A woman sitting on rocks by the shore

 

Written by Jenny Goldade

 

Everyone deals with loss in their own way, some grieving longer than others.

 

The progression of grief and mourning varies depending on people’s own situations, but what exactly is the difference between these two terms?

 

To break it down simply, grief is internal and is typically followed by mourning, which is external. Grief involves emotions, thoughts, and feelings going on in the brain, while mourning is the process of adjusting to life without the deceased.

 

People experience grief and mourning differently, but there are general stages people go through when processing loss.

 

Grief

Grief is natural to feel when coping with the loss of a loved one. It is the beginning of the mourning process that can last weeks, months, or even years depending on the closeness of the relationship with the deceased and whether the death was anticipated, sudden, or unexpected.

 

It is important to make peace with the loss and not bury emotions because grief will catch up eventually. Feelings of sadness, anxiety, worry, frustration and other emotions are normal. Feeling physically tired, achy, and weak also are common expressions of grief.

 

Some healthy ways to deal with grief are accepting your feelings, healing with family, exercising, meditating, and giving yourself time to grieve.

 

Mourning

By the mourning stage, people have accepted the loss and are trying to adjust and get back out into the world without the deceased. There is no “normal” amount of time to mourn — it can last months, years, or even forever depending on the situation.

 

Some healthy ways to mourn are joining a support group, creating a ritual to remember the deceased, and not questioning feelings.

 

It’s normal to feel sad when losing a loved one, but if mourning and isolation from society last for a long time, it may be a symptom of depression.