In psychology, grief is a multi-faceted reaction to loss. This loss often is a personal one, such as the loss of someone or something with which a bond has been created. While loss is often looked at as something that produces an emotional reaction, loss also features cognitive, social, physical, behavioral and even philosophical implications. A similar term for grief is bereavement. However, bereavement technically refers to a condition of loss, while grief relates to the response to loss.
What causes grief can encompass a good many things. For example, while it is often thought that grief is mostly caused by serious occurrences such as the death of a spouse or a loved one, simpler things can also trigger a response of grief. Other occurrences that may trigger a reaction of grief include the loss of a job, moving to a new location, losing a pet, or losing a good friend. The broad range of happenings that can trigger a response of grief illustrates precisely how natural grief is to the human condition, as well as how vulnerable people are to experiencing grief in their lives.
It is known that each person reacts to grief in his or her own way. This means that a person is likely to react to grief in an individualized way, and there is really no right, natural or wrong way to react to grief. However, there is something called the Theory of the Five Stages of Grief, which refers to a process that, while untested, is popularly accepted as a series of emotions that people go through in trying to cope with grief. The five stages of grief are said to be, in sequence, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
Grief can be a challenging hardship to overcome. This is entirely normal and natural because no person in this life is immune from being subject to grief. It is also important to understand that it's normal to realize that it may not be wholly possible to get over a loss completely, especially if the loss relates to the death of a person with whom one has had a close bond. Still, the upside to this is that with time and patience, it is entirely possible for one stricken with grief to move on with his or her life, because a person can be resilient to grief, too.
Here are some excellent resources for learning more about grief:
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