Life Events and Grief

Experienced by most people at some point in life, grief is a normal and natural response to loss. Though we often expect to grieve the death of a family member or friend, many other significant losses can also trigger grief, such as:

  • Incarceration or legal issues
  • The death of a pet
  • Loss of accustomed lifestyle
  • Loss of a job or position
  • Significant financial loss
  • The end of a relationship
  • A move to a new community
  • A life goal is suddenly closed to us
  • A love one suffers life-threatening illness or injury

Normal Emotions

Oftentimes, society discounts the importance of mourning and the emotions associated with these ‘other’ losses like what is listed above. Morning is personal and can last months to years. It takes time to weather the storm of a major loss.  Many deal with grief and loss in different ways. It is not easy. Experiencing these feelings are normal and healthy and will help one come to terms with loss.  Common emotions can be the following:

  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • Guilt
  • Despair
  • Confusion
  • Disbelief 

Healthy Grief

Grieving such losses is important because it allows us to work through painful emotions in a normal progression and release mental and emotional capital that is bound to the mourning process and reinvest that energy recovery and elsewhere. Until one grieves effectively, reinvesting and progression is likely difficult and could likely lead to complicated grief or health implications. To support normal grieving, engage in the following:

  • Ensure regular exercise
  • Get adequate rest
  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • Seek out stress-reducing activities
  • Engage in healthy social relationships
  • Join a support group

The Body and Grief

Avoiding the grieving process altogether or pushing away the painful feelings could result in some of the following health complications:

  • Appetite disturbances
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Chronic headaches
  • Alcohol, substance use, or process addiction
  • Heart problems
  • Anxiety or panic disorder
  • Weakened immune system

If you find yourself stuck or overcome by grief, reach out to your healthcare provider or licensed counselor for support. Counseling, medications, and non-pharmacological interventions can help with complicated grief and potential deleterious effects on your physical and mental health. 

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