Common Grief Reactions

Common Grief Reactions of Adults

Physical Reactions

  • Sleep disturbance
  • Appetite disturbance/change in weight
  • Indigestion
  • Headaches
  •  Hypersensitivity or hyposensitivity to sights, sounds, smell touch
  • Dry mouth
  • Tightness in chest
  •  Hollowness in the stomach
  • Lump in throat
  •  Excessive sweating
  •  Immune system—greater susceptibility to illness
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  •  Dizziness
  • Body aches/nausea

Mental Reactions

  • Short term memory loss
  • Difficulty concentrating, increased errors and accidents
  • Confusion, aimlessness
  • Preoccupation with the loss, rumination
  • Routine takes effort, decreased self-esteem, passivity
  • Difficulty making decisions

Emotional Reactions

  • A wide range of feelings that may include numbness, anger, sadness
  • depression, anxiety, despair loneliness, yearning, vulnerability
  • A sense that any expression of emotion may be “out of control”
  • Wide mood swings that may be moment to moment initially

Spiritual Reactions

  • Why questions
  • Anger at God
  • A change in beliefs and values
  • Change in identity
  • Loss or strengthening of faith
  • A need to find meaning in the loss

Copyright 1996, Center for Grief, Loss & Transition
Provided by:
Center for Grief Education and Support, Seasons Hospice
1696 Greenview Drive SW, Rochester MN  55902
Phone:  507-285-1930   E-mail: