Your Brain on Grief

I recently saw this 3-minute animated video of what it is like for your brain when you are in grief. As the video says in the opening, we often say people are heartbroken when it may be better to say brain-broken.

A person’s response to grief actually does affect your brain and how you deal with life. This probably does not come as a surprise since we tell grieving people not make major life decisions too quickly. Why? Because their brain is not functioning in the normal mode. It is in grief mode.

The video also talks about “stages” of grief, and stages of anything is always an “iffy” concept (note the different options available above), but it does note that people move through the shock, anger/depression, and acceptance of death in different lengths of time. I probably went through this faster than my wife, Mary Ann, in part because I had been writing about Oliver’s impending death — I was working through his death while he was still alive. I also probably went through it faster for the simple reason that Mary Ann and I are not the same person. Every person will handle grief differently. No one way is right and our brain has something to say about it.

Although the period of grief will differ for people, the video claims many people go through this in a year. I would guess that people going through an unexpected death may go through this longer and parents of children even longer. The confusion comes when society sees “acceptance” as a time of “getting over it.” You don’t get over grief, but you do come to deal with the loss better over time.

But the most important aspect of the video is that it shows us how grief affects us physically and mentally, which ties into our emotional responses. After watching this, you’ll understand your own and other’s grief just a little better.

1 thought on “Your Brain on Grief

  1. You’ve helped a lot of people today, Derek. The video was wonderfully done…in a way that many will be able to remember and use in their lives.


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