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Personal Counseling

Grief & Loss

• Five Stages • How to Cope with Grief
• Remember  

 

Grief is a response to loss; it is natural and normal. It can be in response to a loss of any kind, such as the death of someone we love, the end of a relationship, moving away from home. Any kind of change, even a positive change in a Sunsetperson's life can bring up feelings of grief. The more significant the loss or the change, the longer time it takes to complete the grieving process. Grief is not a sign of weakness; it is a process that the mind/body goes through in dealing with any kind of loss.  

The length and intensity of the grieving process are unique for each individual. During this process you may experience a variety of physical and behavioral changes such as: muscle tension, changes in appetite, sleep irregularities, stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, irritability, restlessness, spontaneous crying, "heartache", sighing or mood swings.

The five stages of grief:

1. Denial - not believing that something has happened. For example, "I can't believe he’s gone."

2. Anger/Guilt - feeling angry with others that are either involved or totally separate from the loss. You may be angry with yourself or feel guilty that you didn't do enough. Desire to withdraw from others is common.

3. Bargaining - different behaviors or activities are taken on to avoid dealing with the grief. Trying to trade something to reverse the loss; "I would do anything if only this hadn't happened".

4. Depression - is a common mood disturbance. Feelings of sadness, disappointment or loneliness can lead to withdrawal from people and activities, loss of pleasure and enjoyment and/or physical discomforts.

5. Acceptance - accepting the reality of the situation. Giving up the struggle and moving forward.

The amount of time to move through all the stages varies with the individual. One must progress through each stage to move through the others. It is important to remember that the healing process has a beginning, middle, and an end. You will heal.

How to cope with grief:

• Acknowledge the loss.

• Share the grief with people close to you.

• Accept the pain of grief. Try to experience it rather than avoiding.

• Honor your own pace as you experience the different stages.

• Get physical exercise.

• Try to remember your sense of humor.

• Acknowledge that you have changed through the experience.

• Remember to be gentle with yourself.

• Connect with grief counseling.

Remember:

Grief is a psychological necessity, not self-indulgence.

The amount of time to move through all the stages varies with the individual. One must progress through each stage to move through the others. It is important to remember that the healing process has a beginning, middle, and an end. You will heal.

Helpful links:

http://www.hospiceofsantabarbara.org

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/grief_loss.htm

 

 


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