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Handling Sadness and Yearning After a Major Loss - Topic Overview

Sadness and yearning for a loved one, an object, or a way of life you have lost are the most common and expected feelings that occur after any loss.

Probably the best thing you can do to cope with your sadness and yearning is to talk about how you feel. Sharing your sadness with people who care about you helps lift the heaviness that sadness often brings. Other steps you can take to cope with your feelings of sadness and yearning include:

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  • Looking at photos, watching videos, or exchanging stories with other people about your loss.
  • Taking part in activities that acknowledge and mark a major loss, such as funeral or memorial services after a death. These may also include activities such as a going-away party for a friend or a meeting to rebuild a community after it has been devastated by a flood.
  • Actively participating in normal day-to-day activities. Being active and taking part in daily activities keeps you focused in the present.

Although it may seem that your feelings of sadness and yearning will last forever, remind yourself that these feelings will lessen as time goes by.

Reacting to others

If you find yourself being overly sensitive and easily offended by what other people say and do, you can:

  • Pause for a moment before responding to what you consider to be an insensitive comment or action. Concentrate on your breathing, count to 10, or recite a short prayer or poem that calms you.
  • Remind yourself that you are under stress and not acting as you normally would.
  • Ask people around you to allow you some time to adjust to your new life situation.
  • Keep yourself from becoming preoccupied with thoughts about an insensitive comment.
  • Focus on the goodness around you. Thank those who have been caring and kind to you.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 04, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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