The Effects of Grief on your Body
If you’ve ever lost a relationship in your life or have experienced an extreme sense of longing from your past, then your experience can be explained by grief. Grief arises from an extreme sense of loss from a changing life transition.
Many of us think of grief as merely an overwhelming emotion to deal with, when in fact, grief affects us in multifaceted ways. We understand that grief can be associated with many mental health issues, linked with an increase in anxiety and depression, and even trigger a traumatic response.
We are less aware of the body’s response to grief and ways that our physical health is being jeopardized while going through the grieving process. As complicated as this process is, it is important to understand your individualistic bodily signs when you are dealing with a loss.
Here are some signs that your body is being affected by the grieving process.
One of the first physical signs of grief on your body is feeling fatigued. The feeling of fatigue is generally characterized by overtiredness and a sense of exhaustion. This can interfere with your ability to perform daily tasks, while struggling with a lack of concentration and weakened muscles.
Some might say that the stomach is the second brain of the body. Digestive issues are associated with many diseases and mental illnesses. You might find yourself describing these bodily stress sensations as ‘butterflies in the stomach’, ‘a hole in the stomach’, or ‘the gut doesn’t feel right’.
Grief can also affect your sleeping patterns, you might be having difficulty falling asleep as well as staying asleep. You may also notice that you are sleeping longer than you would like to. Many studies have shown that sleep is a crucial part of our physical health and is associated with many mental and physical illnesses.
Change in Weight
Have you been feeling an increase in cravings or a loss of appetite? Are you finding yourself skipping meals? You may be dealing with weight fluctuations, whether it’s gaining or losing weight. These changes can provide valuable information about how you cope with stress while grieving. If you are having a significant change in your eating habits, you might be building a negative coping mechanism from the overwhelming process of grief.
A weakening of the immune system
Your immune system protects you from many illnesses including the common cold and the flu. If your nose seems stuffier than usual and your throat is frequently itching, your body might be informing you that it’s been weakened by the stress and anxiety surrounding your grief. With your weakened immune system, you might find yourself having more headaches and body aches as well.
Tips for taking care of your body while going through the grief process:
Move your body frequently
Eat consciously by incorporating a healthy diet and snacks
Create a morning and nighttime routine for better sleep
Stay hydrated by tracking how much water you drink
Find the right type of support from family, friends, and support groups.
It is overwhelming to go through the grieving process alone. If your body is giving you signs that your grief is too much to handle, don’t ignore them. Take action to take care of yourself emotionally and physically.