Loss and grief
Loss is defined as the disappearance of something cherished, such as a person, possession, or property. Job loss, death of a significant other, separation, and transitions can cause a significant change, disturbance, or readjustment. Loss is commonly expressed through thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.
Some factors could affect how an individual deal with loss. If loss and grief were not dealt with in the past, it could be challenging to face another loss. Experts believe that historical antecedents such as failing to confront loss in the past may resurface, making present problems worse because it is difficult for the sufferer to figure out the source of the pain. The mode of death will also determine how an individual behaves to grief. The death of an elderly, after a long illness or terminal illness, is more acceptable, and there could be a sense of relief along with sadness that the person’s suffering has ended. In addition, the nature of their attachment can determine possible difficulties in the grieving process.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross outlined the grief stages in her book “On Death and Dying” namely: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.The first stage is denial. It is a denial of reality for a preferable alternative. A person may claim that the news was not true. Aunt Linda, a distant relative, lost her sight in her thirties. According to Uncle, she could not accept the loss. There was anger too. She questioned why it happened to her. She also tried to bargain that it could have been better if she was already blind when she was born. It took years before she finally accepted her loss. She lost her social life; she could have been somebody doing something great. She lost half of her life, and she grieved. She had to go through those stages to re-emerge from her loss. However, Kubler-Ross states one may not necessarily go through all stages and may not be in sequence.
The acceptance stage is moving into a place of acknowledging the truth. The individual can move forward, although they have not entirely come to terms with the loss. The individual can experience good days more than bad days. Kubler-Ross’ model is applied to the dying person, but any person can be affected by loss and grief.
Coping mechanisms may be used to deal with pain, a stressful situation, or difficult emotions. These can be adaptive or maladaptive. Maladaptive behaviours include disengagement, avoidance, and emotional suppression. Though they work for a time, they are not practical for the long-term because they have negative consequences. Some may use drugs and alcohol to escape problems. The psychological effects of smoking are enjoyment, stress reduction, and increased sociability. Smoking is an escape/avoidance response to certain aversive states. The smoker will light up a cigarette to escape or avoid an uncomfortable situation. A maladaptive coping strategy does not effectively help the individual deal with their stress. It may increase their risk for life-threatening diseases correlated with higher depression, anxiety, and stress, associating with poorer quality of life.
An adaptive coping strategy is learning how to solve the problem by identifying an issue causing stress and then developing and putting into action some potential solutions for effectively managing it. The capacity to make realistic plans and act towards a solution is one of the characteristics of being resilient. Resilience as a successful adaptation relies on effective responses to environmental challenges and ultimate resistance to the harmful effects of stress.
Engaging in physical activities to cope with stress and anxiety is categorised in the response-based perspectives that introduced stress-management programmes that focused on controlling the psychophysiology of stress using techniques such as relaxation and breathing exercises, yoga, and aerobics (Marks, Murray, and Estacio, 2021). Physical activity is also highly beneficial to mental health. Research suggests that people who exercise regularly are less likely to suffer from depression, anger, and stress. (BETH MIHALAY)