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Common Grief Reactions

People often think of grief as an emotional experience. It is. Grief is also a physical, intellectual, social, and spiritual experience. It not only affects how a person feels, it also affects behavior. Here are some common ways people react during grief.

Physical Reactions

Deep sighing
Weakness and fatigue
Rapid heartbeat
Increased blood pressure
Increased activity
Decreased activity
Muscular tension
Sleep disturbances
Decreased resistance to illness
Weight and appetite change
Neglect of self
Increased sensory awareness
Increase in self care 

Behaviorial Reactions

Searching for what was lost
Detached from surroundings
Disoriented to time and place
Withdraw from friends
Apathetic regarding future
Preoccupied
Crying
Seeking solitude
Seeking forgiveness
Providing forgiveness
Spontaneity
Withdraw from social activity

Emotional Reactions

Shock/numbness
Confusion
Relief
Overwhelming sadness
Guilt
Anger
Yearning
Despair
Hopelessness
Helplessness/lack of control
Feeling lost
Bitterness/vengefulness
Peacefulness
Spiritual connectedness

Cognitive Reactions

Impaired self-esteem 
Impaired ability to concentrate
Denial of reality of loss
Repeated review of loss event
Increase/decrease of dreams
Suicidal thoughts
Problem solving
Creativity
Wisdom

Spiritual Reactions

Emptiness
Challenge of beliefs/values
Search for meaning/purpose
Pessimism/idealism
Acceptance
Forgiveness
Experiences of connectedness
Compassion

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