Grief is an exceptionally strong emotion and is frequently accompanied by feelings like anger, sadness, shock, guilt, and remorse. It’s a natural reaction to loss, whether it’s the loss of a loved one, a home, a relationship, an unborn child, or a career.
At first, the intense emotional and physical pain of grief can be overwhelming and seemingly uncontrollable. People’s responses to loss are partially dependent on their relationship with the lost person or thing but, as a very individual experience, everyone experiences and reacts to grief in different ways.
Grief is expressed in many ways and it can affect every part of your life; your emotions, thoughts and behaviour, beliefs, physical health, your sense of self and identity, and your relationships with others. If your inner state of emotions are not properly addressed in time, such low feelings of grief can be debilitating to your life and your daily activities.
As we are all different individuals, there is no one right way to grieve. Your experience of grief, including its length and intensity, will be unique. To begin the process of working through grief, you must first acknowledge it. When asking people for assistance through this difficult time, you need to be assertive and articulate in expressing your needs.
Getting through grief
Grief has no set pattern. Everyone experiences grief differently. Some people may grieve for weeks and months, while others may describe their grief lasting for years. Through the process of grief, however, you begin to create new experiences and habits that work around your loss.
Grief is something that takes time to work through. While everyone finds their own way to grieve it’s important to have the support of friends and family or someone else, and to talk about your loss when you need to.
What you can do to help yourself
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Talk to friends and family about how you are feeling, or consider joining a support group.
Take care of your physical health. Grieving can be exhausting, so it’s important to eat a healthy diet, exercise and sleep.
Manage stress – lighten your load by asking friends, family members or work colleagues to help you with some chores or commitments. Relaxation and gentle exercise can be helpful.
Do things you enjoy, even if you don’t really feel like doing them.
How to help a person who is experiencing grief and loss
Many people do not know what to say or do when trying to comfort someone who is grieving. However, often it is the simple offer of love and support that is the most important.
Ask how they’re feeling. Each day can be different for someone who is grieving; take the time to listen and understand what they are going through.
Talk about everyday life too. Their loss and grief does not have to be the focus of all your conversations.
Ask them how you can help. A few home cooked meals, doing the shopping, or perhaps offering to go walking or do something enjoyable with them can all help someone through their grief.
Encourage them to seek professional support if their grief does not seem to be easing over time.
Is Grief the same as Depression?
Grief and depression are quite different but they can appear similar as they can both lead to feelings of intense sadness, insomnia, poor appetite and weight loss. Depression stands out from grief as being more persistent, with constant feelings of emptiness and despair and a difficulty feeling pleasure or joy.
If you notice that depression symptoms continue, or your grief begins to get in the way of how you live, work, share relationships or live day-to-day, then it’s important to get support or professional help