Grief is a normal response to the trauma caused by the anticipated or permanent loss of something we cherish, most commonly a person, relationship, job, good health or possession. Grief is a process with no time limit on the duration. Responses are as specific to the individual experience of grief as is the depth and length of our response. With appropriate resources and support, we can move gracefully through the process of grief.

Grief influences us on several dimensions – the physical, cognitive, emotional and spiritual.

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Some of the symptoms we may experience during our grief process include:

Physical
  • sleep disturbance
  • change in appetite
  • lack of energy
  • gastrointestinal disorders
Cognitive
  • slowed thinking or processing
  • difficulty making decisions
  • confusion
  • daydreams or flashbacks
Emotional
  • feelings of guilt
  • mood swings
  • anxiety
  • crying
Spiritual
  • inability to pray
  • lack of desire to maintain religious connections
  • questions about faith

Grief in adults may be an intense experience or may manifest briefly and cause only moderate disruptions in the tasks of daily living. The nature of the death, type and length of the relationship, age of the griever and whether there was unfinished business with the deceased all impact how grief affects our life. Anger and guilt are generally prevalent and may be aimed at self or another presumed to be responsible for the death.

What you can do to care for yourself:

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat several small meals containing protein (rather than three large ones).
  • Exercise, such as walking with a companion (friend or pet).
  • Take brief naps.
  • Listen to soothing music.
  • Find someone to talk with about your thoughts and feelings.

More Grief Topics