isn’t going anywhere until you allow it to course through you.
#1. Give Yourself Permission to Grieve
“Time heals all wounds” is an overly simplistic and optimistic cliché surrounding grief and loss.
Time alone won’t heal your wounds. The truth is, “we don’t heal what we don’t feel.”
That’s why you need to give yourself full permission to grieve in whatever way feels right to you and for however long it is going to take.
During this period, allow yourself to feel your emotions and refrain from telling yourself, or allowing other people to tell you things like: “You should be over this by now” or “You shouldn’t feel this way.”
At the same time, keep in mind that how hard or how long your grief has no correlation with how much you love the person.
This means to give yourself permission not to grieve or to take breaks from grieving. Appreciate these moments of pleasure and remind yourself that it’s okay to take a time-out, if and when you’re able to.
#2. Be Kind With Yourself
Kindness is the best gift you can give yourself, especially after a sudden loss.
But how is this possible?
Imagine a dear friend who has just suffered a loss. Think about how you would reach out and support her, if only emotionally.
You might sit with her. Listen to her story and how she feels about it. You might also help her take care of herself, bring her dinners, offer to shop for her, and show her all the kindness you can muster.
Now do the same for yourself!
Where do you begin?
Start wherever you are. If your house is a mess, start by cleaning it or getting help cleaning it. Go back to the gym. Stop any addiction you’re using to numb your feelings.
If you’re someone who keeps himself busy to numb your feelings, consider easing your schedule and using that time to take care of yourself and sit with your emotions.
Go Back To Basics
Eat, breathe, exercise, and sleep every day, even when you don’t feel like it.
Grief can affect physical health, and vice versa. That’s why taking care of your health can also improve your overall level of wellness and put you in a much better state for healing.
#3. Join A Grief Group
Grief groups are usually offered through bereavement centers or hospices. Hearing stories of people who have experienced a loss similar to yours, and getting to share your own story can have profound healing effects.
#4. Try Online Grief Forums
Similar to joining a grief group, online grief forums offer the opportunity to share your story with other people who can relate and read other stories of loss that will help to normalize your own and feel less alone.
Online Grief Communities And Workshops
Loss Of Spouse Or Partner
Loss Of A Child
#5. Find More Grief Resources
Read books about grief and lookup grief resources on the internet.
Most grief organizations now have Web pages:
#6. Talk About It With A Safe Friend Or Family Member
Choose a safe friend or family member and let them know that you need to share this loss with them.
If you can’t think of a safe friend or family member who’s willing to listen, try 7cups of tea – it is an online service with thousands of volunteer listeners stepping up to lend a friendly ear.
#7. Ignore Hurtful or Unhelpful Advice
Often, well-intentioned people will unknowingly hurt you by giving you unhelpful advice, such as:
- It was God’s will.
- Be grateful it was quick.
- Time heals all wounds.
- I know how you feel.
- Move on with your life.
- Keep your chin up.
- Think of all you have to be thankful for.
- Now you have an angel in heaven.
Remind yourself that these are well-intentioned people who didn’t know what else to say.
#8. Find A Therapist
Talking to a therapist can be invaluable to your grieving process.
A therapist can offer a safe environment in which you can share even the hardest parts of your story that perhaps you don’t feel comfortable sharing with friends and family members.
Online therapy is also an option. It can be much more affordable than in-person therapy, but can be equally effective. (source)
I recommend Calmerry for affordable online therapy.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.
#9. Write About Your Loss
Writing about your grief is a direct way to externalize your loss and find a way to reconnect to your loved one.
You can do that through journaling regularly. Write down how you’re feeling at the moment and go on from there.
When you lose someone significant in your life, communication ceases with that person. But you might still have a lot left unsaid, that you wish you could tell them.
Writing about your grief in the form of letters, that you don’t send, to your loved one, can help you restore a sense of connection with them.
These letters help you work out any unfinished business you may have, such as anger, guilt, and any other unresolved tensions.
Write a letter to your loved one about:
- All that’s happened in your life after they died.
- Something you feel guilty or sorry about that you wish to apologize for.
- All the ways they made you feel loved and supported during their life.
- Your favorite memories together.
Other outlets to externalize your grief can involve making a work of art, through painting, ceramics, collages, scrapbooking, etc.
#10. Address Feelings of Disbelief and Dissociation
The death of a loved one might seem very surreal to you.
Despite knowing that the loss is real, there can be moments when you forget or even pretend that it’s not.
You might also experience feelings of disconnection or numbness.
Recognize that this is a self-protection mechanism that’s trying to shield you temporarily from the full extent of the intense emotions associated with your loss.
This protective shield allows us to function during times of crisis.
What Should You Do?
Ease yourself out of the disbelief state by replaying the circumstances around your loss.
Tell a safe person, or write about how and why it happened.
Doing this will bring a wave of difficult emotions. But remind yourself that the only way through it, is through it.
If the state of disbelief lasts more than a month or is getting worse, seek professional help.
#11. Address Feelings of Guilt and Regrets
In the wake of losing someone you love, it’s only natural that you’re left with a feeling of remorse over something left undone or unsaid.
You might feel guilty for not being there at the time of death, not saying goodbye properly, not apologizing for something, taking the person for granted and not spending more quality time with them, not doing something that could have prevented the death or suffering, and even for feeling relieved about the death, especially after a long mental or physical illness.
When you lose someone you love, it feels as though a door has been forever shut, so we try to push away everything that is left unspoken and we resist the impulse to find closure.
But there are still ways to make amends and work through these painful regrets.
So how do we go about releasing the guilt?
Although you might not be able to change anything that happened, acknowledge your regrets and guilt, and voicing their regrets out loud, can help you process them, make amends and forgive yourself.
1. Recognize And Acknowledge Your Regrets And Guilt
Recognize that your guilt is fueled by your personal beliefs about yourself and about the situation.
Examine your beliefs by asking yourself the following questions:
What did you expect of yourself that you were not able to do?
Were those expectations realistic?
Would your loved one forgive you now?
If someone you love dearly did the things you regret, what would you say to them to help release their guilt? Now, try saying it to yourself.
What do you suppose your deceased loved one would say to you in this situation? Write about it in your journal.
What have you learned from this mistake that you can apply to your current life?
2. Forgive Yourself
Even if you said goodbye properly, you’re still going to come up with things that you didn’t get to say or do.
Some people unconsciously hold onto their regrets and guilt believing that if they let go of them, they’re let go of the person they loved. But releasing negative emotions around the death doesn’t mean that you’ve forgotten your loved one.
Imagine your loved one was here right now, and ask yourself, what would they tell you to do?
Forgiving yourself is a skill that takes self-compassion and so much practice.
#12. Release Feelings of Anger and Blame
You might be angry with a loved one who died, the doctors or those involved in your loved one’s death, at yourself, or even at God.
You might also feel resentful of people who still have their loved ones alive.
Sometimes your anger doesn’t have a target. It just hits anyone and anything within range; the people who ask you how you’re doing, the ones who don’t, the people who seem to be able to live their lives normally while you can’t, etc.
These emotions are normal and can be part of your grieving process.
What Should You Do?
On your journal or a sheet of paper, write down the names of people you are angry with.
If you find it difficult to pinpoint, you can get back to it as you go on through your grieving journey and begin to notice these emotions.
Next to each name on your list, write down what triggered your anger and answer the following questions:
- Do you think your anger was warranted? If so, explain.
- How has your anger affected you or the other person?
- What can you do in each situation to clear out your anger and resentments?
#13. Manage Feelings of Sadness and Despair
The feelings of sadness and despair you feel when grieving can be overwhelming.
You might find yourself questioning whether life is still worth living, whether you’ll ever be able to feel happy again.
Although grief may lead to depression, grief in and of itself is not depression.
Feelings of sadness and despair are a healthy reaction to your loss.
This isn’t to say that there are not individuals who are in need of clinical treatment for depression, but oftentimes, people would turn to medication in an attempt to avoid, control, or make their grief go away, rather than sorting through their painful emotions.
#14. Find Ways To Stay Positively Connected To Your Loved One
Write a Letter to Your Loved One – in which you tell them all that is left unsaid and apologize for all that is left undone.
Visualize Saying Good-bye – Find a quiet place where you can sit down uninterrupted. Take a few calming, deep breaths and relax. Close your eyes and visualize your loved one before you.
Feel their presence and take as much time as you need to tell them all that you wanted to say.
Open yourself to receive a message from them, whether it was a message of forgiveness or advice, or simply love.
Do Something in Honor of Your Loved One – If they were passionate about a particular cause, try to contribute to it in some way. If they used to help some people, try to continue helping them.
You can also honor them by doing any kind of good deed in their honor.
#15. Trust Your Capacity to Heal
When the loss is recent, it’s hard to imagine yourself surviving the pain, much less being happy again.
This is why you need to trust your capacity to heal and move on, even when your feelings are telling you otherwise. Over time, your grief will soften and you will find ways to be happy again.
Make a commitment to actively and positively influence the course of your grief journey.
Resilient Grieving: Take Charge of Your Life
The best way to honor your lost loved one is to keep coming back to loving life.
What Is Resilient Grieving?
Resilient grieving is about being proactive in your grief process and finding the right balance between grieving and resilience.
Resilient grieving is the idea that we can still take active steps to find strength, learn healthy coping tools in the face of loss, and create new ways to make meaning out of our experiences despite the pain. (*)
Resilience doesn’t imply that you shouldn’t allow yourself to cry and feel sad.
Allow yourself to cry and mourn but also examine your coping methods and proactively begin to reshape your life, instead of letting your world fall irrevocably apart as a result of your loss.
#16. Create a Routine
Create a regular schedule and routine to help soothe the brain and let your subconscious mind know that you are safe.
This has a calming effect on the body and central nervous system, which in turn reduces your anxiety and other bodily responses that can easily trigger a panic attack.
#17. Examine What Is Working
The best way to determine whether your coping skills are healthy or not is to ask yourself if your thoughts and behaviors are “helping or harming in the long run.”
#18. Restore in Nature
Restorative environments – outdoor places that are accessible and quiet, such as a park or your yard help reduce feelings of anger, anxiety, fatigue, and sadness.
Even if there is no safe outdoor space where you live, looking out a window to a patch of sky, or having indoor plants can have the same restorative effect.
Across Canada, people have formed walking groups for grieving people. They meet and listen to each other. And then they walk together.
Commit to sitting outdoors ten minutes a day, as the weather permits.
Pay attention with all your senses. Feel the breeze blowing across your face. Watch a cloud moving.
#19. Ask for Help
Strength and resilience are about finding the courage to be vulnerable and allowing other people to help when you need help.
Letting safe people around you know what you need—whether that’s household help, financial help, or simply someone to listen—can ease the burden of your loss.
#20. Nurture Your Physical Body
In the face of loss, it’s common to experience a lack of appetite, lethargy, and sleeplessness.
But taking care of your physical body is vital in your grieving process and reducing feelings of anxiety and even panic attacks.
#21. Use Distractions Every Now and Then
Dwelling on negative thoughts can become a habit. Externalize these thoughts and seek help in reprocessing them and let go of them.
Distract yourself with positive activities and healthy habits to break this pattern.
#22. Think Positive
Right after death, it’s natural to experience feelings of anger, regret, sadness, numbness, and many other difficult emotions.
Allow yourself to acknowledge these emotions.
It’s going to be difficult for a while, but over time, you can be happy again.
Studies show that the human mind has the power to create its own reality. If you deliberately challenge your distorted negative beliefs and cultivate positive ones, your mood and life will change, too.
Visualize yourself achieving your goals and having fun. You may not be able to live these realities today, but seeing yourself doing these things will help you achieve that future.
Getting Back to Life: Increasing Your Positive Emotions
#23. Practice Gratitude
A number of studies link feeling grateful with well-being and positive emotions.
Keep a Gratitude Journal
Make it a habit to start your day by writing at least 5 new things large and small that you appreciate.
The goal is to help you shift your focus from longing for what you don’t have to acknowledging and feeling content with what you already have.
Oftentimes, we take the blessings in our lives for granted. Take a moment to imagine what your life would be like without these blessings.
Thank People in Your Life
Write to someone and let them know you are grateful for something they did for you or gave you:
* Write an email to someone who came by and tell them you appreciated their visit.
* Write a letter to someone whose presence has made a profound difference in your life.
You might choose not to send these emails or letters. This is completely fine. The goal of the exercise is to increase your feelings of gratitude.
If you believe in a higher power, prayer can bring so much relief because it means taking your feelings and articulating them to a higher power.
Pray for the person who died. Pray for the strength to survive your pain and to find meaning.
Laughter restores hope and helps you survive the pain of grief.
Laughing and enjoying yourself doesn’t mean that you’re somehow betraying the person who died or that you’re not missing them.
#26. Give to Others
This may seem counterintuitive, but one of the best ways of recovering from loss is to help someone else, especially when you do it in memory of your loved one.
Helping someone else can give you a sense of purpose and control, and this is exactly what you need at this time.
Related: How to Cultivate Compassion and Become an Altruistic Person?
#27. Transform Your Suffering Into Purpose
Many people choose to transform their suffering into purpose, devoting themselves to a cause larger than themselves and their pain.
For instance, Candy Lightner, whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, started the group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
The parents of Matthew Shepard, who was brutally murdered for being gay, became strong advocates for LGBTQ rights and helped pass a federal law called the Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA).
Some people would volunteer with causes that are meaningful to them and their deceased loved ones.
#28. Integrate Your Loss
Integrating your loss into your life is one of the best predictors of whether someone will move forward positively.
This is because the goal isn’t to find closure. Your relationship with your loved one doesn’t end with death.
It is much healthier to remain open to the love and memories and to integrate the relationship you had with your loved one as part of the larger whole of who you are becoming.
This can be done through:
- listening to songs,
- reminiscing, and
- talking about your lost loved one in a positive and productive
In your journal write about:
- What you loved and learned as a result of your relationship with your loved one.
- The highlights of their life and of your relationship with them?
- Your favorite memories?
- Their best character traits?
#29. Be Aware of “Grief bursts”
A grief burst is an unexpected and powerful wave of sadness or sorrow which may be triggered by a variety of things including a song, a picture, seeing someone who resembles the person who died, a memory, a smell, a phrase, a holiday, an anniversary, etc.
These grief bursts can seem to come of out nowhere, even long after the death, and can be frightening and painful.
Allow yourself to experience grief bursts without self-judgment.
#30. Top Books For Coping With Grief
Reading about grief can help you feel less alone.
1. How to Go on Living When Someone You Love Dies – Dr. Therese Rando
Dr. Therese Rando is a pioneer in the field of grief counseling. Her comprehensive and illuminating guide to grief gently walks readers through the process while remaining inclusive of all types of losses, from managing funeral preparations to learning how to accept help from friends and family.
2. The Other Side of Sadness – George Bonanno
George Bonanno is a professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University, best known for introducing the concept of resilience into the field of bereavement and trauma. In his book, Bonanno couples the story of the death of his father with easy-to-read scientific research, based on hundreds of interviews.
3. Healing the Adult Sibling’s Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas After Your Brother or Sister Dies – Alan D. Wolfelt
Alan D. Wolfelt, the founder of the Center for Loss and Life Transition, provides in his book 100 action-oriented ideas for embracing your grief and honoring the relationship you had with your sibling. Wolfelt, introduces the reader to the concept of disenfranchised grief and the lack of support many siblings often experience because their grieving doesn’t fit in with the larger society’s attitude about dealing with loss.
Positive affirmation for grief
- Today, I choose to heal
- I let go of my resistance and accept my loss
- I am taking my time to grieve
- I allow myself to feel this fully, to be present
- I am gentle with myself as I grieve
- I’m surrounded by support and love
- I am open to receiving help and support
- I take comfort in the memories of my loved one
- I can hold onto love and let go of the pain
- I’m so grateful our paths crossed
Free Printable Worksheets For Grief (PDF)
Grief can be a very isolating experience.
It’s hard for anyone to understand the enormity of the experience without going through one.
As a society, we are bad at grief. We don’t honor it or give it enough space.
Most workplaces give a week off after a family member dies, which gives the message that we are expected to move on and “get back to normal” very quickly.
But when someone we love dies, our world turns upside down on many levels.
Whether the loss is recent or decades old, the experience can stay with us all our lives.
1. How Long Does Grief Last?
There is no simple answer to this question.
Grief is different for every single individual and sometimes grief returns even after you thought were finished with it.
But there is a number of factors that come into play when trying to determine how long grief will last.
1. Your personality – Some people are deep-feeling individuals while others are energetic go-getters even when it comes to their emotional processes.
2. A secondary loss or a big life change can bring the old grief-related emotions roaring back.
3. How well you’re embracing grief – the more you allow yourself to sit with the immense pain— acknowledging it, talking about it, crying about it—the faster you will move through the hardest parts.
It is not uncommon for people to continue to experience sadness and recurrent thoughts of loved ones for months or years after their death.
2. Is What I’m Experiencing Normal?
Grief can affect us in several ways including:
Our Cognitive Abilities:
- Diminished ability to think or concentrate
- Thoughts of death and/or suicide
- Confusion, disbelief, and disorientation
- Weight loss/gain
- Physical pain
- Digestive issues
- Sleep disturbances
- Dissociation and detachment
- Anger and resentment
- Sadness, loneliness, hopelessness, and despair
- Guilt and regret
Our Spiritual Beliefs
- Doubting your religion, or spirituality
- Clinging to religion, or spirituality
- Seeking meaning in death
- Looking for purpose in life
3. How do I know if I’m grieving or actually depressed?
While sadness is a main characteristic of grief, most people will still be able to experience moments of relief and joy.
In other words, grief does not blanket everything.
Depression, on the other hand, can suck the pleasure out of everything.
People with severe depression might have pervasive thoughts and feelings of worthlessness and have difficulties with tasks or activities they used to enjoy.
If you’re concerned that you are depressed, seek professional help.
4. What’s the Difference Between Grief and Mourning?
Grief is an intense emotional pain caused by loss. It usually involves feelings of deep sadness, disbelief, and sometimes even anger.
Mourning, on the other hand, is the expression of grief. It may involve crying, expressing your anger, expressing feelings of regrets around your loss, etc.
Mourning is appropriate and necessary in moving on from your grief.
5. When Does Grief Begin?
Grief begins whenever there is a loss or a perception of impending loss, including the time of diagnosis of a terminal illness, the time of death, and the time of learning about the death of a loved one.
6. Does Grief End?
There will be days when you catch yourself laughing, perhaps guiltily and days when you burst into tears as you see, hear, or think of something that reminds you of your loved one.
Eventually, your grief will end, but that doesn’t mean you’ll forget your loved one. There will never be an end to your sense of loss.
7. Will talking and thinking about my loved one keep me stuck?
No, thinking and talking about your loved one is not a sign of being stuck in grief.
But when these thoughts continually flood you with sadness, guilt and worry, and when these feelings are not subsiding over time, you might need help getting through your grief.
By the same token, if you don’t feel the need to think or talk about your deceased loved one, and are not trying to avoid dealing with your loss, this also is not a sign of trouble.
8. Why we get stuck in grief?
Some people become stuck and spend most of their time in a state of grief for these main reasons:
Unhealthy coping strategies
Our way of coping with life is a good predictor of our way of coping with death.
If you’re likely to avoid your pain, use addictions to numb your feelings and dissociate, these quick-fix “solutions” might have helped you survive so far, but they might not be as effective in face of major loss and are likely to make things worse.
Some people, especially those who have been deprived of attention most of their lives, might hold onto grief once they experience the newfound attention that usually comes with a major loss.
Traumatic very much depends on each person’s perceptions, interpretations, past experiences, and general emotional states.
But most people would agree that the following deaths involve trauma:
- A witnessed death
- Death by violence
- Sudden and unexpected death
9. Does Grief Make You Tired?
Yes, grief can make you feel very tired.
The emotional and mental stress of dealing with loss and sadness can take a toll on your physical well-being.
Additionally, sleep disturbances and changes in appetite that often accompany grief can also contribute to feelings of fatigue and lethargy.
It is important to take care of yourself during this time, make sure you are getting enough rest, eating healthy foods, and seeking support from loved ones or a therapist if needed.
10. Does Hospice Help With Grief?
Yes, hospice can play an important role in helping families and loved ones cope with their grief.
Hospice providers offer emotional support and counseling to patients and their families, both before and after a patient’s death.
They also provide bereavement services to help families through the grieving process, including support groups, individual counseling, and other resources.
Hospice providers understand the unique challenges of grief and are trained to offer compassionate support to those who are experiencing loss.
They can help individuals and families find healthy ways to cope with their emotions and navigate the complex emotions that come with grief.
11. Why Does Grief Come In Waves?
Grief is a process of learning to live with loss and it can bring up a wide range of emotions including sadness, anger, confusion, guilt and even relief.
These emotions can be overwhelming and intense, but they don’t remain constant. Instead, they typically come in waves.
This may happen because memories, thoughts or reminders of the person or thing we have lost can trigger different emotions at different times.
Additionally, the intensity of grief may vary from day to day or even within a single day.
It’s important to remember that grief is a complex emotion that requires time and space to process.
The waves of grief will eventually become less frequent and less intense as time goes on, but everyone’s individual experience of grief is unique and there is no “normal” timeline for healing.
12. Why Is Grief Worse At Night?
Grief can feel worse at night for several reasons.
Firstly, during the day, we tend to stay busy with work, school, or other activities.
We may have many distractions and responsibilities that keep our minds occupied and make it easier to push our feelings of grief aside temporarily.
At night, however, when we are alone with our thoughts, there are fewer distractions, which can make us more aware of our emotions.
Secondly, darkness can intensify feelings of loneliness and sadness. The absence of light can create a sense of emptiness and increase feelings of isolation.
Additionally, at night, our bodies naturally produce more melatonin, which can make us feel more fatigued and emotionally vulnerable.
Finally, grief can be more difficult to manage at night because sleep can be elusive.
When we are grieving, our minds can be filled with thoughts and memories, making it difficult to quiet our thoughts and fall asleep.
The lack of sleep can exacerbate feelings of sadness and emotional distress, making it even harder to cope with grief.
13. What Is The Hardest Stage Of Grief?
The hardest stage of grief can vary for each person and may depend on a variety of factors such as the nature of the loss, the individual’s coping mechanisms, and their support system.
However, many people consider the stage of acceptance to be the most difficult because it involves fully coming to terms with the loss and moving forward without the loved one.
It can require significant emotional strength and courage to let go of the past and embrace a new reality.
It is important to remember that everyone grieves differently, and there is no right or wrong way to navigate through the stages of grief.
14. What Is Delayed Grief?
Delayed grief, also known as delayed onset grief or delayed mourning, is a phenomenon where a person experiences intense feelings of grief and mourning weeks, months, or even years after the loss of a loved one.
This can happen when a person initially suppresses or avoids dealing with their emotions related to the loss, or when they are preoccupied with other life events and responsibilities that distract them from their grief.
Delayed grief can be triggered by various events such as anniversaries, holidays, or significant life changes such as retirement or moving.
It is important for individuals experiencing delayed grief to seek support and professional help to cope with their emotions and move forward in the grieving process.
- Portions of this article were adapted from the book Anxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief, © 2018 by Claire Bidwell Smith. All rights reserved.
- Portions of this article were adapted from the book Conscious Grief & Loss Guide, © 2020 by Lise Leblanc. All rights reserved.
- Portions of this article were adapted from the book Opening to Grief: Finding Your Way from Loss to Peace, © 2020 by Claire B. Willis and Marnie Crawford Samuelson. All rights reserved.
- Portions of this article were adapted from the book Healing Grief at Work: 100 Practical Ideas After Your Workplace Is Touched by Loss, © 2005 by Lise Leblanc. All rights reserved.
- Grief – Wikipedia
- Grief | Psychology Today
- The Five Stages of Grief (verywellmind.com)
- Grief: Physical Symptoms, Effects on Body, Duration of Process (webmd.com)
- Coping with Grief and Loss – HelpGuide.org
- Grief: Coping with the loss of your loved one (apa.org)
- The Biology of Grief – The New York Times (nytimes.com)
- Grief: A Brief History of Research on How Body, Mind, and Brain Adapt – PMC (nih.gov)
- The effect of bereavement groups on grief, anxiety, and depression – a controlled, prospective intervention study | BMC Palliative Care | Full Text (biomedcentral.com)
- Frontiers | A Qualitative Study on the Grief of People Who Lose Their Only Child: From the Perspective of Familism Culture (frontiersin.org)
- How grief and loss affect your brain, and why it takes time to adapt : Shots – Health News : NPR
Hadiah is a counselor who is passionate about supporting individuals on their journey towards mental well-being. Hadiah not only writes insightful articles on various mental health topics but also creates engaging and practical mental health worksheets.