Dealing with Grief and Loss

What is Grief?

Grief is a natural process of working through a loss. Losses are a part of life. The loss, however, can take many forms: the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, the divorce of parents, or even the loss of a dream. Dealing with a significant loss will be difficult, but grief is healthy and natural, a path to a healing.

Types of Loss

Some types of loss most commonly associated with grief include:

  • Death of a family member
  • Death of a close friend
  • Death of a classmate or colleague
  • Serious illness of a loved one
  • Change or breakup of a relationship

Some less obvious losses can also cause feelings of grief include:

  •  Loss of a vocational dream
  • Leaving home/moving
  • Death of a pet
  • Loss of financial security

Common Reactions to Loss

It is important to remember that how one responds to loss and the length of that response differs from person to person. There is also not a set sequence in which one responds to loss. Some common reactions are:

  • Denial, numbness, shock
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

Coping with Grief

Healthy coping skills are important in resolving a loss and help us move forward in the healing process. While each person is unique and what is helpful to one might not be helpful to another, this list may give you some ideas about ways to try to manage your feelings of grief:

  • Talk with friends and family
  • Seek counseling support
  • Seek spiritual support
  • Exercise and eat healthy foods
  • Listen to music or read books
  • Engage in social activities
  • Join a support group
  • Take a break and relax

Be patient with yourself and allow yourself to feel grief. It’s important to note that some ways of coping are helpful and healing, such as journaling and talking with others. There are other ways of coping that are destructive to the healing process, such as substance abuse and isolating yourself.

Baylor Spiritual Life