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What's Wrong with the Stages of Grief?

While there might be five to seven stages of grief, there are only three steps for dealing with it. Stages of grief are descriptive and can help to explain some of the emotions you feel. However, to effectively deal with grief, you need an approach that recognizes grief for what it is: the most intense stress response that we as humans can experience.

Right now, as you grieve, you might not feel anything at all, and just be numb with the shock of the situation. It is a very uncomfortable feeling, but a very natural reaction to your loss. Please know that there are people and programs available and ready to assist and support you. You might start and stop these programs a few times. That's OK; take it at your own pace.

The Three Steps for dealing with Grief

STEP ONE: Immediate relief, if only temporary, from the physical and emotional stress you are feeling. The important point is to get some immediate relief from the stress that you feel. You can listen to audio relaxation programs. You can take a gentle walk or read some supportive writings. The goal is to find something that will help you calm your mind. Relief is very important for you now. If you are having trouble sleeping, try to find something that will help you fall asleep naturally. Natural sleep is nature's way to help keep you healthy.

STEP TWO: Compassionate understanding and giving yourself permission to grieve.If you find comfort in fellowship, consider joining a grief support group when you are ready,. Or, find a written, recorded or presented Program that will explain and answer the many questions and feelings you will have during your time of bereavement.

Also, consider Journaling. Journaling, if you decide to try it, might help you organize your thoughts and feelings, and help you to sort options and make plans. If you normally Journal and find it hard to do now, consider starting a new Journal just for your lost loved one.

Remember, any Program you choose should help you to understand and accept that what you are feeling is both normal and expected.

STEP THREE: Adjusting to your new way of living. Eventually, you will need clear and effective steps you can take to help yourself find relief from the physical and emotional stress of grief. And also, you will want to find ways of living that help you as you begin to adjust to life after your loss.

Each of these three steps will help you in a different way and at a different time as you grieve and mourn your loss. Grief is a process; it takes time and while some of the "stages" might be the same for some people, everyone and every situation is unique and different.

If you ever feel overwhelmed or unable to deal with your loss alone, please seek help. It is a sign of intelligence, not weakness, to get professional help when needed. A call to your local Hospice might be a good place to start. They normally have Grief Aftercare Support programs and many allow members of their communities to participate, even if they did not use Hospice services.

As you travel the journey of grieving the loss of your loved one, please take care of yourself and give yourself both permission and time to grieve.


Timothy J. O'Brien This article was adapted from the Preface of A Season For Healing, A Reason for Hope: The Grief & Mourning Guide and Journal. For more information about this Program please visit (copyright 2011 ISMPI, Inc.)


Mimi Rothschild

Mimi Rothschild is the Founder and CEO of the Global Grief Institute which provides Certification training programs forGrief Coach, Trauma Coach, End of Life Coach, and Children's Grief Coach. She is a survivor who has buried 3 of her children and her husband of 33 years. She is available for speaking engagements and comments to the press on any issue surrounding thriving after catastrophic loss. MEDIA INQUIRIES:

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