How Grief Works

Dealing with Grief

In 2002, Wendy J. Hamilton, MADD national president, gave the United States a C for its handling of drunk driving.
In 2002, Wendy J. Hamilton, MADD national president, gave the United States a C for its handling of drunk driving.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Without fail, the majority of professionals encourage grieving individuals not to grieve alone and avoid suppressing emotions. Generally, holding back feelings just prolongs the process and makes it more difficult to cope. Those with a close group of family and friends to help them through grief tend to go through the grief process more quickly and in a healthier manner. Since grief can manifest physically as well, it's important for bereaved individuals to take care of themselves by eating a balanced diet and getting plenty of exercise and sleep. Grieving individuals are also encouraged to avoid alcohol and drugs because they are depressants and can make the process much more difficult.

People going through the grieving process are also encouraged to channel their sadness in a constructive way, whether by writing in a journal, working on a scrapbook or creating a memorial in honor of the deceased. Many find solace in becoming involved in an organization that held a special meaning to the deceased. Notable organizations, such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.) and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation were founded by people grieving the loss of a loved one.

Although the intensity of the grief tends to fade over time, it's important to remember that the sadness can reappear quickly during special times like holidays, anniversaries or significant life milestones. While grief may not ever be completely resolved, it often fades to the point where the person can be remembered with fond memories and laughter, rather than tears. The famous philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche penned a quote perfectly describing the end result of the trials and tribulations experienced during grief and other hardships: "That which does not kill us makes us stronger."

You'll find lots more information on grief and other emotional topics below.

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More Great Links


Bemey, Karen. "What to Expect After a Loved One Dies." Discovery Health. June 24, 2008.

Kersting, Karen. "A New Approach to Complicated Grief." APA Online. Nov 2004.

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