An Inside Look into the 5 Stages of Grief

The unfortunate reality of the human experience is that eventually, everyone will have to handle grief at one point in their life. And while every human is different and the coping process for grief will differentiate, there are five generally agreed upon stages for handling grief.

This article will examine the five stages of grief and what exactly they entail. For those suffering through a hard time, hopefully, it will give you a better understanding of what you are going through. 

For New Jersey residents, you can feel more confident looking for “grief counseling NJ” when you understand the signs to look for.


The first stage in the Five Stages of Grief Theory is denial, and it is the one most are familiar with. Denial is a natural coping mechanism for dealing with intense grief. By pretending that the occurring event of your grief never happened or is not as severe as others are making it seem we are capable of slowly processing the tragedy instead of feeling it all at once. 

It is a necessary survival method for all, as grief takes time to come to terms with fully. Denial allows us to work through grief at our own pace.


Once we have accepted the loss and gotten over the denial phase, many experience intense anger over their situation. This anger can be redirected anywhere and to anyone, the people involved, people close to you, or some unseen universal force. Much like denial, anger is a coping mechanism to avoid confronting your feelings of grief. Even if intense anger gives off the perception that one is taking a proactive approach to deal with their grief, it is usually anything but.


Bargaining often occurs near the lowest moment of the grieving process, where we accept that these forces are outside of our control but still hold on to the hope that we can negotiate for a desirable outcome. People often bargain with a higher power, admit their faults and weaknesses, and swear to change their behavior if the higher power makes everything okay. For example, “I promise god if you fix this, I’ll spend more time with my family.”

The bargaining process can often be seen as looking back at your history with the person or event that is the center of your grief and evaluating all your misdeeds and regrets regarding them.


Eventually, during the grieving process, your emotions and behavior will slow down, and the unfortunate reality of the situation will begin to seek in. Many retreat inward at this point, and that’s when the depression process of grief starts. Unlike the other stages, where one might appear to be more outwardly proactive in handling grief, depression involves retreating inward and isolating yourself from others. The common symptoms of depression, such as lack of energy, trouble sleeping, and trouble eating, will follow. 

Depression is a natural process in handling grief, but it is no less scary and lonely.


The final stage of processing grief is acceptance, and it’s the most commonly misunderstood. Acceptance doesn’t necessarily equate to happiness; instead, it’s a phase where one is no longer resenting and questioning the world for putting them through this situation. It means coming to terms with the problem and not battling to change the truth.

The Stages of Grief are a Natural Reaction

If you recognize one of these stages in yourself or a loved one, it is essential to note that it is a natural reaction to handling grief. If you are still concerned, researching Grief counseling in New Jersey can help you contact a professional to help.


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