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Understanding Grief’s Effects on Mental Health

Understanding Grief’s Effects on Mental Health

Grief is the emotion we feel after a loss—whether that means someone or a pet passing away or even a breakup. Sadly, to lose someone we love and experience grief is part of the human experience, so we’ll all undergo it at least once in our lives. Even though grief is completely normal, it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. 

Like all emotions, bereavement isn’t linear. It’s like a rollercoaster of emotions—you may feel completely devastated one day, and the next, more calm and collected. As a result, losing someone has a direct impact on our state of mind. To understand grief’s effects on mental health, we must understand what really happens to us when we’re grieving. 

We’re adjusting to a life without the person we lost.

Changes are difficult no matter what. We’re very resistant to change, and facing a significant change creates a massive impact on our lives as we know it. Being in denial is one of the first natural responses we have when facing the death of a loved one. This denial stems from our fear of change, of living a life without the person who passed away. Adjusting to this life can be tiring and emotionally taxing, making routine tasks or even leaving the house difficult. 

Depression and grief look very similar.

When grieving, it’s possible to feel like a different person. Having trouble concentrating, withdrawing, and not enjoying things we usually do are normal responses to loss. Our mental health is crucial to our physical health as well. For this reason, mourning can cause trouble sleeping, and it can even compromise our immune system. 

While depression and grief are not the same, we can develop a deep depression if we don’t have the right tools to cope. Allowing ourselves to feel is crucial to our journey of healing. However, we have to try our bests to care for ourselves during tough times. Seeking help, taking a day off, eating well, and getting a good night’s sleep are some things we can do to ensure we’re dealing with sorrow in a healthy way. 

Will this pain stay with us forever?

Have you ever heard the phrase “time heals all wounds”? It may seem like an oversimplification—because it is—but think about how deep wounds leave scars. The pain will never go away completely, but it can get more manageable as time goes on. In fact, the majority of people find that their grief diminishes with time. However, this doesn’t mean they will never feel sad or miss the person who passed, but they will eventually find purpose and joy again. 

The takeaway.

Grief affects not only our mind but also our body. Just because it’s a natural process of life, it doesn’t mean we don’t have to talk about it or think about it. Prioritizing our mental health will make grief more manageable, so don’t be afraid of seeking help or support from your loved ones or a professional.