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Kaela's Blog

How Grief Affects Your Body: The Connection Between Emotions and Physical Health


As a grief therapist, I have learned that individuals typically experience around ten stages, or facets, when coping with grief. While each person's grief journey is unique, there are common patterns that I have noticed among my patients. These stages include denial, shock, anger, guilt, sadness, fear, regret, loneliness, physical symptoms, and acceptance. The focus of this article is to examine the manifestation of physical symptoms in the grieving process.

Grief is a natural response to loss and can manifest in a variety of physical symptoms. Many people are surprised to learn that grief can impact the body in such a significant way. It is essential to understand these symptoms to recognize the connection between grief and physical health.


Fatigue is one of the most common physical symptoms of grief. It is typical for people who are grieving to feel tired and drained, even after a full night's rest. This fatigue can be attributed to the emotional and mental strain that grief places on the body. When a person is grieving, they may struggle to sleep, which can exacerbate their feelings of exhaustion.


Headaches are another common symptom of grief. These headaches can range from mild to severe and can be caused by stress, anxiety, and tension in the body. Grief can be incredibly stressful, and the body's response to that stress can lead to headaches.


Stomach problems are also a common symptom of grief. These problems can include nausea, diarrhea, and stomach pains. Grief can trigger the body's "fight or flight" response, leading to an increase in cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones can impact the digestive system, leading to stomach problems.


Other physical symptoms of grief can include changes in appetite, weight gain or loss, body aches, and a weakened immune system. These symptoms are all related to the body's response to stress and the emotional toll of grief.


It is important to note that physical symptoms of grief can also impact mental health. For example, chronic fatigue can lead to depression, and headaches can cause anxiety. This connection between physical and mental health highlights the importance of addressing grief in a holistic way.


If you are experiencing physical symptoms of grief, it is essential to take care of your body. This means getting enough rest, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in regular exercise. It is also important to seek support from loved ones or a professional therapist who can help you navigate the grieving process.


If physical symptoms persist or become severe, it may be necessary to seek medical attention. A doctor can rule out any underlying health conditions and provide recommendations for managing physical symptoms related to grief.


If you are experiencing physical symptoms related to grief, such as fatigue, headaches, or stomach problems, it is important to seek help. Kaela Rae Vance LPCCS is a trained grief therapist who can offer support and guidance as you navigate the complex intersection of mental and physical health in grief. Through therapy, you can develop coping strategies to manage your physical symptoms and work towards healing your mind and body. Don't hesitate to reach out for help in your grief journey. Call 614-647-HELP.

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