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Let’s Talk About Grief

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One of the roles of a psychologist is to help bereaved individuals through their grieving process by trying to increase their sense of control and facilitate their adaptation.

Grief can be defined as the intense emotional and physical reaction that an individual experiences following the death of a loved one. Grief is not only characterized by deep sadness, but also by an intense yearning to be with that person again.

Bereavement is considered to be a normal human experience with the majority of individuals adapting over time to their loss, and grief, however, it remains a very painful period.

No two people will experience loss in the same way. How individuals express their pain depends upon several factors including their personality, circumstances surrounding the death, and the way they view the world.

One of the roles of a psychologist is to help bereaved individuals through their grieving process by trying to increase their sense of control and facilitate their adaptation.

Loss, change, and control are the three major psychological components of grief. Helping individuals identify as to what they have lost is an important step in the grieving process.

Change is an inevitable consequence of loss and how much change the person has to navigate tends to correlate with how much their lives overlapped with the deceased.

Learning to adapt to changes requires a lot of time and effort.

Control plays a central role in the cognitive interpretation of grief. When someone dies, the bereaved do not have any control over the surrounding circumstances of the death. Due to this lack of control, they can feel overwhelmed.

Five stages of grief
• Denial
• Anger
• Bargaining
• Depression
• Acceptance

How does grief affect the brain?
Grieving can lead to distraction in hormone production that results in specific symptoms such as disturbed sleep, loss of appetite, fatigue, and anxiety.

Healthy ways to cope with grief and loss-
• Seek support, find good listeners in your circle with whom you can share your thoughts too, seek professional help, and join support groups.
• Be patient. Take time to heal, do not rush.
• Stay present. Take each morning as it comes.
• Express yourself. You can choose to talk about how you are feeling either to a counselor individually or talk in support group sessions. Maintain a journal in which you can pen down, how you are feeling and what you are thinking.
• Allow yourself to have fun. Indulge in activities that help you relax or distract yourself.
• Have a routine. Building some structure can give you a sense of normalcy and hope.
• Take care of yourself. Eat well, stay hydrated, exercise regularly and avoid alcohol, drugs, and smoking.
• Remember and celebrate the life of the deceased. Anniversaries or birthdays of the deceased can be a difficult time for friends and families, but they can also be a time for remembering and honouring them.

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