Effective Strategies for Dealing with Grief: Expert Tips to Overcome Loss and Find Healing
Updated: Jul 2
Grief is a natural reaction to loss. It's an emotional response that everyone experiences differently, but which everyone also goes through at one time or another.
In most cases, people will experience a range of emotions and thoughts over a six to eight-week period before the grief process becomes a little easier. For some people, however, grief can be overwhelming and lead to difficulty coping or clinical depression. If this is happening to you, it's important to seek help from your doctor or psychologist who can help guide you through this process.
The good news is there are things that can help ease the pain of grief and help us cope with loss.
In this article, we'll explore some ways that people have found helpful in dealing with grief.
What is Grief?
Grief is a natural and normal response to loss. It can be triggered by a variety of events, such as the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, a major change in life circumstances, or a significant disappointment or setback.
Here are some life events that are commonly associated with a sense of loss, grief and bereavement:
Divorce or relationship breakup
Loss of health
Death of a loved one
The intensity and duration of grief can vary widely depending on the individual and the circumstances. Some factors that may influence the grieving process include the nature of the loss, the individual's personal history and coping style, their social support network, and their cultural or religious beliefs.
Common feelings associated with grief can include sadness, anger, guilt, confusion, and a sense of numbness or disbelief. Physical symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, appetite changes, and muscle tension may also occur.
Ultimately, grief is a complex and highly individualised experience that can be influenced by a wide range of factors. It is important to recognise that there is no "right" way to grieve and that everyone's journey through the grieving process will be unique.
Grief Can Trigger Many Unexpected Emotions
When you lose a loved one, it's normal to feel like your mind is spinning out of control. You may feel confused and unable to make decisions. You might even experience low motivation, difficulty concentrating and forgetfulness. Grief can make you feel as though everything around you is closing in on you. If this happens, allow yourself time to process what happened. Take care of yourself by exercising regularly, eating well and getting enough sleep.
Grief does not always come in the same way for everyone; sometimes it will hit hard all at once or gradually creep up on us over time. It's important that we help each other through these difficult times. Being able to listen and share our stories with those who are grieving helps them know they are not alone in their journey through life.
Understand Your Grieving Process is Unique to You
We all grieve in our own way, so when it comes to dealing with grief, try to remember that there’s no right or wrong way to handle it.
Some people are more prone to feelings of guilt than others. Some people may feel like they are “not grieving enough” or “should be over this by now” if they don’t cry as much as other people or don't feel depressed after a loss.
You can still experience normal levels of grief even if you don't cry as much or due to the same things as others do—and that's okay. Everyone is unique and everyone will experience loss differently (even within their own family). Never compare yourself to anyone else. Give yourself permission to grieve at your own pace, in your own way. Everyone has their own timeline for healing!
Tips for Grief and Healing
If you have experienced loss, here are some helpful tips for grief and healing:
1. Acknowledge Your Grief
The first step towards healing is acknowledging that you are grieving. The process of mourning and healing is unique to each individual. It can be helpful to know that there are steps you can take to positively impact your own experience.
2. Take Time to Process Your Grief
The second aspect of acknowledging grief is recognising that this process will not go away overnight or even in a few months. People often expect the emotions connected with grief to subside quickly and completely. This isn't always the case. Grieving takes time, patience and compassion from yourself as well as others around you who care about your well-being during this difficult time in your life. While the most intense period is the first six to eight weeks, the grief process takes at least a year to work through. This is because there will be reminders that trigger memories and episodes of grieving such as birthdays, anniversaries and other culturally significant dates, where your loved one's absence is more notable.
3. Take Care of Yourself Physically
The first step in supporting yourself emotionally is taking care of yourself physically. During times of grief, it's common to neglect self-care or ignore your body's needs. You might not feel like eating, or even want to eat; you may not feel like sleeping or have trouble sleeping; you might find it difficult to move around because you're so tired and lethargic.
These feelings are normal responses to loss, but they can also be exhausting and can make you vulnerable to illness if left untreated. If your mind is focused on what feels wrong with your body (e.g., “I'm exhausted”), this will only worsen the situation by causing more stress. Allow yourself some rest and relaxation!
Take time each day for self-care rituals that support both mind and body. This could include taking a bath with aromatherapy oils, meditating while listening to relaxing music, going on walks outside in nature, and practising yoga poses or other mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing or mindfulness.
Recognise that grief is an integral part of life. This helps us realise how important it is to acknowledge our feelings honestly without judgement (even if those feelings seem irrational). This is important, whether we're dealing with our own loss or supporting someone else through theirs,
5. Seek Support from People Who Care
Feeling sad? Is it difficult to get out of bed in the morning? Are you constantly thinking about your loved one who died, and wondering how on earth you will go on without them?
If so, you are experiencing grief. It's normal to feel this way when someone dies. Grief is a natural reaction to a loss or death. it is not something that just goes away because time passes. You may feel better for short periods of time or even feel less sad, but then other times be hit by waves of intense sadness that make it hard for you to function normally during the day.
Recognise the Difference between Grief and Depression
Grief has a lot in common with depression, but there are some key differences. Grief is a normal response to loss that can be healthy and helpful.
Depression is an illness that affects many people, including those who have recently experienced a personal loss. It's important to know the difference because it's easy to confuse the two and start blaming yourself for feeling depressed when you're grieving.
Depression isn't your fault and it doesn't mean you're weak or broken. Depression simply means that something is causing you to feel down and have a low mood. Sometimes, because of genetic factors, upbringing or because depression has been present for so long, there is a need for medication. In most cases, however, depression can be treated with therapy so that one day soon, with therapy, life will get brighter! Your psychologist can assess whether medication is necessary, in most cases it is not. Grief counselling should generally be undertaken first.
Reach Out for Professional Help if You Need it
If you are experiencing overwhelming or ongoing feelings of grief and sadness that are interfering with your ability to function, consider seeking professional help. A psychologist can help guide you through the difficult process of grief and loss and help you establish a new relationship with the deceased. They may also be able to guide you to ensure your practical needs are met.
If you choose this route, make sure to find someone who you are comfortable with, demonstrates empathy and understanding and is trained in dealing with bereavement issues. They will be able to provide much-needed guidance and support during this difficult time.
Grief is a process that takes time, and it's alright not to feel okay right away. By acknowledging your feelings, seeking out support from others who care about you, and reaching out for professional help when necessary, you can make it through this difficult time.
Find a Psychologist
If you or someone you know is experiencing difficulty, professional support is available. Contact iflow psychology today at 02 6061 1144 to schedule an appointment.
Flexible Counseling Options
iflow psychology offers in-person, telehealth, and telephone counselling services.
As registered psychologists, we provide compassionate support tailored to your needs. Take the first step in your journey towards well-being.
Medicare Rebates and Referrals
With a doctor's referral and Mental Health Plan, you may be eligible for Medicare rebates. Receive quality care while maximising your healthcare benefits. Let us be part of your path to healing.
Complete our simple enquiry form, and our friendly admin team will reach out to you during office hours. We are here to answer any questions and assist you in scheduling an appointment.
Visit iflow psychology in Leichhardt, Inner West Sydney, NSW, Australia for in-person consultations. We also provide convenient telehealth services, ensuring accessibility no matter your location.
The information provided on this website is for informational purposes only. Prior to making any decisions, we recommend consulting your treating doctor, health professionals, and legal representatives. This is particularly important if you have health concerns, existing mental health or medical conditions, or if you feel you are not coping.
(c) 2023 Dean Harrison