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To Really Overcome Grief, You Have to Experience These 5 Stages

To Really Overcome Grief, You Have to Experience These 5 Stages

There are 5 cycles or stages one usually processes through their emotions [1] when dealing with this horrible issue. Learning to overcome the grief cycle can be a daunting task. Grief sets in and takes places sometimes as a result of a death of a loved one or a super stressing situation you feel like you have failed in are two major factors that may cause grief to occur. We all need to learn about self forgiveness and how to keep our emotions in check when going through this type of trauma.

Grief usually does not kill like cancer [2] or disease but sometimes one takes drastic measures while trying to live a normal life in the cycle of grieving. Overwhelming feelings, denial, helplesness withdrawing from others, acute depression and anxiety usually appear with grief. Adapting to grief has 5 stages.

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Grief Cycle Takes 5 Steps

1. Denial and Isolation: “This really isn’t happening, this can’t be happening”

Denial and Isolation [3] happens when one first learns of an end of life illness, loss, or death of someone close to you is to deny the situation. They often go into a mold of “This really isn’t happening, this can’t be happening,” they often tell themselves. However, it’s a reaction from our minds to control overwhelming feelings. This is a defense mechanism that buffers sudden shock one faces. We block out the truth and try to hide the facts. This is called a rapid response that pulls us through the first stages of pain.

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2. Anger: “Why? Tell me why!”

Second stage is hiding the effects of denying the situation and the isolation sets in [4] , reality and pain soon takes hold to one’s emotions. The intense emotion makes us very vulnerable and redirected instead as anger. The anger may be turned toward objects, strangers, friends or family. Anger also may be directed toward the death of a loved one. Emotionally it is not uncommon that one may resent the person that’s left us or leaving us with the pain. We feel guilty for emotions of anger which only elevates the anger.

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3. Helplessness and Vulnerability:  “If I’d only done this or that, things would have been different…”

Third stage of grief is feelings of helplessness and vulnerability [5] is often a sign we need to regain control over a situation. Some thoughts that we think in this stage are “If I’d only done this or that, things would have been different. Most people try and come up with answers for grief in thinking they should have gotten more help or tried something different or perhaps a second opioions. Some also tries to make a deal with God or high powers as an attempt to post-pone death, pain or suffering, known as a defense mechanism to cope.

4. Depression: “Nothing would help…”

Sadness and regret follow, causing bouts of depression. We worry about end of life expenses, what are we going to do and so many more thoughts of things that we need to do or how other’s depends on us that puts a mental strain on our lives. Depression can be helped [6] with many medications and also a good cognitive behavioral therapy. Family and support are also big contributors in helping depression from a grief cycle.

5. Acceptance: “It’ll never be the same again, but I’ve grown stronger too”

The last cycle in grief is acceptance to the situation. This stage of mourning is a rare commodity not given to everyone. With a sudden death or an unexpected one, we may never recooperate from the anger and denial. Some think they must be strong and igore these feelings but recovery one must accept the situation for what it is. This cycle is feelings of withdrawal and calmness. This is not when happiness returns, more-over a recovery cycle to trauma from a grief-filled situation.

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Reference

[1] PsychCentral: The 5 Stages of Grief & Loss
[2] MayoClinic: What Is Grief?
[3] WahiawaUnitedMethodistChurch: Death and Dying for The Terminal Patient
[4] GriefHealing: Loneliness and Solitude in Grief
[5] Women’sThreapyServices: Helplessness in Grief and Loss, Death and Dying
[6] TNNursery: Dealing With Depression During Grief

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Tammy Sons

Master Gardener, Horticulurist, Arborist

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Last Updated on April 1, 2019

How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy

How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy

When we talk about happiness, we often think about staying happy all the time – every single day, every single minute with zero negativity. Many try to pursue this constant state of “happiness” as their ultimate goal, and avoid anything that may take it away from them.

But, what is the meaning of this type of “happiness”?

It’s a lot like your favorite food. The more often you have it isn’t always better. On the contrary, when you only have a chance to eat it sparingly, that’s when you really savor every bite. So is it the food itself that makes you happy, or is it how valuable it is to you when you are eating it?

Always remember that only by experiencing sadness do we understand what it is to be happy.

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Video Summary

Don’t Assume Others Are Always Happy

Most people see those who have seemingly perfect lives and assume they are happy all the time. Since childhood, we are conditioned to chase the idea of “happily-ever-after” that we see in fairytales. On social media, everyone tends to share only the best looking aspects of their lives. So, it’s very easy to have a distorted view of what “happiness” is around us.

In reality, there is always something missing, something lacking, or something unpleasant.

No one has a perfect life. Even the most glamorous celebrities or the richest billionaires have their own set of challenges and problems.

When we feel negative, we’re only focusing on a small fluctuating curve. As CEO of Lifehack, I’ve had to deal with countless problems, and some of them felt like real setbacks at the time. During those moments, it really seemed like these problems would be the life or death of my company and my life goals. But, I got through them; and, weeks, months and eventually years passed with many more ups and downs.

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You need to keep your sights on the extended curve.  Looking back now, a lot of those “really big” problems at the time now seem like only small blips in a long line of experiences. Recalling them in my mind now makes me smile!

Stop Trying to Be Happy–Just Be

It’s natural to want to be happy as often as possible.

So what can we do?

First, throw away the belief that a perfect life means happiness. Personally, I would be miserable if everything was perfect. It’s through experiencing the pains of lifelong challenges that drives us to care for others when they are experiencing similar trials. If life was perfect, you wouldn’t be able to empathize. If life was perfect, you wouldn’t grow.

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To be truly happy, stop chasing permanent happiness.

It sounds like a paradox. But, what I mean is to accept that there will be ups and downs throughout life. Gracefully understand that happiness is a fluctuation of positive and negative events.

Understand the importance of gratitude. Instead of focusing on the unpleasant moment, flash back your memory to when you didn’t have something. I like to think about my career, for example. When I didn’t have a career I was passionate about, I felt lost and demotivated. I felt like everyone was figuring out their lives but me. But, when I found my purpose and started Lifehack, I was deeply happy, even before I realized I would be successful! This memory keeps me going when I hit tough spots. It takes the darkness to make us grateful for the light.

Happiness and Sadness Exist Together

What it all comes down to is this: your life will be filled with beautiful, happy and incredible moments–happy tears and joyous shouts and funny stories. But, your life will also be filled with rain and storms that never seem like they will pass while you’re going through them.

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But, whether your face is warmed by the sunshine, or your heart is dampened by the rain, know that it’s all part of the ebb and flow of life.

Treasure the happy moments and power through the sad ones. Don’t try to avoid “sad” or “negative” experiences, and blindly chase being “happy”. In the end you will achieve a true level of contentment in your life, based on meaningful experiences and achievements. Being able to create growth and meaning out of both positive and negative events — that is the true meaning of “happiness”.

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