Grief is a natural response to loss. It is the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love is taken away. In this blog post, we will explore grief and provide some tips for coping with this challenging emotion.

What is Grief?

According to the APS website*, “Grief can be described as the intense emotional and physical reaction that an individual experiences following the death of a loved one. Not only is grief characterised by deep sadness but also by an intense yearning to be with that person again.” While it is most commonly experienced after a death, grief can also follow serious illness, divorce or other significant losses.

Grief is a natural emotional experience, it is not an illness. It often comes in waves which lessen over time, even though these waves can still be triggered years later when hearing a song or having another reminder.

Sometimes however, a person can experience ‘complicated grief’. This occurs when a person becomes ‘stuck’ in their grief and find it difficult to return to their daily life or resume relationships. When this happens, psychological treatment is beneficial as it can help you come to terms with your loss and reclaim a sense of acceptance and peace.

Tips for Coping with Grief

If you are struggling with grief, it is essential to take steps to manage your emotions and find support. Here are some tips to help you cope with your grief:

  1. Allow yourself to grieve: It is important to allow yourself to experience your emotions fully. This means giving yourself permission to cry, feel angry, or express any other emotions that come up. Don’t try to suppress your feelings or push them away.
  2. Seek support: Surround yourself with people who understand what you are going through and can provide emotional support. This could be family members, friends, or a support group.
  3. Take care of yourself: Grief can be physically and emotionally exhausting, so it is important to take care of your physical and emotional health. This includes maintaining a regular routine, getting enough sleep, exercising, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in activities that bring you joy.
  4. Prepare to face new or difficult situations. Developing a plan for ‘firsts’ such as the first anniversary of the death or first Christmas without them. Think about how you would like to approach these situations and who you would like to share them with.
  5. Challenge unhelpful thoughts leading to feelings of guilt or anger. Gently try and ask what the evidence is for that thought, what would be a more compassionate way of thinking about this, or what would your loved one say if they were here now?
  6. Seek professional help: If your grief is interfering with your daily life or causing significant distress, consider seeking professional help. A psychologist can provide you with the support and guidance you need to manage your emotions and cope with your loss.
  7. Be patient: Grief is a long and challenging process. Be patient with yourself and don’t try to rush the healing process.

Grief is a challenging emotion that can be particularly difficult to navigate. By allowing yourself to grieve, seeking support, taking care of yourself, seeking professional help, and being patient, you can find a way to cope with your loss and move forward. Remember that healing is a process, and it is okay to take the time you need to work through your emotions.

* Morris, S. (2011, December 6). The psychology of grief – applying cognitive and behaviour therapy principles. InPsych, 33(6).

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