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In one form or another, we have all experienced grief. Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, a job, a relationship, or physical items like money or a house, grief is a heavy and complex series of emotions that affect us on many levels. We discuss the 5 Stages Of Grief In Order, particularly when it comes to grieving the loss of a loved one due to death.

Grief is a part of the cycle of life, but losing people we love and care about can feel traumatic. It’s important to be aware of our physical wellbeing during a time of loss, as we can experience health setbacks. It’s best to avoid neglecting your wellness practices during a time of grief. 

You may experience severe physical changes such as disrupted sleep patterns, loss of appetite, loss of focus and energy, and sadness that carries over into other areas of your life. Be patient and compassionate with yourself and know that at some point, it will get better. 

5 Stages Of Grief In Order

1. The first stage of grief is DENIAL

Although the body may initially interpret the loss of a loved one as an event, grief is a process – and the very first natural response is shock and disbelief.

The reality of having lost a loved one can be so harrowing that our minds will refuse to accept it. It’s hard to accept death. This is a normal reaction. Denial keeps the reality at a safe distance until we can slowly process it. Every individual will process the stages of grief differently. Psychologist, author, and grief expert, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross says that the stages are not meant to “neatly package up grief.” there is no typical loss and no typical grief. Grieving is as individual as we are and is not a linear process.

2. The second stage of grief is ANGER. 

You may be angry with the person for not being here anymore, or with those who were responsible for preventing this from happening in the first place, or at something completely unrelated to the loss. Underneath the anger is profound sadness which can lead to feelings of isolation. It can feel as if nobody understands the depths of your grief. This results in anger and frustration and that will take a toll on your wellbeing and peace of mind. Be gentle with yourself as you go through it.

3. The next stage of grief is BARGAINING

Somewhere inside, we believe that we can change the outcome. So much so that we’re willing to negotiate – with God or a higher power.

This comes from a sense of helplessness and pure vulnerability. This is the stage where acceptance begins to take root, but in our hearts and minds, we can’t bear the thought of going on without this person and as a last-ditch effort, we try to mend things with the universe. 

We are willing to do whatever it takes.

4. This leads us to the fourth stage: DEPRESSION

Depression sets in as we sit with the loss and realize the weight of it, deep within our bodies. 

This is where we stop all the thinking, we stop trying to fix or undo the loss, and simply sit, quietly with the reality of that void. We feel too sad to do anything. There is no specific time frame for any of the stages. Grief, and the varying degrees of emotions that come with it, can intensify unexpectedly throughout each of the 5 stages.

5. There will come a moment where you reach the fifth stage: ACCEPTANCE

Acceptance doesn’t mean everything is suddenly fine. It simply means you acknowledge that this happened and you cannot change it. Death is a natural part of life and whatever the circumstances may have been in losing a loved one, you’re focus has shifted and now you’re ready to accept and grief the loss.

DENIAL, ANGER, BARGAINING, DEPRESSION, AND ACCEPTANCE

These five stages of grief are experienced differently by everybody. Our ability to cope with each of these stages will also vary. But it’s important to acknowledge the stages and allow yourself the time and space to feel your emotions. Some of us find ways to honor

our loved ones, either in prayer or meditation, flowers at the gravesite, or conversations with them in our private time.

Methods like these can be powerful coping mechanisms. Others may experience more difficulty in moving forward. It’s important to have somebody to talk to and have a way to express what you’re feeling. If you’re finding it difficult to move forward or find yourself stuck, consider seeking professional support. A grief counselor or therapist will provide you the tools you need to cope with your loss and to move forward with your life and wellbeing.

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Jennifer Billings is the Medical Editor at Medicwell. She is an Integrated medical doctor who has been published on Medicwell Blog, Medium.com and is a regular contributor at MedCity News, Physician Family, and Psychology Today.