Please see below selected recent loss-related change.
- For a long time, psychologists and psychiatrists viewed grief as a journey - a gradual process consisting of five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. But there is no chronology or linearity in grief; it does not progress along predetermined stages as a journey. Psychologists and grief experts Jason Holland and Robert Neimeyer suggested that the five-stage model continues to persist due to the underlying cultural framework of the “monomyth” — a.k.a. the Hero’s Journey - that dominates much of our storytelling. noted Freethink.
- Saudade is the sad longing for something that is likely lost forever. It’s the recognition that everything has changed and that you and everyone will never be the same. It’s nostalgia for a past, contented time, but it’s also a deeper, philosophical acceptance that change is an inevitable part of life. Saudade sees the transience of things and accepts that all things must fade and pines for a memory that we know can never come back, noted Big Think.
- In The Power of Regret, Daniel Pink drew on research in psychology, neuroscience, economics, and biology to challenge widely-held assumptions about emotions and behavior. Using the largest sampling of US attitudes about regret ever conducted, along with his own World Regret Survey, which collected regrets from more than 16,000 people in 105 countries, Pink identified the core regrets that most people have. These regrets, Pink argues, operate as a “photographic negative” of the good life. By understanding what people regret the most, we can understand what they value the most.
- Psyche argued that the ‘grieving as learning’ framework can help us understand how specific cognitive and neurobiological processes can shape the ways in which grieving people relearn the world, as the philosopher Thomas Attig described it. The learning process will likely look different for everyone, but understanding the broad strokes of what is happening in the brain could help people feel more normal in their grieving and better appreciate why their grieving processes, and those of the people they care for, require time and experience.
- Losing hurts, but people cannot grow or lead more meaningful lives if they refuse to accept that losing is a part of the process of growth and mastery. If our goal is to avoid the pain of losing entirely, we are more likely to refuse to take risks and to steer clear of challenges. Fear of failure can keep us stuck, while holding on to losses tightly can prevent us moving forward, as we may mentally fuse to our loss, fixating on feelings of inadequacy, disappointment and frustration, argued Psyche.
- Jonathan Black, head of the careers service at Oxford university and the FT’s Dear Jonathan columnist, suggested that one way to frame the shocking experience of being fired - for both the laid off and left behind - is to make use of the Kübler-Ross change curve to understand what’s happening to us. Developed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in the 1960s as a tool to help people understand grief, many have discovered that the change curve also works well in workplaces. After a shock or traumatic event, we start off in shock and denial, move through anger and depression and finally arrive at acceptance and integration.
- Further reading:
- The last member of an Indigenous tribe in Brazil was found dead, marking the first confirmed loss of one of the country’s uncontactable tribes. He was known only as the "Man of the Hole'' because of the dozens of trenches he’d dug in his territory over the years. There are estimated to be 114 Indigenous tribes in Brazil, but only 28 have been identified.
- Arguing for the "consolation" of a philosophical approach to grief, Michael Cholbi, author of Grief: A Philosophical Guide, claimed that tot every manifestation of grief is helpful. Sometimes the pains of grief prove unbearable (bereavement is a risk factor for suicide, yet the fact that grief often presents an opportunity for self-knowledge, despite feeling bad, nevertheless shows how the paradox of grief can be resolved. There is no doubt that grief is stressful. But grief is not a shameful state that we should hope will resolve as quickly as possible; it is a potentially powerful means for adapting to loss.
- In a major review of studies on heartbreak, psychologist Tiffany Field at the University of Miami pulled together findings from a host of other researchers showing that the symptoms of heartbreak resembled those of bereavement: sleep disturbance, compromised immune function, digestive problems, body aches, depression, anxiety, all the way to something called ‘broken-heart syndrome’ where the shock from loss can induce a heart attack-style episode.
- Normally, those who win at games do so because they know how to triumph, succeed and outwit others. The School of Life launched a game with a difference: those who win it are great at losing; they know all about frustration and difficulty and how, optimally, to respond to it. The game invites us to answer questions about the challenges we’ve faced (in love, work, etc.) – and rewards players for speaking with particular frankness and good humour about their lives. In a world often obsessed with success, The Loser Game gently suggests that losing isn’t some freakish anomaly, it’s an inevitable part of being human.
- According to a paper published by the Collective Psychology Project, This Too Shall Pass, this the coronavirus pandemic was the first cataclysm that many have faced - a shock to humanity’s system, especially in the developed world, that has provoked grief not only for those who have died but for the world we fear we have lost. We need, the authors argued, to reclaim the old shared habits of mourning and story-telling that were second nature to previous generations – to develop resilient narratives, just as we develop resilient supply-lines.
- There are an estimated 250,000 miscarriages in the UK alone every year, but it is not always clear why we find it so difficult to talk about something that happens so often. Miscarriage can be a lonely and isolating experience, and it is often hard to get answers to questions about possible causes. Doctors generally only undertake investigations after a third pregnancy loss and breaking the taboo of miscarriage is a challenge when people rarely get the support they feel they need.
- Many office cultures are pretty good at celebrating birthdays and new babies. But when a colleague experiences the death of a relative or friend, we usually respond with awkward silence. In When a Colleague Is Grieving, Harvard Business Review explored the challenge we face in helping coworkers return to work. They walked through three phases of grief - anger, despair, and the slow reinvestment in life - and offered guidance on being compassionate and supportive to colleagues who are in pain.
- Further reading:
- Loss can be cultural, as well as personal. The fire that tore through Brazil’s vast National Museum destroyed nearly all of its 20 million specimens. Among the items feared lost are a priceless collection of Egyptian and Andean mummies, artworks from Pompeii, a dinosaur skeleton unique to Brazil, rare records from the country’s imperial era, hundreds of audio recordings of extinct indigenous languages, millions of insect and marine specimens, and the oldest human fossil found in Latin America - a skeleton named Luzia.
- How should we grieve when someone close to us dies? Should we wail and gnash our teeth? Should we swallow our pain? Some would say there is no right answer. You feel whatever you feel, and heal however you heal, and that’s okay. But according to the ancient Stoics – those Greco-Roman philosophers making a comeback as preachers of practical wisdom in a self-help world – there is a correct answer to the question of how we should grieve. And the answer is that we shouldn’t. What’s done is done. There is nothing you can do to change the situation – so move on.
- “The people we most love do become a physical part of us, ingrained in our synapses, in the pathways where memories are created,” poet Meghan O’Rourke wrote in her memoir of losing her mother. Maria Popova recommends a collection of consolation letters by great artists, writers, and scientists ranging from Lincoln to Einstein to Turing, psychoanalyst Adam Phillips on how Darwin and Freud shaped our relationship to mortality, and Seneca on the key to resilience in the face of loss.