Grief is the term that is given to the journey we go on when we experience loss. Often we think about grieving when someone dies, but we can grief any change in our lives, so it’s an experience that we will all go on at some point in our lives.
Many people think of grief as a solely emotional journey, but it also has physical effect on our bodies. This explains why some people who are grieving can experience stress reactions, particularly if they bottle-up their emotions.
Whilst everyone’s experience will be unique to them, the purposes of grief are universal, being:
- Experience the pain of the loss
- To accept the reality of the loss
- Adjust to the world without the lost person
- Reinvest in a new reality
It can be unhelpful to think of grief as an experience that helps us ‘move on’. Instead, think of it as an experience that we ‘move through’, guiding us towards establishing a different relationship with whom we have lost. Because the journey can be a painful process, it can be helped when the experience is shared with others.