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Dealing With Sadness Or Grief After A Loss

Dealing With Sadness Or Grief After A Loss

Loss is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) as “the fact or process of losing something or someone.” Grief is a normal and universal response to loss. It is the emotional suffering experienced when something or someone beloved is taken away. Grief is often characterized by several stages. The initial stage entails shocking disbelief that can last for hours to days after experiencing the loss. The next stage includes feelings of sadness, anger, and hopelessness that are interspersed with normal functioning. This stage is followed by gradual acceptance and realization of the loss, which can last for months, and in some cases longer. The Mayo Clinic provides suggestions to help navigate sadness and grief that presents after a loss as well as tips to cope with reawakened grief, such as: 

  • Prepare yourself: acknowledge that anniversary reactions are normal and are likely unavoidable; use them as opportunities for healing.
  • Distract yourself: avoid feeling alone during times when you may be reminded of your loss by planning a visit with friends or loved ones.
  • Reminisce about the good times: rather than focusing on the loss, reminisce about the relationship with your loved one and the time you had together.
  • Mark the loss: Start a new tradition to honor your loved one (e.g., donate to a charitable organization in your loved one’s name on birthdays or holidays, or plant a tree in honor of your loved one, etc.).
  • Stay connected: tap into your support system and find people that encourage you to talk about your loss. Lean on spiritual leaders and social groups to help you avoid feeling isolated. Consider joining a bereavement support group.
  • Feel all the feelings: recognize that it is possible to be sad and feel a sense of loss while simultaneously allowing yourself to experience joy and happiness. 

Grief has a physiological effect as it interferes with the natural functioning of the human limbic system by disrupting certain brain chemicals (e.g., serotonin and dopamine). Dopamine is the neurotransmitter associated with one’s reward center and feelings of pleasure. Serotonin is known as one of the chemicals responsible for maintaining one’s mood balance. Even years after a loss, one may continue to feel sadness when confronted with reminders of a loved one’s death. It is helping the healing process to take active steps to cope with the painful reminders of a loss and continue to work through sadness and other difficult emotions whenever they arise.

For Information and Support

Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times.

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life in, the long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.

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