Many people experience grief at least once in their life but knowing that doesn’t necessarily make navigating it any easier. Loss can bring about life-altering change and the shock of that can linger for months and sometimes years. Everybody experiences grief in their own way, but sometimes understanding the five stages and studying ways to withstand them can bring comfort.
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at what constitutes grief, the five stages, and how best to cope with it. We’ll also look into when it’s appropriate to seek help.
What Is Grief?
Grief is most associated with the loss of a loved one, but that’s not always the case. At its root, grief is the natural human response to a loss of any kind. Divorce, loss of health, losing a job, retirement, the passing of a pet, the loss of a friendship, the loss of safety after trauma, and even the sale of a family home can bring about feelings of grief and despair.
The process can be loud, quiet, secret, or out in the open, with much of it being determined by an individual’s coping style and personality. Having said that, much of what we now understand about grief is drawn from the “five stages of grief” written by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in 1969.
The model is far from prescriptive, but it remains a helpful tool in our conversations surrounding coping and grief. So, let’s look at the five stages to better understand the whirlwind of emotions commonly experienced in the face of loss.