Elisabeth Kubler-Ross developed the five stages of grief in her 1969 book, On Death and Dying. Grief is typically conceptualized as a reaction to death, though it can occur anytime reality is not what we wanted, hoped for, or expected.
Grief is identified as the sorrow that accompanies a loss, especially the loss of someone close. It can be felt in both big and small ways, and it can accompany the loss of family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances, and even pets. Grief can also be felt with the loss of a job, a relationship, or even a major change in life.
The five stages are a common guide to navigating through the loss. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance are commonly experienced, but they do not have to be experienced in any order. Though loss can feel like a lifetime for some, individuals experiencing grief do not adhere to any timeline and there is no set schedule to “get over it.” It is a natural and individual experience, and everyone who enters grief will move through it at their own pace.
When you combine experiences of stress and trauma to grief, it is overwhelming. It takes a toll on our mental and physical health. Our minds and bodies are consistently being impacted by the stress response, a nervous system reaction to feeling threatened. It triggers the release of adrenaline and cortisol, impacting sleep, appetite, making it difficult to function at your best.
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