Common Grief Reactions

The death of a loved one, a natural disaster, the end of a relationship or marriage, redundancy, these are but a few examples where a person may experience a grief response. Grief is the process that we go through to help us deal with a loss. Common grief reactions are:

Physical:

  • Changes in appetite
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Nausea, diarrhea, indigestion, constipation
  • General aches

Behavioural:

  • Sleeplessness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Crying (often unexpectedly)
  • Social withdrawal
  • Hyperactivity
  • Reckless behaviour (e.g. drinking)

Emotional:

  • Shock, numbness, disbelief
  • Self blame, guilt
  • Anger
  • Anxiety, panic
  • Loneliness
  • Relief or Indifference
  • Fear
  • Sadness
  • Depression

Cognitive:

  • Confusion
  • Poor concentration
  • Pre-occupation with the loss
  • Seeing or hearing the person
  • Dreams of the person who died

Spiritual:

  • Anger toward God
  • Consolation by belief in God
  • Seeking meaning of loss
  • Examining meaning of life
  • Strengthening in belief