How To Cope With Feelings of Grief and Loss


Grief and loss are painful emotions that everyone will likely experience at some point. Factors including your relationship with the deceased and the manner of their death may influence feelings, such as confusion, shock, anger, or a blend of emotions that could leave you feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.

Although it may not seem like it, these feelings are normal. Grief is a complex feeling, and there is no right or wrong way to experience it. After all, grief is extremely personal, and no two people will feel the exact same way.

What Does Grief Look Like?

Everyone feels grief and loss differently. Some may seem fine on the outside when they are internally struggling to cope with their emotions in reality. There are many aspects of grief. However, there are five distinct stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.[1]

However, as touched on above, this may not be the same for everyone. It’s also important to acknowledge that grief can manifest in many reactions, emotions, and even physical symptoms, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Guilt
  • Insomnia
  • Loneliness

It is also common to feel a sense of relief after a loved one passes away, especially if they have been unwell for quite some time. Though this can cause feelings of intense guilt, it is a normal response. It doesn’t mean that you don’t care about their death or didn’t love them – it means that you are glad they are no longer suffering.

Several types of grief, including traumatic and anticipatory grief, can stem from different events, such as a prolonged illness or sudden death of a loved one.

Traumatic Grief

Traumatic grief is intense and can be debilitating for those experiencing it. It often derives from the sudden death of a loved one who may have lost their life as a result of:

  • An accident
  • Homicide
  • Overdose
  • Suicide

Those who experience traumatic grief can struggle to accept their loved one’s passing. They may exhibit symptoms such as pining for the deceased, find themselves unable to focus on anything but the death, and experience emotional numbness. 

Anticipatory Grief

Anticipatory grief is similar to the suffering experienced after a loss. However, it starts before death. When a loved one has a terminal illness or has been unwell for a long time, people experience anticipatory grief. For some, anticipatory grief can help them say goodbye to their loved ones and prepare for their passing.[2]

However, this form of grief can also be accompanied by anger and loss of emotional control.[3] It can also be more stressful than conventional grief.

How To Cope With Grief

After the death of a loved one, it can often seem that there is no end to the loss you feel. However, there are ways to cope with these feelings of grief and loss. Although these coping strategies may not alleviate the emotions encountered entirely, they can make them seem more bearable.

Reach Out to Someone

Talking to family or friends about your loved one can help you process your emotions and think about the good times. Remember that you don’t have to be strong for others – it’s okay to show your true feelings to those who share your grief.

However, if you are not prepared for this yet, that’s okay. Meet up with friends for coffee and catch up or a walk around the park. You don’t have to talk about your grief if you don’t feel ready.

Discussing grief and loss with a therapist or bereavement counsellor can help you process your emotions. There are also support groups available to those struggling with grief, giving you a community of others who have experienced similar losses and who can help you during this challenging time.

Give Yourself Time

Grief doesn’t disappear, but over time, you will find it easier to manage. Giving yourself time to process and grieve fully will help you to cope with your feelings.

Some people find it better to take it one day at a time, as this allows them to focus solely on getting through each day. Others prefer to keep busy and stick to a plan, as it gives them structure and activities to complete.

When it comes to giving yourself time, there is no right or wrong. Some may need to keep busy for the first several weeks and then take a break to grieve, and vice versa.

Confront Your Emotions

It may be tempting to suppress grief so that you don’t feel the pain that it causes. However, this can inhibit your healing. With this in mind, it is essential to give yourself space to confront your emotions.

Journalling is a creative way to express your emotions. It can additionally help you to process them and acknowledge the pain. Alternatively, speaking to a therapist or bereavement counsellor is suitable for working through your emotions and beginning the healing process.

Get Some Fresh Air

Exercise won’t stop you from grieving, but it can give you a slight distraction, at least for a little while. For those experiencing physical symptoms of fatigue and insomnia due to grief, leaving the house and going for a walk or jog can be intimidating. However, it may help ease the symptoms encountered.

This is because exercise is a natural mood-enhancer that can help you feel a little better, even after a loss. Make sure to look after yourself in other ways too. For example, eat well, get enough sleep, and stay connected to your loved ones. Your mind and body are interconnected, and if you’re physically healthy, you’ll be able to cope mentally.


Coping with grief and loss can be a case of trial and error. What works for others may not work for you. As long as you remain healthy and do not turn to substances to numb the pain, there is no right way to cope. Remember that there isn’t a timeline for accepting your loss and moving on – it may take longer than you think, and that’s okay.

If you have a client or know of someone struggling with feelings of grief and loss, reach out to us at Khiron Clinics. We believe that we can improve therapeutic outcomes and avoid misdiagnosis by providing an effective residential program and outpatient therapies addressing underlying psychological trauma. Allow us to help you find the path to realistic, long-lasting recovery. For more information, call us today. UK: 020 3811 2575 (24 hours). USA: (866) 801 6184 (24 hours).



[1] Newman L. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. BMJ. 2004;329(7466):627.

[2] Reynolds L, Botha D. Anticipatory grief: Its nature, impact, and reasons for contradictory findings. Counselling, Psychotherapy, and Health. 2006;2(2):15-26.

[3] Gilliland G, Fleming S. A Comparison of Spousal Anticipatory Grief and Conventional Grief. Death Stud. 1998;22(6):541-569. doi:10.1080/074811898201399