Physical Symptoms of Grief and How Grief Can Affect Your Body October 17, 2018

Grief and the Body

When you are struggling with grief, it’s true that it is not purely emotional.  Every person experiences grief in different ways. In the same way, each person’s grief will display different physical symptoms: stomach aches that won’t seem to settle or trying to get tasks done but your brain just can’t focus. These are just a few examples of what grief can do to your body and mind.


The pain of mourning may not end there. A griever might experience an overall feeling of weariness and being run down emotionally and physically.  The stress of dealing with all the changes that go along with loss can create tension in your body that can turn into headaches. You may feel exhausted all the time. It feels like you can never get the energy you need to have productive days and then at night when you feel that you should pass out of pure exhaustion you can not sleep. Counting sheep may not do the trick this time.  


When you first experience the trauma that brings on grief, your heart and mind are bombarded with feelings of sadness, loss and pain. In the first few weeks after the death of a loved one it can cause a sensory overload. All of the feelings both emotional and physical can happen all at once and sometimes it feels as though none of them exist at all.  When its all new and happening some get lost in the planning of memorials and taking care of all the details of funerals and organizing family members coming to pay their respects. The body and mind can often on auto pilot because despite the pain it is urgent. Procrastination is not much of an option when dealing with a deceased person. Things need to be taken care of quickly and somehow you are able to get it done.  


Even with your body on autopilot the physical toll it is all taking will eventually show itself.  It’s often said to lean on others when you are going through a hard time, but maybe you find yourself not wanting to be around anyone.  The sun may be shining but all you want to do is stay in bed and have no communication with others. When you do try to get out of bed your body aches and it’s almost as if you cant even breath a full breathe in.  These are just more potential physical symptoms of grief to be aware of.

Physical Symptoms of Grief

Grief displays itself both physically and emotionally in different ways for everybody. It even changes depending what “stage” of grief you are in. Here a just a few of the physical symptoms of grief:


  • Extreme exhaustion and tiredness
  • Appetite changes
  • Social isolation
  • Aches and pains
  • Confusion
  • Trouble sleeping or other sleep changes
  • Crying
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety attacks.


Remember grief can occur with any loss and this physical symptoms can appear at any time throughout the process.  If you find yourself struggling to overcome them seek out support from others. Grief support groups, journaling and prayer and meditation may help the symptoms subside.  Taking care of both physical and emotional needs will help keep the side effects from taking over your life and keeping you on the path of healing.

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