Suppressed grief suffocates, it rages within the breast, and it is forced to multiply its strength. ~~ Ovid
The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. But what is happening inside the body after a significant loss? Whether it is the loss of a job you loved, a home, a beloved pet, a good friend, a child, or your partner in life you will go through the grieving process and you will feel the changes in your body.
The grief process is similar to the aging process:
- Slowing of the metabolism
- Shrinking of tissues
- More contraction, less flexibility
- Less clarity and awareness
- Less vitality and energy
- More stiffness, weakness and atrophy
- Less muscle tone
- Less appetite, difficulty with digestion
- Dull, confused and foggy thinking
- Slower response time in any given situation, including physical healing
- Less deep and full breathing
- Slower blood circulation
- Slower lymphatic circulation
Love really does hurt according to evidence from new brain scanning technologies. Researchers have found that the same area of the brain processes both physical and emotional pain and like physical pain, emotional pain can become chronic and move into what is known as “complex grief” causing debilitating depression. To combat the physical changes you need to get up and move! Join a gym, try yoga, water aerobics, or take up golf. You’re working your body and you’re being with other people, both of which you need at this time.
Humans are survivors and we’re social, so the single most important factor in healing is having the support of other people. Even if you’re not comfortable talking about your feelings under normal circumstances, it’s important to express them when you are grieving because sharing your loss makes the burden easier to carry. There are bereavement support groups in your community that you can be part of. Find the one that addresses your type of loss. Sharing your sorrow with others who have experienced similar losses can help. Also, seeking professional counseling is a healthy choice.
Grief can be a roller coaster. Your emotions can be up and down, a mix of good days and bad days. Even in the middle of the grieving process, you will have moments of pleasure or happiness. With complex grief and depression, on the other hand, the feeling of emptiness and despair are constant and you need to seek professional help.
Grieving is a necessary passage and a difficult transition to finally letting go of sorrow~~it is not a permanent rest stop. ~~ Dodinsky