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Handling Sadness and Yearning After a Major Loss

Topic Overview

Sadness and yearning for a loved one, an object, or a way of life you have lost are the most common and expected feelings that occur after any loss.

Probably the best thing you can do to cope with your sadness and yearning is to talk about how you feel. Sharing your sadness with people who care about you helps lift the heaviness that sadness often brings. Other steps you can take to cope with your feelings of sadness and yearning include:

  • Looking at photos, watching videos, or exchanging stories with other people about your loss.
  • Taking part in activities that acknowledge and mark a major loss, such as funeral or memorial services after a death. These may also include activities such as a going-away party for a friend or a meeting to rebuild a community after it has been devastated by a flood.
  • Actively participating in normal day-to-day activities. Being active and taking part in daily activities keeps you focused in the present.

Although it may seem that your feelings of sadness and yearning will last forever, remind yourself that these feelings will lessen as time goes by.

Reacting to others

If you find yourself being overly sensitive and easily offended by what other people say and do, you can:

  • Pause for a moment before responding to what you consider to be an insensitive comment or action. Concentrate on your breathing, count to 10, or recite a short prayer or poem that calms you.
  • Remind yourself that you are under stress and not acting as you normally would.
  • Ask people around you to allow you some time to adjust to your new life situation.
  • Keep yourself from becoming preoccupied with thoughts about an insensitive comment.
  • Focus on the goodness around you. Thank those who have been caring and kind to you.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Sidney Zisook, MD - Psychiatry
Last Revised November 4, 2013

Last Revised: November 4, 2013

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