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Are You Sad Or Are You Grieving?

Sadness and grief are universal and for most people inevitable aspects of the human experience. Although they seem similar and the terms are used interchangeably, they are actually different. Sadness is transient; grief is everlasting.

Sadness is a spike of emotion in a moment. It’s the pain in your chest. It’s the acute sense of pain you feel for yourself or others. It can even be a projection of what you believe is to come.

Unlike grief, it goes away and it may return, but it’s gone for now. Grief is the natural reaction to loss. Grief is both a universal and a personal experience. Individual experiences of grief vary and are influenced by the nature of the loss. The death of a loved one, the ending of an important relationship, job loss, loss through theft or the loss of independence through disability are some examples of grief.

Sadness usually lasts a few seconds but sometimes up to several hours. In contrast, grief is an enduring state that for most bereaved individuals persists for several weeks and up to several years. Exerting a dramatic impact on that person’s identity and cognitive understanding of the World and the future.

Grief can be a trigger for sadness and prolonged sadness often turn to depression. One can still function when grieving but when depression sets in, symptoms can be so severe that one is unable to go to work or do other important tasks.

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