How Grief Can Affect Your Health

Grief usually refers to the emotion that follows the loss or death of a loved one. However, it can also be a response to other situations of loss, such as losing a pet, a job, a sense of security or a valued possession. If you are like most people then these times of loss are probably the most stressful instances in your life. Grief is necessary for you to effectively move on from a devastating event in your life. However, it’s also important to remember that grief can affect your health in many ways, so it’s good to know how to cope with your loss without damaging your health and well-being.

Loss of Sleep

Insomnia is a very common health disorder that can accompany grief. For instance, if you’ve recently lost someone then it’s quite normal to expect that you won’t be getting a lot of sleep in the next few days. On one hand, there are the many tasks that need attending to: loved ones to call, paperwork to wade through, a funeral to plan and more. Even when you do get the chance to grab some shuteye, you might still find yourself tossing and turning out of stress, sadness and several more negative emotions. Not getting enough sleep for a long period of time may take a toll on your health and cause headaches, fatigue and weight gain. Try meditating to clear your mind, at least for the night. A soothing cup of herbal tea might also help.

Chronic Stress

It’s also quite normal to feel a lot of pressure and anxiety during your period of grief. However, even though plenty of stress is inevitable, being extremely stressed for a very long period of time can be detrimental to your health. Chronic stress is believed to play a major role in many serious health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Stress can also make it more difficult for you to sleep at night.

Loss of Appetite and Over-Eating

Grief can also cause your dietary habits to drastically change. When faced with loss, you might lose your appetite or you might find yourself trying to cope with your sorrow by eating too much. Either way, not eating well can negatively affect your health. If you haven’t eaten a complete meal for several days then you can expect to lose weight. However, most of the pounds that you will lose will come from water weight, which means that you will eventually gain them back. Not eating enough will also cause you to feel fatigue, which will make it even harder to handle your current situation. If you tend to go the other way – which is to eat excessively – then you are also doing damage to your health. Binging on junk food will not only cause you to gain plenty of weight, but it could also cause indigestion and raise your cholesterol among other health effects. Try to eat healthy and well-balanced meals. Not only will you be able to maintain your weight, but you will also get to feel a certain sense of well-being.

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  • Cathi

    Good post, thank you. I would also just add that from a holistic, or energetic perspective, if grief is not allowed to move through us in a natural way it can find a place to settle in the physical body. I have seen many physical conditions that either went away, or were minimized once the energy of grief was allowed to move through.

    Thank you for your post.
    Cathi