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What is grief?

Grief is a normal and natural response to loss. There is no ‘right’ way to grieve and there is no time frame - it shows up differently for everyone and evolves over time.

We tend to think grief means sadness and missing a person, and while this might be true, it’s often more complex and can lead to a whole array of feelings such as anger, anxiety, numbness and guilt.

Our bodies also respond to loss, feeling exhausted or acting in ways we might not understand, such as nausea, digestive issues, changes to our sleeping pattern, and aches and pains.

It can impact other areas of our life too, like our daily routines, our relationships, our self-esteem, our finances, and our perspective of the world. Many people feel that ‘everything changes’ after they experience a significant bereavement. 

We don’t have a rulebook for processing loss, but there are lots of things that can help, and it is definitely possible to live a full and happy life despite the challenges grief may bring.

Possible emotional responses in grief

  • Sadness
  • Numbness
  • Anger, irritability
  • Shock, denial
  • Relief
  • Guilt
  • Loneliness
  • Embarrassment
  • Anxiety

Possible physical responses in grief

  • Nausea
  • Aches and pains
  • Changes to appetite
  • Changes to sleep 
  • Exhaustion
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Digestive issues
  • Anxiety symptoms*

* e.g. sweating, palpitations