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What is grief?

By Dr. Lee Subscribe to RSS | December 9th 2011 | Views:

Though these feelings can be frightening and overwhelming, they are normal reactions to loss. You should let time be the best healer. There are healthy ways to cope with the pain. Apart from significant losses, even subtle ones can lead to intense grief. Grieving depends on many factors, including one’s personality and coping style, life experience, faith, and the nature of the loss.

What are the stages of grief?

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in 1969 introduced the “five stages of grief.” They were based on her studies of the feelings of patients facing terminal illness, but many people have generalized them to other types of negative life changes and losses, the greatest loss being the loss of a human entity.

The five recognized stages of grief:

• Denial: Non acceptance of a negative situation.

• Anger: Negative reaction and blaming someone else.

• Bargaining: Threatening to return the odd situation to someone else.

• Depression: Leading a depressed life and keeping away from normal doings.

• Acceptance: To start afresh and letting go the sad part.

Feeling of any of these above feeling is natural and will go with time. You might not have to go through each stage in order to heal. It is also possible that some people resolve their grief without going through any of the above stages.

Kübler-Ross did not ser the above stages as a rigid framework that applies to everyone who mourns. In her last book, she said that they were never meant to help tuck messy emotions into neat packages but were responses to loss that many people have. There is no typical response to loss, as there is no typical loss. Our grieving is as individual as our lives can be.

Finding support after a loss

• Support from friends and family: It is best to lean on the people who care about you, even if you take pride in being strong and self-sufficient. Keep loved ones close and accept the assistance. It is advisable to confine in someone.

• Pray: Pray a lot and meditate. Embrace the comfort of your faith and its mourning rituals can provide. Spiritual activities such as praying, meditating, or going to the altar often can offer solace. It is natural to question your religious idol but that is just a part of recovering.

• Join a support group: Grief will always make you feel very lonely, even when you have loved ones around. Sharing your sorrow and confining in someone trustworthy who have experienced similar losses can help. To find a bereavement support in your area, you may contact local hospitals, hospices, funeral homes, and counseling centers.

• Take help from a therapist or grief counselor: If your grief feels unbearable you must call a mental health professional with experience in grief counseling. An experienced therapist can help you work through intense emotions and overcome obstacles. You should come out of usual inhibition of not going to a therapist as it is extremely useful.

Myths and Facts about Grief

Myth: Ignoring your pain.

Fact: Trying to ignore your pain or keep it from surfacing will only make you unhealthy and corrode you from within. To heal your grief faster, it is necessary to face your grief and actively deal with it.

Myth: Strongly face the loss.

Fact: A sad feeling, being frightened or lonely is a normal reaction to loss. You should always cry when you want to. It doesn’t mean you are weak. You don’t need have to put up a strong front in front of your family or friends. Showing your true feelings will help them and you.

Myth: Not crying for a loss will mean you are not sorry for it.

Fact: Though crying is a normal response to sadness, but it’s not the only one. Those who don’t cry also feel the pain just as deeply as others. They only follow a different path.

Myth: Grief should last a long time.

Fact: There is no time frame for grief. The length is very individual.

Dr. Lee - About Author:
Dr. Lee holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in Christian Counseling from New burgh Theological Seminary.She attained both her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Social Work from the University of Akron.

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