Grief is a natural reaction to loss, and can be experienced in a variety of ways. Specifically, the intensity and duration of grief related experiences can differ significantly between individuals, impacting upon emotions, thoughts and behaviours for a number of weeks, or even months. Similarly, individuals also cope with loss in a variety of ways. Whilst some might find it helpful to talk openly about their feelings, others might prefer more time alone. As time passes, most individuals learn to adapt and cope with their feelings of grief. However, for some individuals, this process can be more difficult and they might seek the support of a Clinical Psychologist for additional help.
Typical responses to grief can include the following:
- Emotional response: sadness, anger, guilt, remorse, anxiety, loneliness, helplessness, shock and disbelief
- Cognitive responses: confusion, difficulty concentrating, feeling preoccupied with the loss, searching for answers as to why this happened, losing interest in enjoyable activities, vivid dreams
- Physical and behavioural responses: muscle tension and tiredness, changes in energy levels, changes in patterns of sleep, social withdrawal, restlessness, avoiding reminders/triggers
Experiencing grief is a difficult and challenging process for many. However whilst most people learn to manage their grief in their own time, prolonged or complicated grief reactions may benefit from specific psychological support and interventions. This might include maintaining self-care activities and routines, linking in with social supports, participating in activities designed to improve mood, and learning to identify and modify unhelpful patterns of thinking. Clinical Psychologists are highly trained mental health professional who are skilled in providing assessment and appropriate support for a range of mental health concerns, including grief.
Tips to help with grief and loss