Grief Affects Behaviors, Feelings, Thoughts (Including Memory), & Body
Grief affects all the areas of a person: behaviors, feelings, thoughts and physical body. Each grief experience is unique. A woman may experience all, some or none of the symptoms of grief.
Below are some of the common manifestations.
- Absent-Minded Behavior
- Accident–Prone (because of being easily distracted)
- Avoidance of Tasks
- Appetite Disruptions (either too much or not enough food)
- Difficulty Making Decisions
- Disinterest in Activities That Used to Bring Pleasure
- Dreams/Nightmares About the Loss
- Easily Distracted
- Focus Only on the Negative of the Lost Person/Place, Thing/Idea
- Focus Only on the Positive of the Lost Person/Place, Thing/Idea
- Inattention to People/Circumstances at Hand
- Inability to Focus
- Inability to Pray
- Loss of Perspective
- Mood Swings
- Sleep Disruptions (either too much or not enough)
- Social Withdrawal and/or Overly Clingy
- Feeling Crazy or Like You Are Losing Your Mind
- Lack of Belonging
- Loss of or Increased Faith
- Overwhelmed by the Pain of Earlier Losses That Weren’t Grieved Over
- Roller Coaster of Emotions and Feelings
- “I didn’t realize it would be this hard.”
- Lack of Concentration
- Mental Anguish
- Ruminating About the Loss a Lot
- Time Distortion (feels too fast or too slow)
- “What’s the Use?”
“Grief disrupts your mind and thinking abilities. Confusion moves in and memory takes a vacation. . . Just as your leg can experience a cramp and not move, it’s as though your mind has a memory cramp. Your mind is paralyzed and shuts down…” (Wright, 12-13)
- Deadens/Heightens Every Sense
- Doing Anything Requires Extra Effort (even simple tasks)
- Empty Feeling in the Stomach
- Exhaustion (physical and emotional)
- Grief Spasms 1
- Lack of Energy
- Many/Little Tears
- Memory Loss
- Panic Attacks
- Rapid Heart Rate
- Sensation of Aimlessness
- Shortness of Breath
- Surprise at Intensity and Suddenness of Emotions
- Tightness in the Chest and/or Throat
- Weakened Immune System
- As you look over these common symptoms of grief, which one(s) describe you?
- What has surprised you about this list?
- How does it make you feel to know that these are common manifestations of grief?
- Are you acknowledging your grief or are you ignoring it?
- What is one healthy step that you can take today to deal with your grief?
- 4 Ways Grief Has Changed My Beliefs
- Chronic Pain Brings Losses to Grieve
- Dozen Ideas to Move Past the Blahs
- Every Loss Can Bring Grief
- Four Ways to Help a Women Who is Grieving
- It’s Important to Grieve the Little Losses Too
- Live Well Today
- Loss Leads to Depression
- Mourning is a Choice
- Sometimes Nothing is the Best Thing to Say
- This Grief Attitude Annoys Me
- Time to Pray Away Love
Wright, H. Norman. Experiencing Grief. Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2004.
1 A grief spasm is a normal, sudden, unexpected, upsurge of the emotion grief (Wright, 18). The best way to handle this out-of-control feeling is acknowledge that you can handle this intensely difficult emotion. And wait for it to end.
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