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What is Grief - The Stages of Grief

By Samantha Snyder,2014-05-27 18:46
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What is Grief - The Stages of Grief

    Grieving for Teens

    What is grief?

    Grief is the emotional pain that we feel after a loss. Grieving allows us to heal after losing

    someone or something that was important to us. The pain that follows such a loss can seem

    unbearable, but know that you can (and will) get through it.

    Facts about grief:

    ; Grief is a natural response to loss.

    ; No one grieves the same wayeveryone reacts differently to loss. Some people may cry a lot

    or act angry. Others may not show any emotion at all, but it doesn’t mean that they’re not

    hurting.

    ; Denying or ignoring your feelings is harmful and only prolongs the grief process.

    ; Any grief response is appropriate unless it is harmful to yourself, others, or property.

    The Stages of Grief

    Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross has named five stages of grief that people go through following a

    serious loss. You may move back and forth between the stages or go through them several times.

    Grief often comes in waves. One day, you might feel okay but the next day you might feel

    devastated. Remember that whatever you are feeling is a normal response to losing a loved one.

1. Denial and Isolation

    This can’t be happening. I just can’t believe it.”

    At first, we tend to deny the loss has taken place, and may withdraw from our usual social

    contacts. This stage may last a few moments, or longer.

2. Anger

    Why did this have to happen to ME?”

    We then may then be furious at the person who inflicted the hurt (even if he/she is dead), or at the

    world, for letting it happen. We might be angry with ourselves for letting the event take place,

    even if realistically, nothing could have stopped it.

3. Bargaining

    If I do this, will you take away the pain?”

    We attempt to make deals to avoid the pain of the loss. We may beg, wish, or pray for them to

    come back.

4. Depression

    I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”

    During this stage we feel numb, frustrated, helpless, and bitter. Often, anger and sadness remain

    underneath these feelings. We mourn not only the person, but also the hopes, dreams, and plans

    for the future with the person.

5. Acceptance

    “It’s going to be okay.”

    Anger, sadness, and mourning have tapered off. We still hurt, but we have learned to live with the

    pain and integrate it into our lives. We accept the reality of the loss and find comfort, healing, and

    peace. We remember the fond memories of the person.

    Common Reactions to Grief

     sighing or forgetting what

     yawning a lot you were going to

     say or do

     see-saw effect:

    can cope one day,

     can’t the next

     intense sadness

     fear of going crazy

     or losing your mind

     sleeping a lot

     …or not being able

     to sleep

     asking, “why did this happen?”

    getting angry easily

     feeling physically

    feeling numb or sick

    detached from yourself

     wanting to be alone

    Caring for Yourself as You Grieve

; Remember that grieving is normal. Allow yourself to feel these intense emotions.

    Although it may seem as though you’ll never get through it, know that you will.

    ; Participate in rituals and customs. Going to funerals, memorials, and other traditions

    can help you to honor and remember the person.

    ; Talk about it when you can. Sometimes you may want to talk, but other times you may

    not. Don’t feel pressured to talk, but it sometimes helps!

    ; Express yourself. Find ways to express your thoughts and emotions: listen to music, paint,

    draw, run, punch pillows, journal, sing, make a cake, write poems, create or build something,

    or even write a letter to the person.

; Exercise. Exercising releases endorphinsa chemical in your body that makes you feel

    good. It’s a natural and healthy way to deal with intense emotions.

     Go for a walk Lift weights Run

     Play paintball Skateboard Yoga

     Climb stairs Cycle Ski

     Play laser-tag Hike Swim

     Walk around the mall Dance Stretch

     Take your dog to the park Shoot hoops Wakeboard

    ; Eat right. You may notice changes in your appetite. Try to maintain a healthy diet and eat

    nutritious foods. Make sure to drink enough water.

    ; Join a support group. Ask your school counselor for resources about how to become

    involved. Although no one can know exactly how you are feeling, it helps to know that

    others are grieving, too.

    ; Create a memorial. Plant a flower or tree in memory of the person. Write a poem or

    story and dedicate it. Create a plaque or mural to honor the person. Wear an armband or

    ribbon.

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