Tips for Healthy Grieving

By Deb Graf, LPC

Is Grief the Same as Mourning?

Grief is the conflict in feelings caused by a change or an end in a familiar pattern of behavior. It is a normal and natural reaction to the many losses we experience in life. Of itself, grief is not pathological. Mourning, on the other hand, is the outward expression of grief.


  • Don’t Feel Bad. (Healing comes from feeling the pain.)
  • Replace the Loss. (First grieve the loss.)
  • Grieve alone. (People grieve alone because they are afraid of being judged or criticized.)
  • Be strong. (Real strength is a natural demonstration of emotions.)
  • Keep busy. (Face the pain – don’t bury it.)
  • Time heals all wounds. (Actions, not time, heals.)


  • Apologize for any wrong doing
  • Forgiveness: giving up hope of a different or better yesterday, to cease to feel resentment against [an offender]. It is an action, not a feeling.
  • Significant emotional statements: “I love you; I liked your laughter….”
  • Reminisce fond memories.


  • Set aside time that is quiet
  • Select modalities to help you process: writing, singing, walking, or talking to supportive people
  • Use music, photo albums, and lyrics to set the mood
  • Value your needs and trust your process
  • Arrange for support
  • Consider what an “unacceptable” emotion is. Why? (No emotion is unacceptable.)


Your life is like a chapter book:
It has some sad chapters. Some of the best stories have sad chapters, but the later chapters can be happy and exciting.