The Who, What, When, Where and Why of Grief

by Rachael Harris, Psychologist Artius Ipswich

Who experiences grief?

Most people will experience some form of grief during their lives.

What is grief?

Grief is a normal reaction when we experience a major loss or change in our lives.

When do we experience grief?

Grief can be triggered when someone we know dies, when we experience a relationship breakdown or when we experience a major transition in our lives.

Where do we experience symptoms of grief? 

Grief is experienced by people in different ways. However, generally it can involve a change in our:

  • emotions – we can feel more sad or irritable than usual
  • thoughts – we can get fixed on the loss or change and become focussed on the negative
  • physical experience – we can feel unmotivated, tired, lethargic or experience a decrease in our sleep or appetite
  • behaviour – we can withdraw from things that are important to us, such as friends, family, work or recreation

Why can it be so hard to overcome grief?

Grief can be hard to overcome for a number of reasons, including when:

  • we experience a deep sadness associated with the loss or change
  • we do not allow ourselves to grieve properly
  • we try to bury our feelings or use alcohol and other drugs to “numb” the pain
  • we try to ignore our feelings
  • we try to use a quick fix or replacement

How can we try to work through grief?

Grief can take time. However, there are a number of things we can do to work through our grief, including:

  • allowing ourselves to feel what we need to feel
  • acknowledging everyone is different, even if you experienced the same loss as someone else
  • talking to friends and family about how we are feeling and what we are going through
  • acknowledging and accepting the memory of what we have experienced and lost while taking action to move forward in our lives
  • practicing relaxation strategies such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness and meditation
  • staying active in our life and keeping involved in the things that bring us a sense of joy and positive wellbeing
  • seeking support from a support group, helpline or psychologist if we feel we need some extra support with some difficulties that we are experiencing
  • speaking to a GP if we think medication might be needed to help with extremely low moods

If you or someone you know if experiencing grief and need to speak with someone, contact Artius today and make an appointment with one of our friendly Psychologists.

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