Defining Acute Grief and How to Cope with It
Posted by: Erin Ward in Grief and Guidance | 1 week ago
Grieving the loss of a loved one can look very different depending on the person, especially since there are several grief types out there. One grief type that’s not discussed a lot is acute grief.
To learn more about acute grief and how to cope or help someone cope with it, keep reading below.
Defining Acute Grief
According to The Center for Complicated Grief, “acute grief occurs in the early period after a loss and often dominates the life of a bereaved person for some period of time, strong feelings of yearning, longing and sorrow are typical as are insistent thoughts and memories of the person who died.” They also note that the griever may experience emotions like anger, anxiety, guilt, remorse, and shame.
In other words, it's the intense grief symptoms that someone experiences shortly after the passing of a loved one, and they usually get less intense over time. But if it continues long after the death of a loved one, it could escalate into complicated grief. That’s why it’s important to find healthy ways to cope.
How to Cope with Acute Grief
Per The COPE Foundation, self-compassion can help people cope with acute grief and prevent it from escalating into complicated grief. Specifically, they mention three areas to focus on: self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.
Self-kindness is pretty self-explanatory, as you should be kind to yourself while you’re grieving. Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult things that we will ever go through in life. Learning how to cope with your grief will take time, so take care of yourself during the process.
For common humanity, you can find trusted loved ones to talk to about your loved one and your grief. It also may help to talk to a professional grief counselor if your grief symptoms are overwhelming, or you just want a safe place to talk about how you’re feeling. You also could consider joining a grief support group to talk with others who are grieving the loss of a loved one.
Lastly, for mindfulness, you should accept your emotions and learn how to cope with them, rather than avoiding them. Like we mentioned before, avoiding your feelings can escalate into other forms of grief.
How to Support Someone Who is Coping with Acute Grief
To support someone who is coping with acute grief, you can be someone that they can talk to. You can share your own grief experiences to help relate to what they’re going through, but don’t make the focus on you. Or if they don’t want to talk, you can just provide them with some company and a homecooked meal.
If they’re looking for grief resources, you could help research local counselors, support groups, and other virtual and in-person resources. You also could reach out to your local funeral home for ideas.
What other ways can you cope with acute grief? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.