Navigating the Stages of Grief

Grief goes through a variety of stages that cannot be controlled. The stages are not sequential, and each individual may experience their grief differently as they move back and forth through the different stages. Furthermore, a situation or stimulation can trigger grief again, even many years later.

When you experience a loss it is a natural response to grief. There is no “right way” to navigate through the stages, and there is no “correct order” to progress through either. Each individual will find their own path through the different stages.

Man experiencing grief sitting on a couch

The different stages of grief

  • Denial – This is a defense emotion when you are feeling shocked or numb. Denial becomes a way to cope with the overwhelming emotions.
  • Anger – This is when you feel frustrated and helpless, turning into anger as the emotions build. People may “emotionally throw-up” on others, even those that are not alive now.
  • Bargaining – This is when people ruminate and dwell on what could have been different to prevent the loss that lead to the grief and can lead to a deal being struck with self, others, or a higher power.
  • Depression – This is where sadness occurs and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical negative effects if stuck in this stage.
  • Acceptance – This is where you accept things as they are, and can move forward no longer grieving the loss or change.

How to navigate the stages of grief

As outlined previously, each individual will have their own path through the stages. There is no “correct” progression or order to experience the stages. Depending on that individual’s circumstances, the progression through the stages can take different lengths of time. It takes as long as it takes – there is no set time to grieve.

If grief is allowed to be a natural part of life and moved through as you need to without becoming stuck, then the sadness eases and the grief eases as daily life returns to a happier state. Practicing emotional and physical self care during this period can be incredibly helpful in navigating your grief.

However, if grief is interfering with daily healthy life, then a counsellor can be helpful in helping you explore your emotions and experiences, helping you normalize them, and teach you coping strategies and skills.

When I work with clients experiencing grief, I use and teach strategies that reset the central nervous system, balancing the brain which enables individuals to move through the various stages of grief more easily. These strategies include meditation, cognitive self-hypnosis, and NeurOptimal Neurofeedback. Positive Self-Hypnosis can also be taught so individuals can resolve grief in their life at home by themselves. If you are experiencing grief and would like a counsellor to help you navigate your experience, please book an appointment. I offer counselling and hypnotherapy in-person, over the phone, or online, as well as offer neurofeedback appointments in-person.

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