Dealing with Grief After Loss: 5 Tips to Help You Move Forward

Therapists and counselors usually define grief as the “feeling of intense sadness, shock, or bewilderment that someone experiences after losing someone or something in their life.” 

People usually grieve differently–some resort to anger or disbelief, while others go through extreme sadness. But whatever you are feeling as an automatic response to loss, know that it is completely normal and healable! 

You feel what you feel! But, a little guidance and the right motivation may help you deal with your grief and steer your life toward positivity. 

What is Traumatic Grief? 

Traumatic grief is a lot different than grief. Not everyone who experiences the loss of a loved one or goes through a life-altering event faces traumatic grief. It is a complicated condition where a person feels both fear and loss and becomes powerless in his thoughts and actions. 

This type of grief can usually result from witnessing sudden deaths, dealing with divorce, traumatic injury, serious illness, and death of a loved one. 

People dealing with traumatic grief are often more focused on how the tragedy happened rather than what they lost. They might also experience physical pains, insomnia, and severe anxiousness. 

Untangling Traumatic Loss: How to Deal with It? 

When you experience sudden trauma, your mind goes into defense mode and puts you in shock or disbelief. You won’t feel anything but numbness or utter disbelief for the first few days of experiencing loss. This is your brain’s way of protecting you from the full force of what’s coming your way. 

When you are feeling traumatic grief, it becomes more challenging to cope as you have both grief and trauma to deal with. 

Here are some indicators that someone might be experiencing traumatic grief:

  • Loss of appetite 
  • Poor concentration 
  • Insomnia or sleeplessness
  • Anxiousness 
  • Feelings of guilt and hopelessness 

While dealing with both trauma and grief may feel like a hard nut to crack, it is totally possible! The healing process can take days, months, or years–but you will reconcile and eventually thrive. So, hang in there, and don’t lose hope! 

Here are some tips that will help you reconcile faster and cope with your loss in a better way! 

Five Tips to Heal After Traumatic Loss 

1. Do not rush 

This is the most realistic and logical advice someone can give you when you are dealing with traumatic grief. Everyone experiences the different intensities of grief and there is no time limit on your healing journey. The process can take months or even years! 

Remember, your aim is not to forget the trauma faster and get back at life but to genuinely and completely heal from within. And this, my friends, will take time. 

Therefore, give yourself some space, explore your feelings, and mourn in pieces until you come out of your grief and trauma. 

Opening up all your wounds at once in the hope of getting over them faster will only lead to more compilations. Therefore, explore your feelings one by one no matter how much time it takes! 

2. Pay attention to your needs 

Many people resort to self-negligence when they are dealing with grief. This is especially common in people who are absorbed in feelings of guilt or self-blame after losing someone. 

They believe that they are somehow responsible for what happened and do not deserve any kind of compassion or care. But now is the time to remind yourself that you have experienced a loss and need all the compassion and care in the world. 

Be kind to yourself, practice self-care, eat healthy, and associate with the people who will help you heal. Dealing with trauma and grief is real hard work, and self-nurturing will only give you courage and energy to get past this phase. 

3. Face your feelings 

The initial feelings you experience after losing someone are shock and disbelief, but they usually subside after a while making way for anxiety, sadness, and anger. 

Many people also experience sleeplessness, flashbacks, and sensitivity to certain sounds. It becomes extremely challenging to navigate your feelings at this point. Therefore, many people often resort to blocking their thoughts instead of dealing with them. 

While this approach may feel very fitting for the moment, it can damage your emotional health to a greater extent. In order to heal from traumatic loss, you need to first face your feelings. 

Psychologists recommend replaying the traumatic events in small doses to fully acknowledge the reality and comprehend the circumstances. This approach will help you grasp the reality and absorb the fact that your loved one will not be with you again. 

If you are scared of your feelings, you can also consider taking help from a counselor or a therapist. 

4. Look out for PTSD

If you are dealing with traumatic grief, it is possible to also experience a few or all symptoms of PTSD. People who have gone through tragic accidents or have been a victim of crime may exhibit signs of PTSD along with traumatic grief. 

  • Here are some symptoms to identify PTSD:
  • Nightmares and insomnia 
  • Scary thoughts 
  • Inability to trust someone 
  • Feeling on-edge 
  • Aggressive outbursts
  • Difficulty concentrating 

It is always advisable to seek help for PTSD as this condition can pose long-term psychological effects. 

5. Find an outlet 

Keeping your thoughts, fears, and anxiety to yourself will only eat you from within. If you truly wish to heal and find a better footing in life, you need to find an appropriate outlet for expressing yourself. 

This will allow you to better acknowledge your feelings and give them a new shape or meaning. 

If you are good at writing, try to channel your thoughts through words. You can also try painting, photography, exercising, hiking, and speaking to explore your feelings. 

Final Words 

Healing from a loss and dealing with trauma is a tedious, long process. You need love, care, energy, and support to get past this phase. Try to surround yourself with nurturing people who acknowledge your feelings and make your healing journey easier. 

We will suggest seeking help from support groups or a certified counselor who will help you navigate your emotions. Remember, you should never give up on finding joys and good moments in your life. 

In the end, your past is only your past. Your present choices are something that will define who you are! 

Learn more: The Science of Mental Resilience: Building a Stronger Mindset.