physical symptoms of grief

Emotional pain and physical responses

The most important aspect of Body Aware Grieving compared with other available services related to grief recovery is our focus on physical health. Even when we may not feel we are being affected by stress, sadness or anger, our bodies display symptoms that let us know we are functioning at less than our full capacity.

We are each so unique and different from one another. There is no reason to try and compare one person’s pain to anyone else. While the word “grief” is most commonly used in reference to a death, any reason we may be disappointed or struggling is equally important.

Common signs that we need to take better care of ourselves include: stomach or digestive issues, back or neck pain, fatigue, sleeplessness, muscle tension especially in the jaw and shoulders, dizziness, inability to concentrate, incessant crying, under or over-eating, overuse of medication, drugs or alcohol, getting colds or the flu repeatedly.

Even years after a romantic breakup you may find it hard to stop thinking about the person you love. Other people become overwhelmed when they observe the natural signs of aging happening to their face, body or ability to function. It is common to struggle with low self-esteem, even depression, after losing a job, business or accumulated amount of money. There are even people who envy those of us who are in mourning and wonder if they are ‘normal’ because they don’t seem to care enough about anyone or anything in their life to feel loss.

Physical signs of stress may be subtle, at least at first, or can become more extreme if we choose to ignore them. One of the most vital moments in healing can occur when we realize that we are having a problem that is not passing on it’s own. Perhaps instead of feeling ‘weak’ when we realize we may need help, it can be exciting to explore, “How can I get through my current situation with the least amount of extra suffering?” THAT is a question that can begin to lead us towards becoming healthier and happier.

The source of why we are upset is not specifically important. Regardless of why our emotional or physical health is being diminished, we just want to find ways to console and care for ourselves as easily as possible.


Margo Rose is the creator of Body Aware Grieving, a site that helps people who are going through tough life changes stay safe and well while in transition. Margo Rose grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area in a family devoted to the healing arts. She has been a fitness trainer for over nine years with a focus on practical, comfortable, fun exercises. Margo has created a series of wellness techniques designed to help people stay healthy and enjoy their bodies. Margo Rose is currently writing a book: Body Aware Grieving due out soon. Send her an email if you want to be notified when it is available.

Written by Margo Rose
Margo Rose has been a fitness trainer for over 15 years and specializes in practical ways to manage loss, stress or disappointment. Margo Rose's book, Body Aware Grieving, A Fitness Trainer's Guide to Caring for Your Health During Sad Times is available on Amazon.

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1 Comment

  1. Grief is over whelming, it is an ache that no amount of medication can erease even for a second. Grief is guilt over something you did or didn’t say, something you did or didn’t do. Grief is sleeping at home one night a week when your beloved wife is in hospice for 2+ months and feeling guilty today, 3 years later.

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