How to Build Resilience during Grief: Tips and Tricks

Losing a loved one is an incredibly challenging experience, and the grief that follows can be overwhelming. During this difficult time, it becomes crucial to build resilience—a skill that allows us to adapt and cope with adversity. 

Resilience can help us navigate the grieving process, find hope and healing, and eventually move forward in life. In this article, we will explore various tips and tricks for building resilience during grief, offering insights and practical advice to support individuals going through this difficult journey.

Ep #003 | Rising Through Grief: Uncovering Hope
Building resilience during grief is important for navigating the grieving process and finding healing.
Resilience involves adapting, bouncing back, and recovering in the face of adversity.
Strategies for building resilience include accepting and expressing emotions, seeking support, nurturing yourself, and setting realistic expectations.
Techniques such as mindfulness, physical activity, creative expression, journaling, and seeking professional help can help in building resilience.
Supporting others in their grief journey involves active listening, providing practical assistance, encouraging professional help, and being available and patient.

2. Understanding Grief

The Grief Process

Grief is a natural response to loss, and it manifests differently for each individual. The grief process involves a range of emotions, thoughts, and behaviors that arise in response to the loss of a loved one. It often follows a non-linear path, filled with ups and downs. Understanding this process can help individuals navigate their grief more effectively.

One key practice for building resilience during grief is focusing on self-care techniques like meditation, journaling, social support that can help reduce stress and promote healing.

Types of Grief

Grief can be categorized into several types, including anticipatory grief, disenfranchised grief, and complicated grief. Anticipatory grief refers to the feelings of grief and loss that emerge before the actual death of a loved one, often experienced when someone has a long-term illness. 

Disenfranchised grief occurs when the loss is not socially recognized or acknowledged, such as the death of a pet or a relationship breakup. Complicated grief refers to an intense and prolonged grieving process that can significantly interfere with one’s daily functioning.

Common Reactions to Grief

Common Reactions to Grief

Grief can elicit a wide range of reactions, both emotional and physical. These can include sadness, anger, guilt, confusion, numbness, fatigue, changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, and difficulty concentrating. It’s important to note that these reactions are normal during the grieving process, and individuals should allow themselves to experience and process these emotions in their own time.

Taking time for activities that soothe your soul through compassionate self-care is important for coping with loss and gaining strength.

3. The Importance of Resilience

What Is Resilience?

Resilience can be defined as the ability to adapt, bounce back, and recover in the face of adversity. It is not about avoiding or suppressing emotions, but rather about finding healthy ways to cope and move forward in life. Building resilience during grief can help individuals navigate the intense emotions and challenges that arise, enabling them to find hope, healing, and a sense of normalcy.

The Role of Resilience in Grief

Resilience plays a crucial role in the grieving process. It allows individuals to actively engage with their grief, rather than being overcome by it. When confronted with loss, resilient individuals can acknowledge their pain while also seeking out support, practicing self-care, and making meaning out of their experience. These elements of resilience can contribute to a healthier and more adaptive grieving process.

(Table 1: Strategies for Building Resilience during Grief)

Strategies for Building Resilience during Grief
Accepting and Expressing Emotions: Give yourself permission to feel and express the full range of emotions that come with grief. Find healthy outlets like talking to loved ones, journaling, or engaging in creative activities.
Seeking Support: Reach out to friends, family, support groups, or counselors who can provide a safe space to talk openly about your feelings and experiences.
Nurturing Yourself: Prioritize self-care activities that promote physical, emotional, and mental well-being, such as proper nutrition, exercise, relaxation techniques, and quality sleep.
Setting Realistic Expectations: Recognize that healing takes time, and there is no fixed timeline for grief. Set small, achievable goals for yourself and be patient with the process.

4. Building Resilience During Grief

Building Resilience During Grief

Accepting and Expressing Emotions

Grief can bring about a rollercoaster of emotions, and it is important to give yourself permission to feel and express them. By acknowledging and accepting your emotions, you can begin to process them in a healthy way. Find outlets that work for you, such as talking to understanding friends or family members, journaling your thoughts and feelings, or engaging in creative activities like painting or playing music.

Learning mindfulness techniques to live in the present moment without judgment and lessen distressing emotions can aid building resilience during grief.

Seeking Support

During grief, it is crucial to lean on the support of others. Surround yourself with understanding and compassionate individuals who can provide comfort and empathy. This can be through family and friends, support groups, or professional counselors who specialize in grief counseling. 

Sharing your thoughts and experiences with others who have also experienced loss can provide validation and a sense of belonging, reminding you that you are not alone in your journey.

(Table 2: Techniques for Building Resilience during Grief)

Techniques for Building Resilience during Grief
Mindfulness and Meditation: Practice being present in the moment, allowing yourself to acknowledge and accept your feelings without judgment. Meditation can help calm the mind, reduce stress, and provide a sense of peace.
Physical Activity and Exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity not only benefits your physical health but also releases endorphins that can boost your mood and overall well-being.
Creative Expression: Find therapeutic outlets to express your emotions through art, writing, or other creative endeavors. This can help you process your grief and give voice to your experiences.
Journaling and Reflection: Keeping a journal allows you to reflect on your thoughts and emotions, providing a space to explore your grief and gain clarity. Writing can help you make sense of your feelings and find new perspectives.
Seeking Professional Help: If you find yourself struggling to cope with your grief, it is essential to seek the guidance of a professional counselor or therapist. They can offer specialized support and techniques to help you navigate your grief journey.

5. Techniques for Building Resilience

Mindfulness and Meditation

Practicing mindfulness and meditation can be highly beneficial for building resilience during grief. These practices involve being fully present in the moment and accepting your thoughts and emotions without judgment. 

They can help calm the mind, reduce stress, and provide a sense of peace and clarity. Whether it’s focusing on your breath, using guided meditation apps, or attending meditation classes, incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine can offer solace and help you navigate the ups and downs of your grief journey.

Practicing simple exercises for coping like deep breathing and body scans using mindfulness can help process painful feelings and thoughts in a calmer way.

Physical Activity and Exercise

Engaging in regular physical activity and exercise is not only beneficial for your physical health but also for your emotional well-being. Exercise releases endorphins, natural mood-boosting chemicals, which can alleviate feelings of sadness and anxiety. 

Taking a walk in nature, practicing yoga, hitting the gym, or participating in team sports can all contribute to improving your resilience and overall mental state.

(Table 3: Strategies for Maintaining Resilience during Grief)

Strategies for Maintaining Resilience during Grief
Cultivating Gratitude: Focusing on the things you are grateful for, even during difficult times, can shift your perspective and foster resilience.
Practicing Self-Compassion: Treat yourself with kindness and understanding as you navigate through the grief process. Be patient and gentle with yourself, understanding that grief takes time to heal.
Developing a Growth Mindset: Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth and learning. View setbacks as stepping stones towards personal development and resilience.
Finding Meaning and Purpose: Explore ways to find meaning in your loss. Engage in activities or pursuits that give your life purpose and help you feel connected to something greater than yourself.
Fostering Social Connections: Seek comfort and support from loved ones and friends. Share your feelings and experiences with those you trust, and allow yourself to lean on them during difficult times.
Engaging in Healthy Coping Mechanisms: Avoid turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance abuse. Instead, focus on healthy alternatives like engaging in hobbies, practicing self-care, or seeking professional help when needed.

6. Strategies for Maintaining Resilience

Cultivating Gratitude

Even in the midst of grief, it is important to focus on the things you are grateful for. Cultivating gratitude can shift your perspective and help you find moments of joy and appreciation. 

Take time each day to reflect on what you are thankful for, whether it’s small acts of kindness, the support of loved ones, or the memories you shared with your lost loved one. Acknowledging these positive aspects can contribute to your resilience and overall well-being.

Using mindful approaches to face loss with acceptance and nonreactivity rather than avoidance is key to developing inner strength during the grieving process.

Practicing Self-Compassion

During grief, it is easy to be hard on yourself and experience self-judgment. Practicing self-compassion involves treating yourself with kindness and understanding. Understand that grief is a natural process and that everyone experiences it differently. 

Be patient with yourself, allowing yourself to feel and heal at your own pace. Treat yourself with the same kindness and care you would offer to a close friend in need.

Developing a Growth Mindset

A growth mindset involves embracing challenges and setbacks as opportunities for growth and learning. Instead of viewing grief as something that holds you back, try to see it as a catalyst for personal development. 

This perspective can help you find resilience in the face of adversity. Consider how you can grow from your grief, expand your understanding of yourself, and develop new strengths and insights.

(Table 4: Supporting Others in Their Grief Journey)

Supporting Others in Their Grief Journey
Active Listening and Validation: Be a compassionate listener, providing a safe space for them to express their emotions. Validate their feelings and experiences, letting them know that their grief is valid.
Providing Practical Assistance: Offer concrete support by helping with daily tasks, running errands, or preparing meals. Small gestures can make a significant difference in their ability to cope with grief.
Encouraging Professional Help: If their grief becomes overwhelming or prolonged, encourage them to seek professional counseling or therapy. Professional help can provide valuable guidance and support.
Being Available and Patient: Let them know that you are there for them, even if it means simply sitting beside them in silence. Grief can be a long and complicated journey, so be patient and understanding throughout their process.

7. Supporting Others in Their Grief Journey

Active Listening and Validation

When supporting someone in their grief journey, it is essential to be an active listener. Create a safe space where they can express their emotions openly and without judgment. Practice empathy and validate their feelings, letting them know that their grief is valid and understandable. Avoid offering solutions or advice unless asked, as sometimes all they need is a compassionate ear to listen.

Providing Practical Assistance

Practical support can greatly ease the burden of grief for someone going through a difficult time. Offer to help with daily tasks, such as running errands, cooking meals, or taking care of household chores. Small gestures like these can alleviate some of the stress and allow them more time and energy to focus on their healing.

Encouraging Professional Help

If you notice that the person’s grief becomes overwhelming or appears to be prolonged, it may be helpful to encourage them to seek professional help. Grief counselors or therapists can provide specialized support and techniques that can assist in the healing process. Reassure them that seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness but a step towards healing and personal growth.

Being Available and Patient

Above all, let the person know that you are there for them. Offer your presence and support in whatever way they need, whether it is through physical presence, phone calls, or virtual check-ins. Be patient with their grief journey, as healing takes time and cannot be rushed. Remember that everyone grieves differently, and it is important to respect their unique process.

8. Conclusion

Grief is a challenging and deeply personal experience that requires resilience and support. Building resilience during grief is essential for individuals to navigate their journey, find healing, and eventually move forward in life. By accepting and expressing emotions, seeking support, and practicing self-care, individuals can cultivate resilience. 

Additionally, techniques like mindfulness, physical activity, creative expression, journaling, and seeking professional help can further contribute to building resilience. Remember, supporting others in their grief journey with active listening, practical assistance, encouragement of professional help, and being available and patient can make a significant difference. 

Through resilience and support, individuals can find strength, hope, and healing amidst grief.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources on building resilience during grief:

  • What Does Resilient Grieving Mean?: This article explores the concept of resilient grieving and provides insights into how individuals can develop resilience while navigating grief.
  • 10 Helpful Tips for Resilient Grieving: Claire Bidwell Smith shares practical tips and strategies for building resilience during the grieving process based on her own experiences and expertise as a grief therapist and author.
  • What I Learned About Resilience in the Midst of Grief: This insightful article explores the connection between grief and resilience, highlighting personal stories and research-backed strategies for finding strength and growth in the face of loss.


What is the grieving process?

The grieving process refers to the emotional, psychological, and physical journey one goes through after experiencing a loss. It involves a range of emotional reactions, thoughts, and behaviors as individuals come to terms with their new reality.

How long does the grieving process last?

Grieving is a unique and individual experience, and there is no set timeframe for how long it lasts. It varies greatly depending on the individual, the nature of the loss, and the support they receive. Grief may be felt intensely during the initial stages and gradually lessen over time, but it can also resurface unexpectedly.

What are some common reactions to grief?

Common reactions to grief include sadness, anger, guilt, confusion, numbness, fatigue, changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, and difficulty concentrating. These reactions can vary in intensity and duration based on individual experiences.

Is it normal to feel overwhelmed by grief?

Yes, feeling overwhelmed by grief is a normal part of the grieving process. Grief can be an intense and complex emotion that impacts various aspects of life. It is important to seek support and engage in self-care practices to help navigate the overwhelming feelings.

How can I support someone who is grieving?

To support someone who is grieving, it is essential to offer a listening ear, validate their feelings, and provide practical assistance. Allow them to grieve in their own way and be patient with their healing process. Encourage them to seek professional help if needed and be there for them as a source of comfort and understanding.