Handling Sadness and Yearning After a Major Loss

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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.

To help you cope with your feelings of sadness and yearning, you might try the following tips.

  • Look at photos, watch videos, or exchange stories with other people about your loss.
  • Acknowledge the loss.

    Take 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 participate in normal day-to-day activities.

    Being active and taking part in daily activities might help you focus in the present.

Handling your emotions around others

After a major loss, you may feel more emotional or less patient. If you find yourself bothered by what other people say and do, try some of the following tips.

  • Pause for a moment before responding.

    Concentrate on your breathing or count to 10 before you react.

  • Communicate your needs.

    Ask people around you to allow you some time to adjust to your new life situation.

  • Acknowledge how you feel, but move forward.

    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.


Current as of: March 27, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Sidney Zisook MD - Psychiatry

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.