"Grief is the intense emotional response to the pain of a loss.
It is the reflection of a connection that has been broken.
Most important, grief is an emotional, spiritual, and psychological journey to healing."
Loss is unavoidable. Experiences of loss are not an indication that you have done something wrong, or that something is wrong with you. It is simply part of being human. You can feel a sense of loss when things do not work out as you expected or hoped, and sometimes even in the midst of your achievements and successes. Loss can accompany nearly any experience.
You can also encounter loss as part of your connections to others. Relationships change – sometimes by choice, and sometimes despite every attempt you make to stay connected. And the loss of life, of course, brings significant change when you have felt, and perhaps still feel, a connection with the person who is no longer with you.
Grief is the normal, natural, emotional reaction to loss or change of any kind. Note the words that make up that definition. Normal. Natural. Emotional. When you experience loss or change, it is normal and natural to feel any number of potentially conflicting emotions caused by the end of or change in our relationships and patterns of behavior.
Allowing yourself to be present with your grief, to engage mindfully with your feelings, and to connect with others for support and empathy can all be important parts of the healing that grief can bring. The following practices offer ways for you to stay open to your experience and aware of what is happening within yourself.
Mindfulness Practices for Wellbeing during Grief
Remaking Life: Grief and Wellbeing
"There are two parts to grief. The first is loss.
The second is remaking life."
Grieving involves the full emotional and cognitive experience of re-envisioning your life in the absence of what is no longer there. As you grieve, you may notice that at times you are focused on looking back at what was, and how that shaped what you thought would be. At other times, you may be looking ahead and considering what might be in the absence of what you have lost. And in between the looking back and looking ahead, you may find yourself trying to make sense and meaning of what can often feel quite senseless and meaningless. Ultimately, grief is a process of remaking life.
Remaking life can be a difficult concept to embrace, especially when you are feeling all of the emotions that make up grief. But it is where grief ultimately connects with your wellbeing. The grieving process is an important part of your journey to whatever life will look like on the other side of this transition. The choices you make and the actions you take as a response to your loss will shape what your life will look like in the future, how you will show up in the lives of others, and how you will shape the world around you through your presence and your actions.
How to Get Help
While experiences of grief are personal and unique to you, they may also involve your family, friends, fellow students, and other community members. For some, connection and counseling can be invaluable. For others, a different path might work better. There is no "one size fits all" approach to navigating grief, but Dartmouth offers a number of different resources, staffed with caring people who can offer personalized guidance for you.
Grief Resources - Counseling Center
Grief Resources - Tucker Center
Wellness Check-ins - Student Wellness Center
Peer Support - Mental Health Union
If you or someone you know could benefit from one of these resources, please reach out. We are here to support you to the best of our ability, and want to help make Dartmouth a place where you can do well and be well.