What is grief?
What are the stages of a grief process?
Different stages are distinguished which can change and vary in time. Those stages are shock and denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
Shock and denial
In the stage of denial, the people are unable to believe that the loss was real and they may be unable to feel anything.
In this stage, people can blame themselves, the one who died or others who are involved with the loss.
In this stage, people try to bargain with the higher power or someone/something that is attributed the control over the situation. The person can make promises to god through prayers or try to reach an agreement with someone else to make loss disappear.
In the stage of depression, the person starts partially accepting the situation and perceiving reality. Denial, hate, and bargaining have all failed to prevent the loss. People start feeling sad about everything that happened.
People start participating in regular activities to escape the sadness. During the testing stage, the person looks for suitable activities and it's the beginning of acceptance. People reorganize their lives according to what has changed and they begin to look for a new balance and stability.
How to cope with the grief process?
The grieving process takes time. Healing happens gradually; it can’t be forced or hurried—and there is no “normal” timetable for grieving. Some people start to feel better in weeks or months. For others, the grieving process is measured in years. Whatever your grief experience, it’s important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold.
Try to avoid big life changes. During the grieving process, people are more vulnerable. Therefore the decisions that are related to big shifts and affect others should be postponed till there is more emotional stability.
Sharing emotions is proven to be helpful. Talking about feelings supports the grief process. Repressing and ignoring unpleasant sensations prevents people from moving on.
Grief affects the body and the soul. Losing appetite for example is a natural process, but it shouldn’t last for too long to avoid harm to the body. Taking care of oneself through sports and pleasant activities supports the grief process. You can read books, take a walk or refresh your mind differently.
Seeking for help
If you find it difficult to deal with your emotions or perceive that the grief process has somehow stagnated then it’s recommended to talk with a mental help professional. If you would like to share your experience with someone who has gone through a loss then you may talk to a counselor who has had a similar experience in his or her life. Apart from individual counseling, there are grief therapy groups where people with a loss experience can share their problems in a supportive environment.