Are You Sick of Grief?

By: Connie Owens
Monday, November 9, 2015

Connie Owens takes a look at the phisical reactions you experience if you are grieving any major loss, it is vital that you receive good grief education and become aware of grief’s health issues. Eating well, drinking lots of fluids and resting are more important than ever. So are practicing good coping skills, including writing about your feelings in your journal, exercising and expressing your hurt and anger. Finally, understand the importance of safeguarding both your emotional and your physical health by expressing your grief in any manner that works for you.

by Connie Owens

Loss and grief usually make us think of emotional displays and fragile feelings because those reactions are what we most often see. However, many physical changes occur during the grief process but, because they are not so visible, they are not so easily recognized. For that reason, they can literally make you sick.

Major stresses, such as death, interrupt your body’s normal cycles. Faced with the tremendous wound of your loss, your body is trying to help you to function. For instance, to initially protect you from the intensity of your pain and to enable you to face what is ahead, your body kicks into high gear. Within seconds, it produces higher amounts of adrenaline, several hormones and certain blood chemicals to give you extra stamina. Often this causes the “numbness” and sensation of being detached from reality that many people refer to as shock. Although your body is protecting you from an intense wound, it also is setting you up for potential health problems.

As a result of the increased blood chemicals, blood pressure, heart rate and blood sugar, kidney function and immunity decrease noticeably. Extra digestive juice alters your appetite. Extra adrenaline may interrupt your sleep and your concentration. Intestinal upsets are frequent.

Because your ability to sense thirst decreases, you may become dehydrated. Because your body is reacting automatically to the stress of loss, there is little you can do initially to control any of this. But, as time passes, you can help your body levels return to normal by expressing your emotions. If you don’t, your system will stay in high gear, and increased blood sugar, digestive juice, elevated heart rate and blood pressure will take a toll on your health.

Diabetes and those with high blood pressure or heart condition must be especially cautious. If you monitor your blood sugar or pressure, don’t give in to the temptation to take more medication to correct any fluctuations. That can lead to serious health problems. Instead, call your physician, especially about long-lasting symptoms.

If you are grieving any major loss, it is vital that you receive good grief education and become aware of grief’s health issues. Eating well, drinking lots of fluids and resting are more important than ever. So are practicing good coping skills, including writing about your feelings in your journal, exercising and expressing your hurt and anger. Finally, understand the importance of safeguarding both your emotional and your physical health by expressing your grief in any manner that works for you.

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