Life is full of changes and with it can also come loss and grief.

How individuals react to change and loss is different for everyone and the impact can affect every aspect of our being. We all understand that change is inevitable and that it can bring positive growth as well as difficult times but when we are the centre of this experience, we often find ourselves confused and stressed.

Take a moment to reflect on the losses and changes in your life – death of a significant person in our life, unemployment, change in schools and friendships, divorce, change in health and capacity, disability, violation, natural disasters, loss of a relationship, transition and changes to the family structure, change in financial status and so life goes on.

While we mostly associate grief with a bereavement or death of someone, we also experience grief reactions to the many other changes in life. What is certain is that the grief reaction is individual, never simple and impacts on all parts of our being.

Physical:

  • Headaches
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Stomach aches
  • Tired and Fatigued
  • Sleepy

Social:

  • Withdrawn relationships

Mental:

  • Distracted
  • Confused
  • Inability to focus
  • Thoughts/Self talk

Spiritual:

  • What’s important now?

Emotional:

  • Feelings
  • Anxiety
  • Angry

An individual’s grief is influenced by many other factors in our life, our history, our previous loss experiences, our personality.

J William Worden “Grief Counselling and Grief Therapy; A handbook for the Mental Health Practitioner.”(2009), outlines 7 Mediators of Mourning (the factors that makes grief so individual). These factors were developed to explain bereavement but can be applied to other significant changes and losses.

7 Mediators of Mourning (What makes the Grief Reaction so individual.)

1. The relationship with the person who passed away; the nature of the situation or change

2. The importance of the change or loss (how strong was the attachment)

3. How the change/ loss happened (violent, accident, natural disaster, suddenness, expected, unplanned)

4. Previous experiences of loss/change (many foster homes, compounding experiences, instability in employment)

5. Personality factors, temperament (coping styles, beliefs, thinking style, adaptive style)

6. Available Social, support network (family, friends, community groups, perceived support)

7. Other changes, other stressors (unemployment, financial issues, loss of home, homeless)

Change is a normal part of life, change may be positive or negative and the grief that can accompany these changes may take time to process.

Sometimes, due to all the factors already mentioned, the grief situation stops us from functioning at an optimal level and becomes complicated. This is the time that professional support may be of benefit to you. If you think you need this support, contact our friendly team of psychologists at Revive Health and Happiness