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Helping Someone Through Grief and Loss

Expertly reviewed by Jessica Espanto, LPT, MA, RPsy · Psychology · In Touch Community Services

Written by Mayvilyn Cabigao · Updated Jun 30, 2021

Helping Someone Through Grief and Loss

Helping someone through grief and loss, especially if it’s a loved one or a friend, is quite a challenge. It is difficult to find ways about consoling somebody who has just lost a person dear to them.

Some people can take it like a champ, but for some, it could feel like they have also lost themselves. That is why it is very important to identify the symptoms of grief, so we can make sure that we provide consolation to those in great emotional distress.

What are the Signs of Grief?

When grieving, your loved ones or friends might experience several physical and emotional signs that show the intensity of their grief.

That is why, we should be helping someone through grief and loss, as much and as often as we can. Though they can be worrying, it’s important to note that these manifestations are a natural part of the grieving process.

helping someone through grief and loss

Physical Symptoms 

A person’s physique can be greatly affected by grief. Since people in grief may start taking less care of themselves, their immune system becomes weaker and less fortified.

These phyiscal symptoms include:

  • Nausea and fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble sleeping

Emotional Symptoms


Losing someone important is incredibly difficult to cope with. The thought of never seeing them again can hang above somebody’s head for a long time. These thoughts can disrupt a person’s routine.

For some, they even go to the extent of abandoning their lifestyle. To get through this, they resort to denial. Denial is also very common in the early stages of grief.

Sadness or Depression

People experience intense sadness when grieving. This is most noticeable once they try to live their normal lives and struggle profoundly.

This is because they have integrated the person they lost so much into their lives that trying to go on with their routine can be extremely exhausting. If left unchecked, sadness can lead to depression.

When helping someone through grief and loss, remember to seek professional help if your loved one or friend starts to show signs of depression.

For some people, losing someone feels like they’ve lost a part themselves. This makes it hard for them to get back on their normal lives. However, this still might change once they find something worth living for.


It’s not difficult for somebody to feel an overwhelming sense of guilt. This is common for those who think they could’ve done something differently that would change the fate of the deceased.

Sense of relief

Losing a loved one to chronic, painful illness can be devastating. For some, however, it can offer some level of comfort, knowing that the person they love would never have to suffer again.


Being angry is normal, especially when you lose someone unexpectedly due to an accident or an unfortunate event. Anger towards yourself, others, the person who died, or even a higher deity is one of the natural responses for loss.

However, there are some instances where anger results in physical abuse to self or others.


Sometimes, the death of a person can bring anxiety to those they left behind. These anxious thoughts can be caused by different kinds of fear. One common example is the fear of having to go through grief again, for somebody else, or the fear of leaving people behind when you die.

Lack of concentration

In the wake of losing someone, a person undergoes a lot of different emotions. This can cause them to have intrusive thoughts. These thoughts can disrupt a person’s daily routine, causing them to look like they’re always preoccupied.

Nightmares or bad dreams

Another result of having to go through very intense emotions after a great loss is altered dream patterns. Sometimes emotions manifest in a person’s subconscious, causing bizarre dreams or nightmares.

Ways to support a grieving friend or loved one

Helping someone through grief and loss is difficult. Starting a conversation with somebody in grief is like stepping on thin ice. Trying to find and say the right words is a gamble.

Research shows that a grieving person can recover from grief over time if they have social support and healthy habits. That is why there are ideas you can try to do for you to help someone who is currently grieving. These include:

Talk and mention the name of the deceased in conversations

A grieving person might find it difficult to mention or hear the name of the deceased during conversations.

However, including the name of the departed during talks will make the person in grief realize that even though the person is not physically present, their memories will still live on.

Lend an ear 

Listening is the best way to offer your condolences to a family or a friend. Talking about the memories and experiences with the deceased can be a form of recuperation for people in grief.

Showing your sympathies by listening will help lessen the pain and sadness your friend or loved one is going through.

Offer help

You can offer help, by checking-in on someone who has just lost somebody now and then. It’s always worth suggesting that they attend support groups so they can meet other people sharing the same experience with them.

However, according to research, not all who participate in bereavement groups have lessened grief and anxiety. It suggests that immediate intervention must come from significant others rather than strangers.

Remind your loved one or friend that grieving takes time

Experts believe that the process of grief is more complicated than just grieving and showing negative emotions.

There are a lot of factors on how people can recover from grief, aside from grieving. Tell your family or friend to take their time and pause a little to try and recognize their current emotional state.

Remind them that the grieving process may take years, however, it still depends on how they will learn to cope.

Encourage them to try new things

When helping someone through grief and loss, you need to uplift their spirits and encourage them to try new things.

Do activities you’ve never done before or start a new tradition that will remind your loved one or friend of the good things their departed has done during their lifetime.

But, remember not to force it, as different people have different ways to get back on their feet.

Let them know that being emotional is okay

Grief makes people release so many strong emotions. There are times when bereaved individuals will just stay quiet for a while, then will suddenly cry out of nowhere.

Assure your family member and friend that being emotional during this time is okay. Explain to them that being emotional will help them get better.

Above all, be patient and consistent when caring for a grieving person.

Key takeaways

Grief takes a toll on any individual. It might be different for every person, but it will definitely have a great impact on their lives.

As a person who is helping someone through grief and loss, it is one of your responsibilities, to get help from professionals if the way that person copes with grief isn’t getting better over time.

Although it may take a long while, staying by your loved ones or friends’ side during these dark times will eventually help them recover from the pain of losing someone dear to them.

Learn more about Healthy Mind and Other Mental Health Issues, here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Expertly reviewed by

Jessica Espanto, LPT, MA, RPsy

Psychology · In Touch Community Services

Written by Mayvilyn Cabigao · Updated Jun 30, 2021

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