How grief feels

How grief feels

Grief is different for all people and can bring a lot of strong feelings. There’s no right or wrong way to grieve, but there are some feelings that are common and normal to feel after a loss.

During a time of grief you might feel:

  • Sad.
  • Shocked.
  • Angry.
  • Lonely.
  • Hurt.
  • Scared.
  • Empty.

Physical feelings

Sometimes grieving can make you feel some pain and discomfort in your body. You might notice that you feel:

  • Exhausted and really tired.
  • Heavy or weighed down.
  • Flat, like you have no energy.
  • Tightness in your chest, a heart ache.
  • A headache or sore eyes.
  • A sick stomach or guts ache.

If these physical feelings are really bothering you or last a long time you should visit your doctor.


Grieving can make people act differently; it’s good to be aware of the changes in our behaviour during times of grief. It’s different for everyone, but some common things people might do when grieving are:

  • Crying a lot or not crying at all.
  • Changes in how you sleep. Sleeping more than usual or having a hard time sleeping.
  • Eating more or not eating enough.
  • Drinking more alcohol than usual.
  • Smoking more than usual.
  • Using drugs that aren’t prescriptions from the doctor.
  • Gambling more than usual and more than you can afford.
  • Trying to be strong and take care of others, maybe forgetting to take care of themselves.
  • Wanting to be alone and not spending as much time with people.
  • Not wanting to be left alone, talking more and preferring to be close to people.

Pathways to healing

It’s important to look after yourself when you’ve had a loss. There are lots of things you can do to grieve and begin to heal:

  • Make sure you give yourself time to heal. Grieving takes time.
  • Spend time with trusted friends and family for yarning or just being there.
  • Do activities that you find relaxing like listening to music, painting or writing.
  • Practise culture.
  • Visit your country.
  • Talk to your ancestors.
  • Take care of yourself and keep healthy by eating well, resting and exercising.
  • Avoid drinking, smoking or using drugs.
  • Try meditating or praying.