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Grief: Coping With Grief
Grief is a normal and healthy reaction that occurs when you lose someone or something important. It's possible to delay or postpone grieving. But it's not possible to avoid grieving altogether.
Grief will lessen over time. But the grieving process doesn't happen in a step-by-step way. Give yourself all the time you need to figure out, accept, and express your emotions.
Your feelings are unique. Each person handles emotions and feelings differently. Find the way to deal with your emotions that fits you.
Support is important during the grieving process. Support comes in many forms. It could come from friends and family, by doing things you enjoy, or through activities that help you express your feelings, like writing letters or keeping a journal.
How can you cope with grief?
When you're grieving, give yourself all the time you need to identify, accept, and express your emotions.
- Identify your feelings.
- You may have conflicting feelings, such as sadness and relief. Writing is one way to identify what you're feeling.
- Accept your feelings.
- Try to stay connected to people around you. If you're having trouble talking about your feelings, consider joining a bereavement (grief) support group.
- Be patient and kind to yourself.
- Your feelings may be unpredictable and uncomfortable. Remind yourself that your feelings are normal.
- Express your emotions.
Expressing how you feel may help when you're grieving.
If you're afraid that you might harm yourself or someone if you express your emotions, talk with someone you trust or your doctor or a counselor about your concerns. You can ask your doctor for a referral. Or you might contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). You can text 741741 for 24/7 free support from a trained counselor. You can also call the NAMI HelpLine (1-800-950-6264) or go online (www.nami.org/help) to chat with a trained volunteer.
- Seek support.
- Support might be friends and family, doing activities you enjoy, or finding ways to express your feelings, such as keeping a journal.
Using writing to cope with grief
Writing about what you feel can:
- Help you organize and analyze your thoughts.
- Help you understand a situation and figure out your feelings about it.
- Encourage you to reflect on the situation, put things into perspective, and understand how the changes affect your life.
When you're ready, try these tips.
- Set aside time to write.
- Choose a private, comfortable place to do your writing.
- Choose a form of writing, like a letter, poem, or story.
- Don't worry about how well you write.
Write about everyday events or conversations you've had.
- Write what you feel.
Give yourself permission to write whatever comes to mind. Write about simple pleasures and joys you have experienced.
As you write, you may have strong feelings, such as fear, anger, or frustration. If you have concerns about these feelings, talk with a trusted friend, a faith leader, or a counselor.