Grief is a normal and healthy reaction that
occurs when you lose someone or something important. Although it is possible to
delay or postpone grieving, it is not possible to avoid grieving altogether.
Grief will subside over time. However, the grieving process does
not happen in a step-by-step or orderly fashion. Give yourself all the time you
need to identify, accept, and express your emotions.
are unique. Each person handles emotions and feelings differently. Find the way
to deal with your emotions that fits you.
Support is important
during the grieving process. Support comes in many forms, such as from friends
and family, by participating in activities you enjoy, or through exercises to
help you express your feelings, such as writing letters or keeping a
How can I manage my grief?
Identify your feelings
Sometimes after a loss, it is hard to figure
out exactly what you are feeling. You may have several feelings at the same
time or conflicting feelings, such as sadness and relief. Writing is a good way
to identify what you are feeling. Writing about what you feel can:
Stimulate thinking and
help you organize and analyze your thoughts.
Deepen your understanding of a situation and may help you get
in touch with feelings you had not recognized before.
Prompt you to reflect on what is happening to you. This
can help you put things into perspective and come to an understanding of how
the changes affect your life.
When you are ready:
Set aside time to write.
private, comfortable place to do your writing.
Choose a method of
writing. You may choose to write a letter to your loved one, for example, or a
poem or story.
Don't worry about how well you write. Write about
everyday occurrences or conversations you have had.
Write what you
feel. Don't screen your thoughts; give yourself permission to write whatever
comes to mind. Strong feelings (such as fear, anger, or frustration) may arise.
Write about simple pleasures and joys you have experienced, too. If you have
concerns about your strong feelings, talk with a trusted friend, member of the
clergy, or mental health professional.
Accept your feelings
Many people find it helpful to talk to other people. Try to resist the urge to be quiet around or avoid people. If you are having trouble
talking about your feelings with family members and friends, consider joining a
bereavement support group.
Express your emotions. You may feel that
this is a sign of weakness, or that you won't be able to control yourself if
you show your emotions. None of these is true. However, if you are afraid that
you might harm yourself or someone else if you express an emotion, talk with
someone you trust, your health professional, or a mental health professional
about your concerns.
Be patient and kind to yourself. Your feelings
may be unpredictable and uncomfortable. Remind yourself that your uncomfortable
feelings are expected and will fade as time goes on.
Handling difficult feelings
Each person handles emotion differently. Here are some ideas about how to
deal with some of the most common feelings during the grieving process:
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.