Five Stages of Grief You Should Know About

what is grief
October 13, 2020

Everyone has experienced grief at some point in their lives. It is an overwhelming feeling that requires your attention. If you have lost someone valuable in your life and are going through a grieving period, then this article is certainly for you. Down below, we will tell you more about what grief is, what are the main phases of it, and how to cope with this emotion to get better soon.

What Is Grief?

It is an acute and overwhelming feeling that accompanies the loss of a loved one in your life. Very often, it can be a feeling that occurs when a person finds out that they have been diagnosed with an incurable illness. In addition, grief can appear after job loss as well after breaking up with someone. It is a pretty normal emotional reaction of an individual on any drastic life-changing event.

If you have faced a loss, then remember that your feelings are natural. You should give yourself time and let yourself mourn. It’s alright to feel anxious, shocked, confused, lonely, guilty, sad, desperate, irritable, and even disorganized. The main thing is to understand that everyone has bad and good days and you are not alone in it.

Main Stages of Grieving

Generally, there are 5 main stages of grieving. Now, let’s cover in-depth each of them so you can get a better understanding of what exactly you are experiencing at the moment.


It is the first stage of the grieving process. Usually, it is a pretty intense feeling that people get overwhelmed with. During this phase, your loss or discovery about terminal illness might seem unbelievable, and you pretend that bad things didn’t happen to you. It is a quiet normal response of your brain to such a life-changing event, and it works as a defense mechanism.

We try to hide from the situation, and we try to convince ourselves that it is not true. Denial helps us to minimize all the emotional pain and lets us adjust to a new reality. Once you start realizing that everything that happened is real, you will start healing, and your denial will fade away. Gradually, you will come closer to the second stage of mourning.


It is the next emotion you will experience on your way to healing, and it works as a mask that hides your real pain. You might channel this anger on people that are around you, on objects, as well as on a person who recently died.

Usually, people are nothing to blame for, but channeling our anger at them, allows ut to feel a little bit relieved and redirect our pain. However, it is not the best decision to make as it can be harmful to your relationships with others.

It’s better to learn to cope with negativity healthily and release your burdening emotions while practicing sports. Not everyone experiences this phase, and for some people, this stage might last longer.

Anger makes it possible to let out negative feelings we had inside of us after the loss. Some people might want to be isolated and seem unapproachable in the eyes of others. Once the emotion of anger subsides, you will be able to think more rationally about the situation and move on to the next phase.


Here is another defense mechanism that enables you to hide from emotional pain and hurt. Usually, people feel vulnerable and helpless and think a lot about “what if” or “if only” as they could change the outcome of the events. It’s like a person who wants to make a deal with higher powers to alter the inevitable events. All similar actions might be considered as bargaining.

Very often, the bargaining stage is also accompanied by the extreme feeling of guilt. It makes us believe that there was something that we could do to avoid the deadly outcome and save someone we loved with all our hearts. People who are in the phase of bargaining are living in the past and denying the painful reality.


This one is considered as a quiet stage of grief when we want to isolate ourselves from people to cope with it by ourselves. You experience extreme regret and are fully immersed in your emotions. In a case with the mourning period, depression doesn’t mean any mental health problem. It’s a way that enables a person to get through overwhelming feelings and heal.

The fourth phase means that we have settled with a sad and painful reality, and we realize our loss. During this period, you might not want to socialize. However, it is the period when a person that has experienced bereavement needs some support from a family or a close friend the most.


Here is the last grieving stage that will set us free from all the pain and will let us live
an emotionally healthy life with peace of mind. Accepting your loss doesn’t mean letting the pain go away from your life as any bereavement, especially if it was sudden, affected you gravely.

This stage is about accepting the pain you have gone through and understanding what the loss means to you. Different people experience this phase individually. Most likely, you won’t feel okay for a long period. But still, you will start living your life and enjoying things you used to do little by little.

How to Cope with Grief

If you are going through a tough grieving period and want to cope with it and start healing, here are some tips that might help you. These are healthy ways to do it that will help you get back on track faster.

Talk to Family and Friends

If you have a shoulder to cry on, then you should use this opportunity. Don’t push away your friends and family as they can be a powerful source of support then you desperately need. Talk to them about your feelings, and you will feel better. You are surrounded by people that are always here for you and who are ready to listen to everything that’s going on in your head carefully. Try to celebrate your life with people that are still around you.

Unleash Your Emotions

One of the main things you should do while grieving is to accept all your emotions. You don’t have to be ashamed of it as all of them are normal after experiencing loss. It is an integral part of healing. You have to unleash all the feelings. If you want to cry, then you should cry, if you want to scream, then scream. You will certainly get better soon.

Take Care of Yourself

During this tough and emotionally depleting period, your main task will be to take care of yourself. Do all your best to eat healthy food, drink enough water, and get plenty of sleep. Regular physical activities will also help you pull yourself together and get back your positive mindset.

It will also be recommended to do as many things that make you feel as better as possible. For instance, get back to your hobbies or do whatever it takes to avoid negative thinking and focus on something pleasant.

Give Yourself Time

You have to go through all grieving stages to heal. Be patient, give yourself time, and don’t rush yourself. You will feel it once you are ready to move on with your life. But until then, you have to live in all these feelings as you need some time to get used to everything that happened to you.

Keep in mind that it will be recommended to turn for expert help in case you understand that you cannot cope with it by yourself. Aslo, it will help you to avoid prolonged grief that might occur.

Getting Professional Support

Don’t be afraid to seek expert mental help. Many people still believe that it is uncomfortable and inappropriate. In fact, it will help you cope with the grieving phase in your life much faster than by yourself. If you don’t want to have in-person sessions, then there is a perfect alternative for you.

Online therapy is getting more and more popular nowadays due to several reasons. It is the safest and most convenient way for people to get professional help. You can communicate with a therapist via your favorite gadget at any time from anywhere. Online sessions are as effective as in-person therapy, but it’s less expensive, and there are various affordable packages for everyone.

In addition, online sessions allow you to choose the most appropriate communication way that will be suitable for your needs and preferences.

These include:

  • Communicating via text messages
  • Discussing your problems via phone calls
  • Live video sessions

Summing It Up

As you can see, grief is an overwhelming emotion that accompanies any life-changing event like the loss of a relative or a friend or any other hardship. All people experience mourning in various ways, and you should give yourself time to go through the grieving process to heal eventually. Remember that you are not alone, and to get better, you have to rely on the support of your family, friends, or a mental health specialist.

Here are some things about grieving that you should remember:

  • Grief accompanies any loss or serious illness and has 5 stages
  • Don’t rush yourself. Take some time to grief as it is an integral part of the healing process
  • If you cannot do this by yourself, don’t hesitate to turn for professional help

We have plenty of professionals on board as well as experts that help people overcome the mourning stage in particular. You should learn more about us and start using our services to make your first step to healing. To improve yourself and your emotional state, don’t hesitate and sign up now. We are here to help you with all your hurdles so you can live a healthy and happy life.

Kate Skurat

Kate Skurat

Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Washington, United States

Kate has a B.S. in Psychology and M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University and has worked in healthcare since 2017. She primarily treated depression, anxiety, eating disorders, trauma, and grief, as well as identity, relationship and adjustment issues. Her clinical experience has focused on individual and group counseling, emergency counseling and outreach. Read more.

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