Is There a Right and Wrong Way to Grieve?

Reviewed on 3/30/2022
Is There a Right and Wrong Way to Grieve
There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Grief is a natural response to loss, and each person expresses their emotions differently depending on various factors

There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Grief is a natural response to loss, and each person expresses their emotions differently depending on various factors, including:

  • Personality
  • Coping style
  • Life experience
  • Faith
  • Significance of the loss

The grieving process takes time, and sometimes it can take years to heal from loss. There is no need to feel ashamed about how you feel.

What are potential causes of grief?

Any loss can cause grief. Although the death of a loved on is most often associated with grieve, other causes may include:

  • Divorce or breakup
  • Poor health
  • Job loss
  • Loss of financial stability
  • Miscarriage
  • Retirement
  • Death of a pet
  • Loss of a cherished dream
  • Loss of a friendship
  • Loss of safety after a trauma
  • Selling the family home

What are common symptoms of grief?

  • Physical symptoms
  • Emotional symptoms of grief
    • Feelings of emptiness or numbness
    • Shock or disbelief
    • Anger
    • Guilt 
    • Withdrawal from family and friends
    • Difficulty focusing, working, or making decisions
    • Questioning faith and challenging the meaning and purpose in life

What are the 5 stages of grief?

During the grieving process, you may experience the following stages:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

These stages were first introduced by a psychiatrist named Elisabeth Kubler-Ross based on her studies of people coping with end-stage diseases. 

According to other studies, however, defining stages of grief is more complicated, since we all have different ways of coping with loss. For example:

  • Men grieve differently than women
  • Soldiers may grieve differently
  • 60% of people may get over it quickly
  • 25% of people may take a 1-2 years to recover
  • 1 in 10 may have complicated grief that can last for years

Not everyone may experience all stages of grief and not in the designated order.

How can you take care of yourself while grieving?

While grieving, it is important to acknowledge your feelings and look after your physical and emotional needs. Here are some tips for coping:

  • Don’t judge or be harsh with yourself.
  • Eat well and exercise on a regular basis.
  • Talk about your loss to your family, friends, or a therapist.
  • Find activities that relax or calm you.
  • Engage in spiritual activities, such as praying or meditating.
  • Join a support group of people who share similar experiences as you.

QUESTION

Is grief a normal reaction? See Answer

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References
Image Source: iStock Images

HelpGuide. Coping with Grief and Loss. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/grief/coping-with-grief-and-loss.htm

Marshall L. There's No Right Way to Grieve. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/grieve-no-right-way

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