Dealing with Grief

griefAny number of situations can cause grief. It may be the loss of a loved one, a job or a relationship. It may be immediate—such as death from an accident—or lingering, such as death from a terminal illness.

For some, the grief can be so deep that the person develops a psychological and physical debilitation.

Regardless of the depth of emotion, though, many people benefit from grief counseling or support groups. Each person approaches grief differently and there are no stages or timetable to processing a loss. Those who had a difficult relationship with the deceased may have additional challenges in grieving.

The American Psychological Association recommends that grieving individuals:

  • Talk about the loss with friends or colleagues to understand what happened and to remember the deceased.
  • Accept feelings, which may include sadness, anger, frustration and exhaustion.
  • Practice self-care, including eating well, exercise and rest.
  • Help others dealing with loss, including sharing stories of the deceased.
  • Remember and celebrate the life of the loved one. This may include making a donation, framing photos of happy times, or planting a garden in memory.

For those who need additional assistance in processing grief, consider professional help. A trained counselor can help people overcome the fear, guilt or anxiety that grief can bring. Psychotherapy and support groups also may be beneficial.

Prolonged grief may last more than a year and can disrupt close relationships. When grief lingers or affects daily life, professional assistance may be needed. Grief also may closely align with symptoms of depression and can be difficult to distinguish.

Grief is an individual response without a timetable or rules. But help is available.



American Psychological Association

Psychology Today

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