Thursday 22 September, 2016.
Stages of Grief are normal after experiencing loss…
And loss can include loss of a job, loss of a relationship, loss of family due to relocation… And, of course, loss due to death.
On this page I will refer to loss due to death, but please note that these stages of grief apply to any kind of loss.
The 7 Stages of Healing are necessary and normal.
First identify the symptoms of stress that arise when coping with death…
Then learn to deal with stress due to bereavement in a healthy, conscious and pro-active way!
Once you understand how to identify the symptoms of bereavement stress and how to cope with what you are experiencing, let me take you through the 7 Stages of Healing that are identified with the stages of grief.
These 7 stages of healing can be experienced on all levels of being – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual – and not necessarily all at the same time either. The recovery process may last for days, months or even years.
The stages of grief do not necessarily go in sequence either, one may feel the first stage, then the fourth stage, then the second stage and then back to the first stage.
Stages of Grief
1. The first stage is DENIAL – “this can’t be happening to me”
Fear is the cause of denial. Fear of what is happening to you. Fear of the outcome of what is happening. People like to believe that they are exempt from anything bad happening to them, thus use denial to hold on to the pretense that nothing has changed and everything is still the same in their world.
In most cases denial does not last too long, but it gives the person the opportunity to prepare themselves for what is to come. Denial is an absolutely natural mode of behavior and gives one the time needed to fully comprehend what is happening. Denial is also a safety mechanism to stop one from losing control and feeling as though they are going crazy. And once a person is ready to face the situation, they will be able to move on from the state of denial.
2. The second stage is ANGER – “why me, what have I done to deserve this”
Once a person has worked through their denial and come to terms with what has happened, they will move on to the second stage of healing. Anger, rage, resentment and envy are also common to the healing process, because what you are going through may be perceived as unjust or unfair. This anger is usually randomly displaced in all directions and projected onto everything and everyone around you – nobody will be good enough and everybody will be doing things wrong according to you, while you are going through this stage. These emotions of anger will be experienced in varying degrees according to the person’s personality and how much anger the person has allowed themselves to release. Every person is different but everybody does experience some degree of anger when going through a time of bereavement and change.
3. The third stage is BARGAINING – “I should have done this” or “I should have done that”
Bargaining is usually due to guilt and generally comes after anger. Anger does not make things better and the person thinks that if they give up something or dedicate their life to a religion things will come right. Often a bereaved person says, “If I did this or that then this might not have happened” – they have terrible regrets about what they did or did not do in the past. And bargaining is a subconscious way of trying to balance the scales. But all stages of grief have their place.
4. The fourth stage is DEPRESSION – “I give up – I can’t go on anymore”
When denial, anger and bargaining do not work, the person usually goes through a period of depression. Their energy is very low and they seem to lose hope of ever getting back to normal again. They will feel sad but will not want to express their sadness. They enter into a gloomy state where they do not want to interact with others. They suppress their feelings and stop their energy from flowing freely, thus blocking and clogging up their energy field, causing more lifelessness and unhappiness.
5. The fifth stage is ACCEPTANCE – “I am getting to know myself all over again”
With enough time, once the person has gone through the previous stages of grief they will eventually reach the stage of acceptance. This is when you come to terms with what has happened and are ready to once again take responsibility for your life. They will progress to a stage where they are neither depressed nor angry and will be able to express their previous feelings of anger, frustration, hopelessness etc. They may want to be left alone or may want to communicate in quiet non-verbal ways as they prepare themselves for rebirth.
6. The sixth stage is REBIRTH – “I am changing my life and starting all over again”
Once the person has reached the stage of acceptance, they will naturally move on to the stage of rebirth. They will need a lot of quiet time and may even go on a silent retreat alone to get to know themselves anew.
7. The seventh stage is CREATING A NEW LIFE – “I am moving on”
As the person comes out of the bereavement period and stages of grief, they will have changed in many areas of their life. They may attract new friends and relationships into their life and may even move to a new job or location.
More Useful Information
- Learn more about the Stages of Grief and Symptoms of Bereavement Stress
- Bereavement poems can offer support and words of comfort. have a look at our choice of bereavement poems.
- A ritual for letting go can be very helpful in releasing feelings of attachment and despair. Our bereavement ritual for letting go takes you through the steps.
- Eating healthily is so important when recovering from grief. Don’t let bereavement stress affect your health. Eat wisely!
- The Grief Cycle is a great page for information on how to deal with the symptoms of grief due to any kind of loss.
Understand the nature of grief and loss and their potential impact on all aspects of your life: physical, financial, emotional, social and spiritual. Learn how to move through grief actively and make the process of mourning a healing one. Find support and guidance in dealing with the many facets of grief. [Learn more]