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Health Center: Coping with Grief and Loss
What is Grief?
- Grief is an intense emotion felt when someone experiences a loss that is significant.
- There are many different kinds of losses that cause grief;
- Relationship changes (break-ups, friendship changes)
- Life changes (death of a friend or family member, pregnancy, loss of pregnancy)
- Health Changes
- Job/School related changes (graduation, moving, gain of or loss of a job, new work conditions/responsibilities).
Ways of Dealing with Grief
- As you move through the grief process there are things you can do to help ease the process
- Understand that grief comes in waves, try not to resist the waves, allow yourself to flow through them. Be patient with yourself!
- Get support from friends and relatives. If someone offers help, let them; it may be their way of showing friendship,
- Ask for what you need. Having someone listen to your thoughts and feelings can be very helpful.
- Experience your feelings. Expressions of grief aren’t “breaking down”.
- Take good care of yourself—eat good foods and exercise
- Engage in social activities
How can I support others who are grieving?
Be a good listener Just sit with them
Ask about their loss Share your feelings
Remember the loss Acknowledge the pain
Let them feel sad Be available when you can
Do not minimize grief Talk about your own losses
People who are grieving often feel isolated or lonely in their grief. Soon after the loss, social activities and support from others may decrease. As the shock of the loss fades, there is a tendency to feel more pain and sadness, and well-meaning friends may avoid discussing the subject because they don’t want to “make the person feel bad,” or “don’t know what to say.” Talk to your friend, plan social outings with them. Showing concern and thoughtfulness about a friend shows you care.
For more information about the grief process, or to speak with a counselor please contact the University Health Center at 503-943-7134.