Grief, like fear, is a stress reaction, attended by deep physiological changes. Levels of stress hormones like cortisol increase. Sleep patterns are disrupted. Loss of appetite. The immune system is weakened. Grief is more complex than mere despondency.
Additional studies suggest that grief comes in waves, welling up and dominating your emotional life, then subsiding, only to recur.
“When we look more closely at the emotional experiences of bereaved people over time, the level of fluctuation is nothing short of spectacular.”
The heightened physical arousal, anger, and sadness of grief resemble the anxiety that children suffer when they’re separated from their mothers. Searching, or yearning, crops up in nearly all the contemporary investigations of grief.
“Good Grief? Is there a better way to be bereaved”, asks Meghan O’Rourke.