Are the “5 Stages of Grief” Real?

Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance: these are the very well-known five stages of grief, as postulated by Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book On Death and Dying. At the time of the book’s publication, very little instruction was given in medical school on the subject of death and dying, which was what motivated Kübler-Ross to share her findings in her work with terminally ill patients.

Since the book’s publication, the five stages of grief have become so well-known it’s now engrained in pop culture. Despite its popularity, some people may be surprised to find out that Kübler-Ross didn’t create the stages to indicate a linear progression of grief, but rather to describe the process of the patients she observed. Before her death in 2004, Kübler-Ross noted in her book On Grief and Grieving that the five stages were not meant to be a linear and predictable progression of grief, and that she regretted that the stages had been misinterpreted.

Coinciding with Kübler-Ross’ own remarks on the five stages, there appears to be no evidence that people go through any or all of these stages, or in any particular order. As unique as is each individual and their relationships, so too is their experience with the grieving process.

Since mourning the loss of a loved one can be such a devastating experience, many who grieve yearn for a checklist, a time to look forward to when the sadness and grief will end. Unfortunately, there seems to be no definitive “end” to the grieving process; much like our own personal growth, we’re never really “done” or complete with grieving.

As we deal with life as it continues, hand in hand with the experience of mourning a loved one, we find a “new normal” – a new way to be in the world without that person in our lives.

Although grief has no particular stages, timeline or ending, it doesn’t mean that we will grieve in the same way forever. The people that we love and lose are forever engrained in our hearts and minds. Over time, the indescribable sorrow of grief morphs into a sort of bittersweet gratitude: still sad that we lost our loved one, but happy and grateful for the gift of sharing our life and time with them.

If you are struggling with grief and need support and guidance, a licensed therapist can help. Please call my office today, and let’s set up a time to talk.

6 Tips for Grieving a Loved One

Grieving for a loved one is very possibly the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do. Understand that it will take time and effort to heal, but you will heal if that is what you want. (Holding onto the past and your anguish is an option, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend it.) While time will be the biggest factor in helping you heal – and unfortunately the amount of time is different for everyone – there are techniques and tips you can use to help yourself find your center and your inner happiness again.

Remember, grieving is not about forgetting the person you’ve lost, but instead is about coming to terms with the reality of your loss.

1. Give yourself permission to grieve. Always remember that it’s okay to be sad about the fact that the person you love isn’t around anymore. Allow yourself the freedom to explore the full range of emotions that may come up such as sadness, anger, and even happiness at the memories of your life together.

2. Do something special for your lover. The death of your lover doesn’t have to bring an end to the love you shared. You can do something special to honor them such as taking roses to their grave, writing a heartfelt love letter to them, or lighting a special scented candle in their memory. Expressing your love to them even after their demise helps you feel connected to them in a special way.

3. Give yourself a treat. Do something really special for yourself. Pamper yourself by going to the spa, having dinner at your favorite restaurant or sending yourself flowers. Indulge in your favorite hobbies. Taking time out to give yourself a cute treat will definitely lift your spirits. However, remember to recognize your limitations. Don’t force yourself to do an activity you don’t feel up to.

4. Do something nice for others. One of the best feelings is the sheer bliss that comes after doing something nice for someone who has nothing to offer you. You can volunteer somewhere, buy a homeless person food, or give blood.

5. Seek support. You don’t have to put on a brave face or go through your grief alone. Reach out to your friends or members of your family who you can talk to about how you feel without being judged. Tell them what you need, so they can help you in the best way possible.

If you’re having a really tough time coping with your grief over a loved one’s passing, it always helps to talk to a grief counselor or therapist. I offer counseling services and you can contact me to book a session.

When Will I Start Feeling Better? Grieving for the First Time

One of the most devastating experiences we must endure in life is grieving the loss of a loved one. Although we have the knowledge that everyone will eventually die, and we logically understand the finality of death, no amount of information can prepare us for the devastation of the actual experience. Losing someone we love for the first time can be overwhelming. Trying to comprehend the finality of this separation is a shock to our system. We can feel angry, anxious, or depressed.

Experiencing grief differs for each person. How we endure, experience, and eventually thrive is unique to each individual. Although Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) are very well known, they are still imperfect: not everyone will experience those exact emotions. There is no road map and no timeline when it comes to grief. When you start to feel better is largely up to you.

One of the most important things to recognize when it comes to grief is that the length of time you spend in mourning, or the depths of the sadness you feel, are not a measure of how much you treasured the loved one you lost. At the same time, it’s unhealthy to try and “skip over” the period of mourning by burying yourself in work or play. The only way to the destination at the end is to walk the road and to do that you must let the feelings come up: cry when you need to cry, and laugh when you need to laugh. If the sorrow you’re experiencing is overwhelming, here are some activities to try and alleviate it.

Schedule time to cry. If you find yourself spending too much time crying and upset, schedule a time to feel sad. Give yourself one hour when you can cry as much as you like. But when the hour is up, wash your face and do something nice for yourself.

Do something in honor of your loved one. This can be making a donation in their name, volunteering, planting a tree, or baking their favorite cake.

Write. Write your loved one a letter or journal your feelings.

 Meditate. Find a quiet place to meditate or pray. Visit your place of worship or read religious books you find comforting.

Exercise. Go for a walk, go to the gym, or take a yoga class. Try something new, or do something familiar – whichever feels better to you.

Although someone you loved has died, who they were has left a permanent mark on you: you are forever changed because of them. Honor their memory by honoring their life, and honor their life by making the best out of yours.

If you are struggling with grief and need help moving forward, contact my office today and let’s set up a time to talk.

5 Suggestions for Coping with Grief at Work

The loss of a loved one is one of the most painful tragedies that humans suffer. The impact of this loss is usually crushing, and in the aftermath of loss, we often feel like we have no control over anything. Grief is a natural response to loss. It’s perfectly normal to detach yourself from your normal existence to grieve. Unfortunately, life has to go on, no matter how sad you feel.

Returning to work while grieving is quite tough. You need to figure out how to be productive and deal with your colleagues who may start to act differently around you because they don’t know how to comfort you. You may not be able to control how everyone else acts, but you can make your return to work while grieving a little easier. From dealing with awkward conversations to accomplishing tasks, here are a few tips to help you navigate your work life while grieving.

1. Have an honest conversation with your employer- Be frank with your employer, and let them know your struggles. Explain that you might not operate at an optimal level for a while. Tell them exactly what you need, so they can help you. Ask for mental health days, work from home opportunities or anything else that you need while you grieve.

2. Focus on doing- It might be tempting to shut down and do nothing, but trying to be productive and crossing tasks off your checklists can distract you and prevent you from being consumed by painful feelings.

3. Ask for help- People generally want to help those who are grieving but don’t know exactly how to go about it. Don’t be ashamed to ask your colleagues for help. Instead of insisting that everything is great, tell them what you need. They’d be happy to pick up your workload, so you can focus more on healing.

4. Create a sanctuary- Find a quiet place to retreat to when things get a little too much, and you just want to have a good cry. It could be your car, or a room where people don’t go into often.

5. Carry tissues- You might find yourself crying a lot when you least expect it. Keep tissues handy, so you can clean your tears or runny nose when you’re done.

Always remember that grief is an important step to healing, in the wake of a loved one’s death. When you get back to work, be honest about how you feel with yourself and others. Don’t try to rush the mourning process. The sooner you confront your grief, and live through it, the sooner you’d be able to live the rest of your life in a happier and productive manner. It really helps to see a grief counsellor or therapist if you feel like you need assistance coping with your emotions. Remember, it’s not a sign of weakness but an intelligent decision to help you move forward. I offer grief counselling services, and you can contact me to book a session.

The Impact of Grief on Relationships

Experiencing the death of a loved one is one of the most painful things each person must face. The shock of your beloved friend or family member having passed away, along with the finality of their death is difficult to deal with.

Everyone Mourns Differently

The process of mourning is a very personal experience. Because grief is so personal, each person reacts differently to the death of a loved one; your instinct may be to reach out and connect, and the instinct of your friend or relative may be to retreat, distract themselves with work or hobbies or shut down.

Your relationship with the deceased was a unique one, so the process in which you grieve the loss will also be unique and personal to you. The close friends and family that you would expect to be there for you in one of the most challenging times of your life may not be present in the way you’d hoped or anticipated. Even your spouse or partner may not provide the comfort you’d expect.

Relationships Impacted by Grief Will Change

Although it’s disappointing and hurtful to experience what feels like a breakdown in your relationships when you need them the most, you must realize that your friends, family and spouse are likely also affected by grief, and going through their own process of mourning.

It’s also important not to rely solely on your spouse for comfort. It’s healthier for both of you, and will ease the stress on your marriage, if you have other people to turn to for help.

The impact of grief is an incredible strain on your existing relationships, as who you are as a person is temporarily altered as you struggle to cope with the loss and find a way to move forward. Your close friends and loved ones may have difficulty coping with how you’re mourning, causing them to pull away temporarily. They could also be very used to seeing you as a source of strength, and a pillar, and seeing you in this vulnerable state (in addition to possibly dealing with their own grief) is more than they can bear.

Seek Out New Sources of Support

Maintaining relationships takes effort, and they’re vulnerable to the difficulties we face as we move through life. You may need to turn to distant family members, other friends or acquaintances, make new connections through bereavement groups or seek professional help from a mental health counselor to find solace and understanding.

Although we can expect bereavement to change our relationships, we can also expect some semblance of normalcy as everyone affected copes with the loss over the passage of time. By forgiving friends or loved ones who weren’t there for you as you dealt with your grief, you can re-establish lost connections.

If you’re having difficulty with your relationships as you grieve and need some understanding and guidance, please give me a call and we can set up an appointment to talk.

Coping With Grief Through Meditation

Dealing with grief is one of the most devastating things in life that we must unfortunately experience. The finality of losing someone we love can cause us to feel angry, anxious or depressed.

When dealing with grief, it may feel like you can’t move forward, or you don’t know how you can continue living in a world without your loved one in it.

To help deal with these intense and overwhelming emotions, turning to meditation can help. Meditation is a practice of calm and silence, where the frenetic thoughts and worries in your mind are quieted for a moment of reflection or mindfulness. Through meditation, you can begin to calm your emotions, assess your feelings, and come to a place of acceptance and peace.

A Meditation to Cope with Grief:

  • Choose a quiet, comfortable space to sit where you can be alone for 15 to 20 minutes. Play some soft ambient music if you like.
  • Close your eyes and begin by taking slow, mindful and natural deep breaths: in through the nose, then slowly exhale.
  • Try to push away any thoughts or worries and concentrate only on being in this moment.
  • Think of the face of the person you’re missing, and imagine them before you, now. You can imagine that their spirit is there with you, or you can simply envision their face.
  • Express anything you’d like to them. Focus on making the conversation loving and compassionate. If you’d like, you can reimagine a memory. Put yourself back in time with your loved one and imagine experiencing everything in that moment.
  • Thank your loved one for coming to visit you. Imagine a peaceful and gentle goodbye.
  • Slowly bring your awareness back to the room. Feel the energy of yourself from the top of your head to your toes as you take slow and natural deep breaths.

Try this meditation any time you feel the need to do so.

There are apps you can download for your smartphone or tablet to help guide you through different meditations; just search for “meditation” in the App Store. You can also search YouTube for “meditations for grief” and try the guided meditations available there for free.

There is no one way to grieve; everyone grieves differently. There’s also no time table or deadline. The journey of grief is a very personal one, and the only way to get through it is to deal with the emotions you’re experiencing as they come.

If you’re having trouble moving forward after losing someone you love and would like some help, please give me a call today so we can set up an appointment.

Coping With Grief Through Meditation

Dealing with grief is one of the most devastating things in life that we must unfortunately experience. The finality of losing someone we love can cause us to feel angry, anxious or depressed.

When dealing with grief, it may feel like you can’t move forward, or you don’t know how you can continue living in a world without your loved one in it.

To help deal with these intense and overwhelming emotions, turning to meditation can help. Meditation is a practice of calm and silence, where the frenetic thoughts and worries in your mind are quieted for a moment of reflection or mindfulness. Through meditation, you can begin to calm your emotions, assess your feelings, and come to a place of acceptance and peace.

A Meditation to Cope with Grief:

  • Choose a quiet, comfortable space to sit where you can be alone for 15 to 20 minutes. Play some soft ambient music if you like.
  • Close your eyes and begin by taking slow, mindful and natural deep breaths: in through the nose, then slowly exhale.
  • Try to push away any thoughts or worries and concentrate only on being in this moment.
  • Think of the face of the person you’re missing, and imagine them before you, now. You can imagine that their spirit is there with you, or you can simply envision their face.
  • Express anything you’d like to them. Focus on making the conversation loving and compassionate. If you’d like, you can reimagine a memory. Put yourself back in time with your loved one and imagine experiencing everything in that moment.
  • Thank your loved one for coming to visit you. Imagine a peaceful and gentle goodbye.
  • Slowly bring your awareness back to the room. Feel the energy of yourself from the top of your head to your toes as you take slow and natural deep breaths.

Try this meditation any time you feel the need to do so.

There are apps you can download for your smartphone or tablet to help guide you through different meditations; just search for “meditation” in the App Store. You can also search YouTube for “meditations for grief” and try the guided meditations available there for free.

There is no one way to grieve; everyone grieves differently. There’s also no time table or deadline. The journey of grief is a very personal one, and the only way to get through it is to deal with the emotions you’re experiencing as they come.

If you’re having trouble moving forward after losing someone you love and would like some help, please give me a call today so we can set up an appointment.

Coping With Grief Through Meditation

Dealing with grief is one of the most devastating things in life that we must unfortunately experience. The finality of losing someone we love can cause us to feel angry, anxious or depressed.

When dealing with grief, it may feel like you can’t move forward, or you don’t know how you can continue living in a world without your loved one in it.

To help deal with these intense and overwhelming emotions, turning to meditation can help. Meditation is a practice of calm and silence, where the frenetic thoughts and worries in your mind are quieted for a moment of reflection or mindfulness. Through meditation, you can begin to calm your emotions, assess your feelings, and come to a place of acceptance and peace.

A Meditation to Cope with Grief:

  • Choose a quiet, comfortable space to sit where you can be alone for 15 to 20 minutes. Play some soft ambient music if you like.
  • Close your eyes and begin by taking slow, mindful and natural deep breaths: in through the nose, then slowly exhale.
  • Try to push away any thoughts or worries and concentrate only on being in this moment.
  • Think of the face of the person you’re missing, and imagine them before you, now. You can imagine that their spirit is there with you, or you can simply envision their face.
  • Express anything you’d like to them. Focus on making the conversation loving and compassionate. If you’d like, you can reimagine a memory. Put yourself back in time with your loved one and imagine experiencing everything in that moment.
  • Thank your loved one for coming to visit you. Imagine a peaceful and gentle goodbye.
  • Slowly bring your awareness back to the room. Feel the energy of yourself from the top of your head to your toes as you take slow and natural deep breaths.

Try this meditation any time you feel the need to do so.

There are apps you can download for your smartphone or tablet to help guide you through different meditations; just search for “meditation” in the App Store. You can also search YouTube for “meditations for grief” and try the guided meditations available there for free.

There is no one way to grieve; everyone grieves differently. There’s also no time table or deadline. The journey of grief is a very personal one, and the only way to get through it is to deal with the emotions you’re experiencing as they come.

If you’re having trouble moving forward after losing someone you love and would like some help, please give me a call today so we can set up an appointment.

Coping With Grief Through Meditation

Dealing with grief is one of the most devastating things in life that we must unfortunately experience. The finality of losing someone we love can cause us to feel angry, anxious or depressed.

When dealing with grief, it may feel like you can’t move forward, or you don’t know how you can continue living in a world without your loved one in it.

To help deal with these intense and overwhelming emotions, turning to meditation can help. Meditation is a practice of calm and silence, where the frenetic thoughts and worries in your mind are quieted for a moment of reflection or mindfulness. Through meditation, you can begin to calm your emotions, assess your feelings, and come to a place of acceptance and peace.

A Meditation to Cope with Grief:

  • Choose a quiet, comfortable space to sit where you can be alone for 15 to 20 minutes. Play some soft ambient music if you like.
  • Close your eyes and begin by taking slow, mindful and natural deep breaths: in through the nose, then slowly exhale.
  • Try to push away any thoughts or worries and concentrate only on being in this moment.
  • Think of the face of the person you’re missing, and imagine them before you, now. You can imagine that their spirit is there with you, or you can simply envision their face.
  • Express anything you’d like to them. Focus on making the conversation loving and compassionate. If you’d like, you can reimagine a memory. Put yourself back in time with your loved one and imagine experiencing everything in that moment.
  • Thank your loved one for coming to visit you. Imagine a peaceful and gentle goodbye.
  • Slowly bring your awareness back to the room. Feel the energy of yourself from the top of your head to your toes as you take slow and natural deep breaths.

Try this meditation any time you feel the need to do so.

There are apps you can download for your smartphone or tablet to help guide you through different meditations; just search for “meditation” in the App Store. You can also search YouTube for “meditations for grief” and try the guided meditations available there for free.

There is no one way to grieve; everyone grieves differently. There’s also no time table or deadline. The journey of grief is a very personal one, and the only way to get through it is to deal with the emotions you’re experiencing as they come.

If you’re having trouble moving forward after losing someone you love and would like some help, please give me a call today so we can set up an appointment.

Coping With Grief Through Meditation

Dealing with grief is one of the most devastating things in life that we must unfortunately experience. The finality of losing someone we love can cause us to feel angry, anxious or depressed.

When dealing with grief, it may feel like you can’t move forward, or you don’t know how you can continue living in a world without your loved one in it.

To help deal with these intense and overwhelming emotions, turning to meditation can help. Meditation is a practice of calm and silence, where the frenetic thoughts and worries in your mind are quieted for a moment of reflection or mindfulness. Through meditation, you can begin to calm your emotions, assess your feelings, and come to a place of acceptance and peace.

A Meditation to Cope with Grief:

  • Choose a quiet, comfortable space to sit where you can be alone for 15 to 20 minutes. Play some soft ambient music if you like.
  • Close your eyes and begin by taking slow, mindful and natural deep breaths: in through the nose, then slowly exhale.
  • Try to push away any thoughts or worries and concentrate only on being in this moment.
  • Think of the face of the person you’re missing, and imagine them before you, now. You can imagine that their spirit is there with you, or you can simply envision their face.
  • Express anything you’d like to them. Focus on making the conversation loving and compassionate. If you’d like, you can reimagine a memory. Put yourself back in time with your loved one and imagine experiencing everything in that moment.
  • Thank your loved one for coming to visit you. Imagine a peaceful and gentle goodbye.
  • Slowly bring your awareness back to the room. Feel the energy of yourself from the top of your head to your toes as you take slow and natural deep breaths.

Try this meditation any time you feel the need to do so.

There are apps you can download for your smartphone or tablet to help guide you through different meditations; just search for “meditation” in the App Store. You can also search YouTube for “meditations for grief” and try the guided meditations available there for free.

There is no one way to grieve; everyone grieves differently. There’s also no time table or deadline. The journey of grief is a very personal one, and the only way to get through it is to deal with the emotions you’re experiencing as they come.

If you’re having trouble moving forward after losing someone you love and would like some help, please give me a call today so we can set up an appointment.