Dealing with Grief for Your Well-Being
Updated: Oct 10
When you experience a loss, the grief can be overwhelming. In addition to sadness, loss can lead to all sorts of unexpected feelings, like anger, shock, disbelief and guilt. The results of these feelings can usually be felt at a visceral level - it can be hard to eat, sleep, perform routine daily tasks or simply get through the day without crying. The greater the loss, the more magnified these feelings and difficulties can be.
There are different models of how people deal with grief, but one of the better-known ones is that of Dr. Elizabeth Kbler-Ross, who coined the famous 5 stages of grief paradigm in 1969. According to her, the 5 stages are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Going through each of these stages is critical in order to achieve the ultimate goal of moving on with your life in a healthy manner, though the order of the stages isn't necessarily the same for everyone.
The first stage of grief basically acts as a defense mechanism to let you weather the initial storm of losing someone. In this stage, it's common to say, "I can't believe he's gone," or to expect to see that person walk through the door. If someone experiences the death of a loved one, denial can take the form of saying, "I don't miss them that much," or "It's not such a big deal." If a child experiences the divorce of his parents, denial might take the form of thinking they will get back together.
AngerAnger is a broad feeling and it can be directed at anyone: at the source of the grief (the person who died, the parents who divorced, the parent who left), inward, at god, or at someone you feel is responsible for the death or separation of your loved ones. The way a person acts out their anger depends on their age and personality. Children, who are less capable of verbalizing their feelings, tend to cry a lot and become clingy, while adults can lash out at each other, shout, and punch things. Anger is a normal part of grieving but must be carefully monitored so that the person who is angry doesn't hurt others or themselves.
BargainingBargaining is a stage in which you try to gain back what you lost, even though in your heart you know it's impossible. People may make deals with god or promise to take on/drop certain behaviors if they can just get back what they've lost.
DepressionWhen it finally hits you that no amount of anger or bargaining can bring back what you've lost, that is when sadness sets in. Crying is characteristic of this stage, and changes in eating and sleeping patterns are common. This is typically the longest stage in the grieving process. It can be overcome as you naturally move toward the acceptance stage, but in some cases, people get stuck here. That is when professional help should be sought.
AcceptanceThe final stage of grief doesn't mean that all your trouble and sadness are behind you. It does mean, though, that you have come to accept the loss that has occurred and what it means for your life moving forward. Some people achieve some sort of peace while others simply learn to live with a gaping hole. Acceptance is certainly something that takes time to reach, and it's important to go through the other stages before arriving here.
Why Dealing with Grief is Important For Your Well-BeingDealing with grief head-on is important for your well-being on so many levels. Without going through the stages of grieving, you can get stuck at one of the early stages - denial, anger - and never gain the tools for moving forward with your life. You may have trouble forging new relationships for fear of your previous loss. If you feel that you are having a hard time progressing through the stages of grief, you can reach out for professional help. Losing a loved one can be a traumatic experience, and there's nothing wrong with seeking help to get you through it.
When you've mourned properly and have achieved the final stage of acceptance, you will be able to move on with your life in a healthy manner. One of the 5 pillars that contribute to a high quality of life is balance. Balance can only be achieved if you feel at peace with the world around you, no matter how tumultuous or unfair it may be.
As someone who has experienced grief, you know that tragedy can strike at any moment. That's why it's important to be prepared for all possible scenarios. While you can't protect your loved ones from experiencing grief in case you die, you can help them avoid financial burdens. How? By getting life insurance.
Sproutt insurance advisors are available to help you determine what kind of life insurance is best for you. Simply answer a few questions and we will find the best-value plan for your lifestyle, needs, and budget.