What is grief?
Put simply; grief is an emotion that comes about when we feel any significant loss. It is mostly associated with bereavement, but people feel the symptoms of grief for all sorts of other reasons. A good example can be the sort of grieving that goes on after a relationship breakdown or when an adult child leaves the family home for the first time. There again, some people will grieve for a friend who moves away or for a job they no longer hold down that had provided a sense of fulfilment. Therefore, for grief to come about, the loss involved must be more significant to an individual. When we feel bonded at an emotional level – whether that is to a person, a pet, a building or even a situation – loss will be significant, and that means grief is likely to be the outcome.
Are grief and mourning the same?
Mourning relates to grief that comes about as the result of a death. Since death is final, this is necessarily a severe form of loss. However, grief is not the same as mourning since it can be felt in many other situations other than following a bereavement. Sometimes, recently retired people go through a form of grief as they adjust to life without a regular regime and the camaraderie of the workplace. Parents who lose custody of their children following a divorce or because they have gone into care will also often going into a state of grieving even if they know their kids are alive and well.
What does grief feel like?
Grief is an extreme motion. Many people feel physical symptoms of pain that can range from headaches to pains in their chest, notably around their heart. Crying and feeling anguish, both emotional and physical, is perfectly normal when you are grieving.
How can you overcome grief?
One of the keys to overcoming it is to accept that you need to go through all of its stages before you return to something like normal. Overcoming it may not be wanted if you want to cling onto the sense of loss for some reason – many people do so when they are mourning, for example. Professional support will help including group talking therapies and hypnotherapy to name but two options.