Essay on Psychology: Bereavement and Resilience

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1910 Words
Date:  2021-06-17

Ideally, resiliency and internal dynamics in the family system following the death of a prominent member is necessary, and many efforts are supposed to be directed towards through showing love and being mindful of them, especially when it comes to offering support to the family in their grieving process. The death of a significant other is most likely to affect the spouse that is alive more than any other event in the course of life. Individual response to the death of a loved one varies despite the emotional distress it causes. Emotional distress is experienced by some while others do not experience it. According to research, most individuals experience positive emotions contrary to our expectations. According to Bonanno and Kaltman positive emotions enables a family to adapt positively during the period and after they have experienced a death of a loved one (Briggs, 2006). A positive feeling enables individuals to cope with life which in turn leads to emotional stability and a good general well-being of an individual.

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Resilience which is being flexible at coping with stress has been proved to benefit those bereaved. According to Carr if one couple dies from a conflicted relationship or marriage the conflict will reduce the response of grief on the other which was assumed to be delayed display of grief (Worden, 2008). Another subsequent research showed that those in marriages that were conflicted showed good moods after the loss. Solomon and Greens research shows that positive emotions and absence of grief is as a result of the refusal to accept what has happened and in the long run, does not provide appropriate adjustment to the situation (Pope, 2016). This has been challenged because in the case of an expected loss an individual may cope or adjust quickly while others have a character that promotes resilience to loss of a loved one. Resilience is the ability to see the product of positive side in a negative situation which in this case is the loss if a loved one. These individuals can learn positive things from the negative situation which enables them to overcome grief (Siegel, 1992).

An example is when a spouse is suffering from a serious illness the situation may be so stressful that their death will come as a relief and is most unlikely to cause grief. In the case of conflicted relationships and prolonged illness loss brings relief to stress and positive emotions on the bereaved. There are factors that contribute to positive emotions after the loss of a loved one. Resilience as a character can manifest when an individual continues living and working the same way he/she did before the loss of a loved one (Aiken, 2000). Loss of a loved one may make many people not flexible like they used to be before their loss and the trait resilience is considered a very stable character that enables adaptation on the bereaved. Chronic grief reaction after death is experienced by very few individuals according to research, and little research has been done on the loss. This study showed two kinds of people ones that experienced grief before the loss and limited grief after the loss and those that were resilient and adapted to the loss before and after it occurred. It is important to consider native characters like resilience and the state of marital relationship before and after the loss (Hagman, 2016).

Family dynamics change with the loss of a loved one by reorganizing it. After a loss of loved one family are forced to adjust by restructuring. Family dynamics contribute to positive and negative healing. Expressions of feelings can facilitate this process and communicate openly. This process involves reassigning of roles and sometimes happens without the awareness of the members. There is a variance in accommodation of other family members feeling depending on family dynamics. In restructuring family dynamics emotions, expressions of emotions and feelings, roles of family members and functions of the deceased should be considered (Friedman, 2016). Conflicts in families showed difficulties in restructuring and in the end difficulty for family members in overcoming grief. Families that expressed affection and good communication and honesty among each other were able to adapt to the loss and lessen the pain of grief faster. This process is accompanied by difficulties like anger towards one another and blames game (Wagner, 2016). These pressures result in fear of communication for fear of negative reactions from other family members. This has to be minimized as much as possible to enable a family to adapt to the loss. After a loss, the family has to restructure to accommodate grief after the loss of a loved one. Family dynamics should be restructured after the loss of a family member to help the remaining members come to terms with the loss and maintain a balance in the family running.

On the other hand, integrating the loss of a family member into the narrative of life and making sense and a better meaning of such a frustrating event is one of the problematic moments in the great family. Specifically, when it comes to the death of children in the United States, it has been recorded that the death of children between the age of one to fourteen accounts for less than five percent, this is much different in reference to the past statistics, since in the past the figure was quite large in number. It is somber when a child dies as compared to an old age adult since much expectations are raised on the, they are supposed to live up to the adult hood (Hastings,2016). With the current situation, the death of a child has a great capability of interfering with the future dreams of a parent, where you find out that parents raise much expectation on their children, especially when it comes to their present functioning and roles (Wagner, 2016). Ideally, with the increase of homicide and suicide incidence in the past years, due to parents losing their children, stress response should be addressed to the family members who lost their children.

Loss of a loved one affects the well-being of persons by causing grief and stress. Most of the daily aspects of an individual suffering from loss are greatly affected as they adapt to the loss because of physical and emotional pain. Different people have different ways of dealing with loss, and it is not an easy task. Bereaved people cannot end grief, and they are forced to adopt a way that can help them through the process. Mindfulness is very helpful in achieving this process. Being mindful is the process of paying attention to what is happening currently or simply living every moment (Hastings, 2016). It is the meditation that helps the brain to focus and react less, in the end, calming the nervous system.

Mindfulness can be done by anyone regardless of their cultural background or beliefs. Meditation in mindfulness can be hard to practice unlike it seems in theory because most individuals are often faced with jobs, families, and demands of social life which can be hard to balance. Individuals suffering from a loss experience difficulty in being mindful because it 's hard to pay attention at the moment. They are always overwhelmed with grief and messages from friends that show support to respond to because of technological advancements currently like mobile phones and computers (Freud, 1957). Because of this messages and grief, the practice of mindfulness proves tough. Although mindfulness might prove difficult, the practice has shown itself to have very positive results on the bereaved. Mindfulness contributes to the wellness of a person, stable emotions, better physical and spiritual health. Individuals are practicing mindfulness end up being happy which enables them to adapt to the loss quickly (Mancini, 2009).

When one grieves mindfully he/she becomes aware of emotional pain, feelings and psychological feelings and at the same time cannot sink in those feelings. Mindfulness helps one to be aware of his/her relationships and that life goes on, and one has to continue living and not to focus on only the loss and grief, practices of being mindful and meditating benefits individuals at personal levels together with support from family, friends and professional counselors (Stroebe,2015).

Grief is deep sorrow characterized by pain, sorrow, loss of hope and anxiety. Grief is always manifested by disconnection from the environment, sobbing and crying for hours and a state of being numb. Ignoring emotions can lead to pain and sickness in some cases. Through mindfulness, individuals learn to adapt to loss and avoid denial and judging themselves. The bereaved also learn to express their emotions which are a release and relief. Grief can be transformed through mindfulness into reminders of beautiful memories (Schutt, 2010). Mindfulness eliminates negative thoughts by changing our focus by managing it on awareness and slowing down thoughts. It helps detach negative thoughts by accepting and letting them pass. We learn to manage emotions, relate to the loss and its thoughts and in the long run bring people to normalcy.

On the other hand, death which are viewed to be the traumatic and horrifying event which is not expected sometimes the victims to live with separation and distress with different symptoms of coming up with intrusive thoughts about the one who has died hence bringing out extreme loneliness. Victims, in this case, share the experience of having no purpose in the future, the absence of emotional responsiveness, high bitterness, shattered worldview, living with the feeling that part of their one side has died and anger related to death (Theileman,2015). In, most cases, such symptoms tend to last for more than six months hence to some extent, leads to functional impairment (Stroebe, 2015). In order for the healing process to be very quickly, it is important that the victims get encouragement from different source especially those who are close to them. They are supposed to be given hope that even though things havent happened according to their will, there is always a purpose to live for the future, with hope and great faith, the healing process tend to be much quicker (Li,2016).

In conclusion, thoughts and emotions produce physical responses that can be controlled by mindfulness through mindful breathing and observations. Mindfulness enables people to do regular activities like eating and sleeping regularly by calming the nervous system which might prove difficult when dealing with loss. Living in the line between the past, emerging present and thoughts of an uncertain future that is not clear might force others to give up if positive measures are not taken. In this stage, one feels angry and is always in denial which is always an expected reaction to the loss of a loved one. Mindfulness has no adverse effects and is a very effective way to deal with grief.


Aiken, L.R., 2000. Dying, death, and bereavement. Psychology Press.

Bonanno, George A.,2004. "Loss, trauma, and human resilience: have we underestimated the human capacity to thrive after extremely aversive events?." American psychologist 59.1: 20.

Briggs, J., 2006. Literature review on Bereavement and Bereavement care. Faculty of Health and Social Care the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen

Freud, S, 1957. Mourning and melancholia. In J. Strachey (Ed. And Trans.) The standard edition of the complete psychological work of Sigmund Freud:152-170. London, Hogarth Press.

Friedman, Howard S., and M. Robin DiMatteo. Health psychology. Prentice-Hall, Inc,.

Hagman, George, .2016."The psychoanalytic understanding and treatment of double parent loss (1993)." New Models of Bereavement Theory and Treatment: New Mourning: 39.

Hastings, W. Ross., 2016. Where Do Broken Hearts Go?: An Integrative, Participational Theology of Grief. Wipf and Stock Publishers.


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