When Life Changes Cause Grief

Reviewed Oct 31, 2017

Close

E-mail Article

Complete form to e-mail article…

Required fields are denoted by an asterisk (*) adjacent to the label.

Separate multiple recipients with a comma

Close

Sign-Up For Newsletters

Complete this form to sign-up for newsletters…

Required fields are denoted by an asterisk (*) adjacent to the label.

 

Summary

  • Life changes disrupt your routine and relationships.
  • People grieve after both good and bad changes.

The word grief is most often used to talk about how people feel when someone dies. Grief is actually a reaction to any loss. Some losses are easy to recognize. Examples include the death of a loved one, divorce, or the loss of a pet. Other losses are harder to recognize or understand. Examples include getting a dream job, moving to a nicer house, or graduating from school.

Other common life changes that cause grief and loss include:

  • Serious illness or disability
  • Social rejection
  • Loved one sent to jail
  • Job promotions or rejections
  • Relocating
  • Retirement
  • Adopting or having a baby
  • Losing a beloved pet

Most life changes interrupt day-to-day life and disrupt daily routines. People rely on routines to make sure they get to work, take children to school, or eat nutritious meals. They know what to do and how to behave because they do it that way every time. It helps people feel secure. Losing a routine means losing the security. People may not know how to do things differently. Their roles or responsibilities may change. The loss of a routine often affects every part of our lives.

When life changes, so do relationships. Relationships within families or friends change after a death. Friends or family may pull away from each other. A person would become an only child if a sibling dies. Other children may feel forgotten when a new child is born or adopted. Also, moving means finding new friends and building new support systems. Retirement can shift roles within the family. Graduating from school can mean starting a new life from scratch.

Types of changes that cause loss

Changes at work include getting fired, getting a promotion, retiring, and moving. Losses can include:

  • Job security
  • Financial safety
  • Lifestyle
  • Home or community

Changes in your family include marriage, divorce, having or adopting a child, a child moving out, and a loved one’s drug use disorder. Losses can include:

  • Lifestyle
  • Financial stability
  • Sense of self
  • Trust
  • Personal safety

Serious illnesses and new disabilities often cause many life changes. Losses can include:

  • Independence and self-care
  • Work
  • Financial
  • Roles or identity
  • Social life
  • Hobbies
  • Friends or family members who do not understand
  • Desired appearance

Violent or upsetting events can be personal or community-based. They may cause physical losses. They also change the way people see themselves or the world. Losses can include:

  • Feeling of safety
  • Sense of self or confidence
  • Trust in people, the community, a god, or a higher power
  • Daily life as it was prior to the event
  • Control of one’s own body
  • Power

Coping with change

It can be hard to deal with day-to-day life when change causes loss and grief. Finding the right support can help.

Friends and family. People often turn down help from friends and family members. They want to look strong. But it is not weak to accept support. Letting someone help with chores or errands can make life simpler during this hard time.

Support groups. Some people like to talk to others who have had the same loss. In-person or online support groups are good places to find this type of support. Local organizations or health care systems groups may offer free or low cost support groups.

Religious or spiritual support. Many people find support in their religious or spiritual communities. Rituals and shared beliefs can be comforting. Clergy people or other spiritual leaders may offer one-on-one or group counseling services. Many people find comfort in prayer or meditation.

Professional support. Therapists and counselors can help people who need more support. Some professionals specialize in grief services. Grief centers help people deal with grief caused by any loss. A primary care physician as well as a child’s pediatrician can offer good resources.

Decision-making

People may need to put off or get help making important decisions. Grief can make it hard to focus or see the big picture. They should see if making the decision can wait until they feel more like themselves. If decisions cannot wait, it is a good idea to find an advocate to help guide them.

Resources

The Compassionate Friends
www.compassionatefriends.org
(877) 969-0010

The Help Guide
www.helpguide.org

By Beth Landau
Source: American Psychological Association, www.apa.org; American Society of Clinical Oncology, www.cancer.net; Lambert, Jo. “People with Disabilities Face Unique Grief, Loss Issues.” Access Press. 2006, www.accesspress.org/2006/09/people-with-disabilities-face-unique-grief-loss-issues; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, www.samhsa.gov; University of Texas at Austin, “Grief and Loss,” http://cmhc.utexas.edu/; Zisooki, S., and Shear, K. (2009) “Grief and bereavement: what psychiatrists need to know.” World Psychiatry, 8(2): 67–74.
Reviewed by Joan Narad, MD, FAACAP, FAAP, Medical Director, Beacon Health Options

Summary

  • Life changes disrupt your routine and relationships.
  • People grieve after both good and bad changes.

The word grief is most often used to talk about how people feel when someone dies. Grief is actually a reaction to any loss. Some losses are easy to recognize. Examples include the death of a loved one, divorce, or the loss of a pet. Other losses are harder to recognize or understand. Examples include getting a dream job, moving to a nicer house, or graduating from school.

Other common life changes that cause grief and loss include:

  • Serious illness or disability
  • Social rejection
  • Loved one sent to jail
  • Job promotions or rejections
  • Relocating
  • Retirement
  • Adopting or having a baby
  • Losing a beloved pet

Most life changes interrupt day-to-day life and disrupt daily routines. People rely on routines to make sure they get to work, take children to school, or eat nutritious meals. They know what to do and how to behave because they do it that way every time. It helps people feel secure. Losing a routine means losing the security. People may not know how to do things differently. Their roles or responsibilities may change. The loss of a routine often affects every part of our lives.

When life changes, so do relationships. Relationships within families or friends change after a death. Friends or family may pull away from each other. A person would become an only child if a sibling dies. Other children may feel forgotten when a new child is born or adopted. Also, moving means finding new friends and building new support systems. Retirement can shift roles within the family. Graduating from school can mean starting a new life from scratch.

Types of changes that cause loss

Changes at work include getting fired, getting a promotion, retiring, and moving. Losses can include:

  • Job security
  • Financial safety
  • Lifestyle
  • Home or community

Changes in your family include marriage, divorce, having or adopting a child, a child moving out, and a loved one’s drug use disorder. Losses can include:

  • Lifestyle
  • Financial stability
  • Sense of self
  • Trust
  • Personal safety

Serious illnesses and new disabilities often cause many life changes. Losses can include:

  • Independence and self-care
  • Work
  • Financial
  • Roles or identity
  • Social life
  • Hobbies
  • Friends or family members who do not understand
  • Desired appearance

Violent or upsetting events can be personal or community-based. They may cause physical losses. They also change the way people see themselves or the world. Losses can include:

  • Feeling of safety
  • Sense of self or confidence
  • Trust in people, the community, a god, or a higher power
  • Daily life as it was prior to the event
  • Control of one’s own body
  • Power

Coping with change

It can be hard to deal with day-to-day life when change causes loss and grief. Finding the right support can help.

Friends and family. People often turn down help from friends and family members. They want to look strong. But it is not weak to accept support. Letting someone help with chores or errands can make life simpler during this hard time.

Support groups. Some people like to talk to others who have had the same loss. In-person or online support groups are good places to find this type of support. Local organizations or health care systems groups may offer free or low cost support groups.

Religious or spiritual support. Many people find support in their religious or spiritual communities. Rituals and shared beliefs can be comforting. Clergy people or other spiritual leaders may offer one-on-one or group counseling services. Many people find comfort in prayer or meditation.

Professional support. Therapists and counselors can help people who need more support. Some professionals specialize in grief services. Grief centers help people deal with grief caused by any loss. A primary care physician as well as a child’s pediatrician can offer good resources.

Decision-making

People may need to put off or get help making important decisions. Grief can make it hard to focus or see the big picture. They should see if making the decision can wait until they feel more like themselves. If decisions cannot wait, it is a good idea to find an advocate to help guide them.

Resources

The Compassionate Friends
www.compassionatefriends.org
(877) 969-0010

The Help Guide
www.helpguide.org

By Beth Landau
Source: American Psychological Association, www.apa.org; American Society of Clinical Oncology, www.cancer.net; Lambert, Jo. “People with Disabilities Face Unique Grief, Loss Issues.” Access Press. 2006, www.accesspress.org/2006/09/people-with-disabilities-face-unique-grief-loss-issues; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, www.samhsa.gov; University of Texas at Austin, “Grief and Loss,” http://cmhc.utexas.edu/; Zisooki, S., and Shear, K. (2009) “Grief and bereavement: what psychiatrists need to know.” World Psychiatry, 8(2): 67–74.
Reviewed by Joan Narad, MD, FAACAP, FAAP, Medical Director, Beacon Health Options

Summary

  • Life changes disrupt your routine and relationships.
  • People grieve after both good and bad changes.

The word grief is most often used to talk about how people feel when someone dies. Grief is actually a reaction to any loss. Some losses are easy to recognize. Examples include the death of a loved one, divorce, or the loss of a pet. Other losses are harder to recognize or understand. Examples include getting a dream job, moving to a nicer house, or graduating from school.

Other common life changes that cause grief and loss include:

  • Serious illness or disability
  • Social rejection
  • Loved one sent to jail
  • Job promotions or rejections
  • Relocating
  • Retirement
  • Adopting or having a baby
  • Losing a beloved pet

Most life changes interrupt day-to-day life and disrupt daily routines. People rely on routines to make sure they get to work, take children to school, or eat nutritious meals. They know what to do and how to behave because they do it that way every time. It helps people feel secure. Losing a routine means losing the security. People may not know how to do things differently. Their roles or responsibilities may change. The loss of a routine often affects every part of our lives.

When life changes, so do relationships. Relationships within families or friends change after a death. Friends or family may pull away from each other. A person would become an only child if a sibling dies. Other children may feel forgotten when a new child is born or adopted. Also, moving means finding new friends and building new support systems. Retirement can shift roles within the family. Graduating from school can mean starting a new life from scratch.

Types of changes that cause loss

Changes at work include getting fired, getting a promotion, retiring, and moving. Losses can include:

  • Job security
  • Financial safety
  • Lifestyle
  • Home or community

Changes in your family include marriage, divorce, having or adopting a child, a child moving out, and a loved one’s drug use disorder. Losses can include:

  • Lifestyle
  • Financial stability
  • Sense of self
  • Trust
  • Personal safety

Serious illnesses and new disabilities often cause many life changes. Losses can include:

  • Independence and self-care
  • Work
  • Financial
  • Roles or identity
  • Social life
  • Hobbies
  • Friends or family members who do not understand
  • Desired appearance

Violent or upsetting events can be personal or community-based. They may cause physical losses. They also change the way people see themselves or the world. Losses can include:

  • Feeling of safety
  • Sense of self or confidence
  • Trust in people, the community, a god, or a higher power
  • Daily life as it was prior to the event
  • Control of one’s own body
  • Power

Coping with change

It can be hard to deal with day-to-day life when change causes loss and grief. Finding the right support can help.

Friends and family. People often turn down help from friends and family members. They want to look strong. But it is not weak to accept support. Letting someone help with chores or errands can make life simpler during this hard time.

Support groups. Some people like to talk to others who have had the same loss. In-person or online support groups are good places to find this type of support. Local organizations or health care systems groups may offer free or low cost support groups.

Religious or spiritual support. Many people find support in their religious or spiritual communities. Rituals and shared beliefs can be comforting. Clergy people or other spiritual leaders may offer one-on-one or group counseling services. Many people find comfort in prayer or meditation.

Professional support. Therapists and counselors can help people who need more support. Some professionals specialize in grief services. Grief centers help people deal with grief caused by any loss. A primary care physician as well as a child’s pediatrician can offer good resources.

Decision-making

People may need to put off or get help making important decisions. Grief can make it hard to focus or see the big picture. They should see if making the decision can wait until they feel more like themselves. If decisions cannot wait, it is a good idea to find an advocate to help guide them.

Resources

The Compassionate Friends
www.compassionatefriends.org
(877) 969-0010

The Help Guide
www.helpguide.org

By Beth Landau
Source: American Psychological Association, www.apa.org; American Society of Clinical Oncology, www.cancer.net; Lambert, Jo. “People with Disabilities Face Unique Grief, Loss Issues.” Access Press. 2006, www.accesspress.org/2006/09/people-with-disabilities-face-unique-grief-loss-issues; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, www.samhsa.gov; University of Texas at Austin, “Grief and Loss,” http://cmhc.utexas.edu/; Zisooki, S., and Shear, K. (2009) “Grief and bereavement: what psychiatrists need to know.” World Psychiatry, 8(2): 67–74.
Reviewed by Joan Narad, MD, FAACAP, FAAP, Medical Director, Beacon Health Options

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

Close

  • Useful Tools

    Select a tool below

© 2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.