7 Types of Grief

I’m not a professional life coach or counselor, but I wanted to better understand what type of experiences we may encounter – So I did some research.

Loss is a fundamental part of the human experience, and we all deal with it in our own way.

This is a pain that can consume your mind – and more.

It is easier to burn out if you are grieving. I feel it is easier to address the core issues if we better understand loss and grief.

The Australian Psychology Society defines grief as “the response to the loss in all of its totality – including its physical, emotional, cognitive, behavioral and spiritual manifestations – and as a natural and normal reaction to loss”.

The price we pay for love and forming connections. If you lose someone or something, it may lead to shock, denial, anger, guilt, blame, and even sometimes relief.

It’s not losing a loved one though. There are many other forms of grieving that can affect us more than we realize. To better understand this, I turned to the studies. 

Here are 7 categories:

Non-Death Loss

It isn’t always losing a loved one. You can experience loss in physical, psychological, spiritual, and interpersonal lives. 

Secondary Loss

You may experience a ripple effect following a major loss. Breakups may lead to a fallout in finances, friends, faith, and an altered sense of self. 

Ambiguous Loss

Happens when you’re grieving someone who is still living. Again, a breakup may lead to grief. It is a reality fading away like a Polaroid developing in reverse.

Cumulative Loss

The experience of suffering a new loss before you have the chance to grieve a first loss. It comes up when we suffer many losses in quick succession.

NonFinite Loss

When someone doesn’t have the child, partner, job, or life they want, or dreamt of. Your life may not be exactly how you wanted it, and this will stress your emotions.

Anticipatory Grief

Grief that occurs before a potential loss. You may be preparing to say goodbye to someone, and this is where anxiety meets grief. 

Disenfranchised Grief

When a person feels denied the right to grieve by family, friends, community members, or society as a whole. I mentioned toxic positivity last week. You need to process grief to heal. This is grief that society doesn’t deem legitimate.

That last one is interesting. It can include many of the ones listed above. There are so many life events that happen, that people aren’t allowed to cope with like:

  • Relationship loss
  • Job Loss
  • Changes in Health
  • Pet Loss
  • Dreams and Expectations (Ego Death)
  • Harmful Habits
  • Change in Environment 

Here are some practical steps to healing from the National Foundation for Cancer Research:

  • Surround yourself with supportive people
  • Be gentle with yourself
  • Express your grief
  • Exercise daily
  • Keep a journal
  • Set a regular sleep schedule
  • Make a list of activities each day

I personally find being out in nature very healing.

Research has shown that time spent outdoors in sunlight and greenery is associated with many beneficial physiological changes, such as helping to reduce blood pressure and cortisol levels (a hormone associated with stress), while at the same time enhancing respiration and the release of positive biochemical hormones that help us to feel a greater sense of positive well-being.

Plus, it’s just better to change your environment and build some new memories and dreams.

If you are dealing with any form of loss, I’m sorry to hear that and I hope maybe a better understanding of this breakdown might help. 

See you out there.