How Do We React to Grief and Loss?

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Grief is a natural process to mourn a loss. People can feel loss in very different ways like separation from a loved one, losing a job, pet runs away, kids leaving home and major change in life such as getting divorce and retiring.

We all have our own unique way in coping with our feelings. Some have healthy coping skills, while in some, grief takes over their life and they lost sight of their daily responsibilities.

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1. Denial, numbness, and shock

This stage of grief helps protect us from experiencing the intensity of the loss. It can be useful when we have to take some action, such as planning a funeral, notifying relatives, or reviewing important papers.

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2. Bargaining

This stage of grief may be marked by persistent thoughts about what “could have been done” to prevent the death or loss. It may result in the person living with intense feelings of guilt or anger that can interfere with the healing process.

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3. Depression

In this stage, we begin to realize and feel the true extent of the death or loss. We may also have self-pity and feel lonely, isolated, empty, lost, and anxious.

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4. Anger

This stage is common. Sometimes we’re angry at a higher power, at the doctors who cared for a lost loved one, or toward life in general.

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5. Acceptance

With acceptance, we can come to terms with all the emotions and feelings we experienced when the death or loss happened. Healing can begin once the loss becomes integrated into our set of life experiences.

When you lose someone or something dear to you, it’s natural to feel pain and grief and most people go through it. But if the grief is so overwhelming that you begin to feel worthless, helpless, and hopeless, then it’s time to talk to your doctor about this.

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