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Grief is a universal and common response to loss. Everyone experiences grief for so many reasons at some point in their lives. But there are different types of grief. It’s important to be aware of the differences in the types to move through the grief process in a healthy way. Choosing not to acknowledge your grief and deal with grief can have a negative effect on your overall life.

So, what are the types of grief? How does it affect the body? Read on to explore the answers to these questions and tips to deal with grief. Let’s begin!

Table of Contents

Grief meaning 

Grief is a natural reaction to loss in your life. It can be a loss of a loved one or something important to us. But the loss of a job, divorce, romantic breakup, losing a home, loss of health, losing a pet, retirement, loss of health, and loss of dream can also trigger grief. Everyone experiences grief differently, and it can affect you physically and mentally. 

In a nutshell, grief is an emotional suffering that appears when we lose something we have a strong emotional connection with. During grieving, you experience intense feelings of sadness and sorrow, and you deny your loss. It’s normal to grieve the loss, but you should recognize its types and learn healthy ways to cope with it to prevent further emotional and physical loss. 

7 Types of Grief 

Grief is a complicated and universal emotion. Below are the main types of grief which will help you understand your feelings. Keep reading to learn these seven types and see if you or your loved one is experiencing any of the following types of grief.

1. Normal Grief

Normal grief lasts from six months to two years after the significant loss. This type of grief is considered the ability to move forward and accept the loss. Moreover, people experiencing normal grief carry on their regular routines and healthily deal with their grief. In it, you may feel pain and physical, behavioral, social, and emotional reactions for a limited time and the intensity of these feelings lessen over time. 

2. Anticipatory Grief

Anticipatory grief is an emotional reaction to feeling grief before a loss actually happens. For example, you might grieve the loss of a friend dying from late-stage cancer. You start imagining your life without that person. Knowing they don’t have much life makes you upset, and you feel loss and fear. During this type of grief, you anticipate how you will react and grieve once your loved one passes away. 

Living in such anticipation is complex and challenging as you see someone suffering. But there is a positive side to anticipatory grief. It lessens the loss and impact after the person passes away, and you don’t have to experience a sudden loss. Also, you’ve time to say goodbye and other words. All these things prepare you for the grieving process after a loss.

3. Complicated Grief

Complicated grief refers to grief that becomes prolonged, more intense, and damages the ability to function. A small percentage of people experience this type of grief. The pain of complicated grief is so overwhelming that it makes it highly difficult to return to a normal routine. 

You feel depressed, increased anxiety, suicidal thoughts, self-destructive behavior, and deep feelings of guilt. Traumatic grief or complicated grief can occur after losing a parent, partner, or job. Complicated grief requires help from grief counseling and therapy by a grief and loss coach because it does not resolve on its own. 

4. Inhibited Grief

Inhibited grief occurs when someone represses emotions around a loss. They remain busy and distracted to hide their feelings from others rather than feeling the loss and reacting to it. When you refuse to acknowledge your grief and avoid dealing with it, it leaves adverse physical effects like fatigue, body aches, lack of appetite, poor sleep muscles, etc. Sometimes, it leads to other types of grief. Working to discover and explore your emotions helps you accept and process your grief. 

5. Absent Grief

Absent grief happens when you show little to no signs of grief and don’t acknowledge the loss. In it, the bereaved person silences their feelings and acts like nothing has happened and they’ve not experienced any loss. This type of grief stems from complete shock and denial. When a loss is unexpected and sudden, absent grief happens in such cases. However, it is concerning and requires specialist support if you experience absent grief for a long time. 

6. Delayed Grief

Delayed grief is when emotions and reactions in response to the death may be postponed until another event occurs. For example, if you lose your parent in a car crash, you spend the first few weeks comforting your siblings and handling other affairs. Sometimes, this type of grief can resurface after you believe you’ve accepted your feelings, and it acts like a trigger. You see photos with your parents and feel different emotions from the loss. 

7. Disenfranchised Grief

Disenfranchised grief refers to the suffering occurring to someone when society does not acknowledge or understand the importance of their loss. It happens with losses that society considers minor or not legitimate. It includes the death of an ex-partner, the loss of a pet or a coworker, or a decline in physical ability after an accident.

Also Read: Recognizing Your Grief Triggers: 7 Ways To Manage Them

How grief affects the body?

Grief does not just cause mental health issues. It can affect your body, too, by causing physical symptoms. To help identify these symptoms, here is how grief impacts the body. 

    • Muscle, body aches and pains

    • Heaviness or tightness in the chest and throat

    • Impaired immune system

    • Weight loss or gain

    • Trouble sleeping

    • Dizziness

    • Shortness of breath

    • Fatigue

    • Heart trouble

    • Gut issues

Remember, everyone experiences grief in their own way. So, there could be other ways how it affects the body. These include aggression, lethargy, irritability, loss of interest in daily activities, and alcohol overuse which is terrible for your health. 

Also Read: The Grief Recovery Method & 6 Myths About Grief

How to get help from grief?

Now, you know the types of grief and its physical impacts on your body. Grief affects everyone in a different way, depending on the loss they experienced. So, you should take good care of yourself, find the best ways to process it, and support others who are grieving. The key is to turn to your friends and family who care about you, join a support group, face your feelings, express your emotions creatively, and look after your physical health.

If you feel you or someone you know is experiencing any of these types of grief, it’s essential to know these feelings are normal after a loss. You need to seek help from a grief counselor or grief therapist to process a loss. Remember, there is no shame in reaching out for help. Online therapy and grief counseling are extremely helpful in managing grief and coping with a loss. Grief and loss coaching can help you process your feelings and move toward healing. If you feel lost and find yourself at a point of crisis, you can get confidential & compassionate guidance and support by reaching out to me via a free discovery session. As a grief and loss coach, I’ll guide you with effective grief therapy techniques and how you can recover from the grief and move on in a healthy manner.  

Develop your confidence starting today with a FREE Discovery Call 
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Picture of Vivien Roggero - Elite Transformation and Executive Coach
Vivien Roggero - Elite Transformation and Executive Coach
Vivien Roggero, an Elite Transformation and Executive Coach, specializes in high-performance coaching and personal transformation, guiding professionals to peak success and fulfillment. With decades of experience, Vivien empowers high achievers, executives, and entrepreneurs through mindset shifts and strategic development.
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