Archive for September 2020

What Are Some Physical Effects Associated With Grief?

Posted on Sep 21, 2020

tired grieving man

The passing of a loved one is not only emotionally exhausting—but it can also wreak havoc on one’s physical health. 

Cardiac Health

Due to higher quantities of the stress hormone cortisol as well as changes in adrenaline levels following the trauma of losing a loved one, grief can put a harmful strain on one’s cardiovascular system. A sudden emotional shock can result in what feels like a genuine “heartache” and chest tightness. Intense sensations of chest pain, shortness of breath, or dizziness may require medical intervention.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Experiencing “butterflies” in one’s stomach concerning grief may be an understatement. An inner emotional emptiness can give way to a physical sensation of emptiness in the gut that can cause or stem from a lack of appetite. Other digestive issues linked to grief may range from nausea, constipation, bloating, diarrhea, or even acid reflux and heartburn. 

Neurological Issues

Despite being emotionally exhausted, a common physical symptom of grief is a disruption of one’s sleep schedule or even insomnia. An inability to achieve sufficient sleep can result in difficulty focusing one’s attention, brain fog, lowered energy levels, or headaches. Insufficient sleep can also impact one’s immune system from reacting appropriately to sicknesses. 

Assorted Sensations

Grief can bring about various physical sensations not otherwise felt included but not limited to a lump in one’s throat, dry mouth, sensitivity to light and sound, shakiness, etc. 

Helping Relieve Unpleasant Sensations

While it is important to remain consciously vigilant against serious physical maladies, a mourner should note which symptoms arose as a result of emotional trauma to prevent bouts of health anxiety. In addition to understanding which sensations are likely to dissipate with time, there are several techniques and remedies to help manage or relieve many of the grief-induced feelings.

Physical Exercise

Though it likely feels like the last thing a grieving person wants to do, remaining physically active has been shown to increase one’s mood. A report published in the Journal of Happiness Studies claimed that even as little as 10 minutes of physical activity a week could increase happiness.

Mindfulness Meditation

Many people suffer from the misconception that they are their thoughts. That means that any agonizing emotional thought that comes to mind assumes control of their very identity as long as it remains. Practitioners of Mindfulness Meditation say otherwise. Mindfulness Meditation is a practice that allows grief-stricken individuals to train their minds to realize when they’re being swept away by any thoughts—notions of sadness or otherwise. Mindfulness Meditation has been shown to help countless individuals reclaim control of their thoughts and emotions.

Journaling It Out

Writing down one’s emotions may feel like one of the last activities a grieving person would want to do. However, many grieving individuals claim that writing out their feelings has helped substantially in processing them. The process of journaling thoughts, emotions, and memories allows the brain to speak to itself in ways it usually would not. Even if no one ever reads the words of one’s journal, simply getting them out can significantly help mitigate emotions of grief and thereby their associated physical sensations. 

Grief Professionals There When You Need Them

Serving more than hospice patients, the grief counselors from Cura HPC Hospice & Palliative Care in Tulsa, OK, serve the entire family through the dying process—preceding and following the loss of a loved one.

How Does the Grieving Process Progress?

Posted on Sep 21, 2020

statue representing grief

As the passing of a loved one approaches or whether it has recently occurred, feelings of grief can surprise us. While it would be nice if we could be instructed on how to grieve so we can know what to expect, this would assume that everyone grieves the same way. Even though no two people grieve precisely the same way, there are a few similarities that grief experts have noted. Being familiar with grief stages may help you and your loved ones anticipate these stages’ arrival as they occur. 

1. Feeling Numb

Despite preparing for the moment of passing of a loved one, many report an initial sensation of numbness, shock, or even denial. Some experts believe it is an emotional self-defense mechanism to what could be overwhelming news or events. This period of numbness, shock, or even disbelief can last hours or even weeks. It may be a while until the reality of the situation settles in, which leads to the next phase of grieving. 

2. Disorientation

As the initial numbness begins to fade, more of the weight of grief begins to rise to the surface. This sensation can creep in little by little or can emotionally overwhelm a person. Individual reminders of the loved one, or a profound realization of their passing can trigger this sudden influx of emotions. In other times, this time of disorganization and chaos can arrive seemingly out of nowhere. Though this time can seem alarming to those who experience it or those around them, it can be the beginning of a breakthrough that ultimately results in relief. Still, this difficult period can last for a few days or may even linger a year or longer, depending on the individual.

3. Restructuring

Following the steadying of one’s emotional foundation, the last phase of grief can begin—discovering the new normal of life. While life will be forever changed, a feeling of acceptance and recovery isn’t too far behind. Physical sensations of grief may begin to subside, including one’s appetite, sleep patterns, and energy levels. The weight of grief becomes lighter, and some either return to familiar routines or begin to form new ones. 

Different For Everyone

Though psychologists and grief experts have mainly mapped grief stages, every experience of grief is unique. Expecting to feel a certain way, either better or worse, should never be confined to defined periods. Every grieving individual should give themselves as much time as needed to properly grieve and recognize when a return to a new normal is likely. Like prematurely removing a bandage or stopping a course of medication before an infection has ceased, rushing through the grief process may result in delayed or improper healing. 

Grief Professionals There When You Need Them

Serving more than patients in the twilight of their lives, grief counselors from Cura HPC Hospice & Palliative Care in Tulsa, OK, help the entire family through the dying process—before and after the loss of a loved one.