Modern Science On Grief - Deepstash

Modern Science On Grief

Neuroscience can measure the brain in grief, showing that the region nucleus accumbens lights up when we are close to our loved ones, and also if we lose them.

Grief can be for all sorts of reasons, not just losing a loved one. Any world-shifting event that affects us directly or a traumatic event in our lives can shatter and disorient us. This is known as the assumptive world theory.

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MORE IDEAS FROM What's the point of grief?

It focuses on the psychological connectedness of grief, looking at the quality of bondings that are made during the course of our lives.

Grief, and even the behaviour of babies in the absence of parents suggests it is not just a mental experience, but has physiological effects, like raising the level of the stress hormone cortisol in our bodies.

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Experiencing Grief

Everyone has to experience grief at some point in life. It is an evolutionary trait that is present in mammals in general.

There seems to be a certain purpose for this internal response that we all have naturally.

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The stages of coming in terms with grief are:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

These widely accepted stages are considered rigid and obsolete as modern psychologists update the understanding of grief.

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The Kübler-Ross Model of Grieving

Grief comes in many forms and everyone has experienced it in many different ways, but this model theory is only a reference, not a rule. The five stages of grief are:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance.

The five stages of grief were once known as the five stages of death, however, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, the Swiss American psychiatrist that invented this theory extended her model to many different kinds of losses.

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Losing a Loved One

Extreme grief, like losing a loved one is normally handled by an individual's support group of friends and family in stereotypical ways.

There seems to be a 'support gap' in which positive emotions like hope, gratitude, kindness, bravery, and resilience hardly find any mention during the grieving period.

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Anticipatory grief

Conventional grief, the kind of grief that occurs after the loss of a loved one, or even loss of one’s dreams, is commonly discussed and understood.

Anticipatory grief is a lesser-known dimension of grief, something which occurs before death (or any great loss).

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