How Do You Cope with Grief?

My grandfather passed away last night. This loss has me thinking of the nature of grief, as well as what can be done to help you cope with it. I am sad that my grandfather is gone, since we lived in the same hometown for a long time, and I have spent a reasonable amount of time with him. But I am not overly engulfed by grief. He has been declining in health the last few years, and he might even be glad of the rest. I am grateful I got to visit him in the hospital the day before he died, and satisfied that he was able to recognize me. I am a little worried about my dad, though, since it was his father. Part of my worry about the situation is concern and sadness for my dad.

So I began thinking about what comforts me during times of sadness and grief. Times of grief do not always have to involve the death of a loved one. In some cases, it can be sadness over decisions made by a loved one, injury, depression or some other cause. Some of my coping mechanisms include:

  1. Faith: I am a devout member of my religion, and faith is one of the ways that I cope with grief. Prayer can help, as can my belief in an afterlife. I feel that I will see my grandfather again, and we will both be happy. Others draw strength from their spiritual traditions, and connection with the divine.
  2. Goals: Having something to concentrate on, rather than whatever it is that is making you sad, can provide a focus for your time and energy, and take your mind off things for a while. Working helps me focus on other things, and keeps me from sinking further into sadness. Others make a list of a few things to accomplish each day, and do their best to complete the items on the list.
  3. Expression: For me, sharing my feelings can be helpful. My husband and I talked about my grandfather’s death yesterday, and he talked about his beloved grandmother’s death a few years ago. And, it even helps to write about it a little bit, allowing me to express grief and disappointment and work through it. Others find that visiting with a professional and getting counseling is a good way to work through grief.
  4. Service: Getting outside yourself and helping others can help you cope with grief. Taking the focus off my own suffering and concentrating on someone else who needs help can be one way for me to forget my sadness for a space of time.

Of course, coping with grief is something that we all have to figure out on our own. We’re all different, and the things that help me may not work for someone else. However, having a good support system, accepting the reality of the situation, and working toward the future can probably help in times of grief for most people, even though it may take more time for some to work through their feelings.

Other things that might help you cope with grief may include:

  1. Gratitude list: Make a list of things you are grateful for. Try to include add one or two things to the list each day.
  2. Stay healthy: Good health can help you bear grief better. Try to continue eating well, and don’t forget to exercise. The endorphins released can help you feel better.
  3. Soothing scents and sounds: Consider scents and sounds that can help soothe your mind. Aromatherapy can actually be helpful, with some, like rose and jasmine, that can help get rid of depression. Music, nature sounds and other peaceful sounds, can also calm you and help you overcome grief.

What are some of the ways that you cope with grief?

Editor’s Note: Our condolences and best wishes are with Miranda and her family in this time of sorrow.

Photo: asifthebes at

5 Responses to How Do You Cope with Grief?

  1. Sorry to hear about your loss. I am glad you got to see him the day before he passed away. Sometimes people tend to “hold out” for the ones they love and when their soul feels satisfied, they let go in peace.

  2. Thank you all for your kind thoughts. I, too, am glad I got to see him. A reminder that you really do need to let people know that you love them.

  3. Miranda,
    I am sorry for your lose as well. I have gone through a lose myself and have found your blog to be very helpful to my situation. I am very grateful to have found your writing and have put some of these strategies into use. Thank you so much for the help and I hope you are well.

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