How The Body Grieves

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“No one tells you that bereavement causes physical pain too. It felt like every cell in my body was screaming the agony of separation from their opposite number in him,” wrote Carol Batchelor .

The Physiology of Grief

When grief hits, when our world is turned upside down, when loss is all consuming and pain is our constant companion, it is important to be reminded that our bodies are attached to our mind and emotions.  Emotional distress will negatively affect our bodies.  So here are just a few ways the body process the physiology of grief:

  • The immune system goes into shock, resulting in reduced immunity against disease
  • Chest pain and muscle ache is common
  • Eye sight is affected temporarily
  • Weight loss or weight gain can occur
  • Mental clarity is diminished and the capacity to focus on ordinary tasks is challenging
  • The body experiences high levels of fatigue/exhaustion
  • Healthy sleep habits can be interrupted by insomnia, dreams, or nightmares

What can we do to remedy bereavement’s physical side affects?  Act upon positive choices to care for your body.  As we do, our body’s increasing health will assist us in healing the emotional trauma.  It’s pretty simple:

  • Eat good healthy foods.
  • Exercise in the fresh air.
  • Drink 8 glasses of water daily.
  • Take a warm bath or shower before bed.
  • Relax with music or inspirational reading.
  • Consider increasing your vitamin intake.
  • Start to write about your grief experiences.
  • Cry freely.

As we care for your body, it reduces the suffering of our broken hearts and we just might discover healing of our whole self.

2 Comments »

  1. Several years ago we did foster parenting for medically fragile infants, so we knew going in that we might lose some of them in death. But I poured my heart into some of the sickest ones, and when then would thrive and go on to new homes I would always get sick, and I didn’t think about it as being connected to the babies leaving until one of the nurses in the program pointed out that each time a child was moved I would become physically ill. I always grieved when they left, but I didn’t see the illness as part of the grief.

    • Geri, you give an excellent personal example of how grieving affects our physical body. Thank you so much for sharing so that others can understand a little better that their own experience is simply they side effect of traveling the path of grief.

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