Can grief make physical changes in your body?
We all have a tendency to look at grief as a mere emotional manifestation, but the fact is that grief can make actual physical changes in our bodies. Think about it. For instance, a memory can trigger a chill down your spine or even make you clench your stomach. That’s not all, there’s more.
Grief usually affects the digestive system. When someone is bereaved, they are likely to suffer a temporary loss of appetite. They might also suffer from digestive problems such as constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea or even a "hollow feeling" in the stomach.
Loss of energy
Grief drains energy in a big way. This could be due to various reasons such as bouts of crying, sleep patterns that have been disrupted, poor or irregular eating habits and so on. This reflects as tiredness and even fatigue in the muscles.
Coming down with illness
Grief can affect the immune system badly and make a person more susceptible to illnesses. One might catch a cold or flu much easier than normal. In case, one has a chronic illness, this is likely to worsen.
When one is grieving, this can turn up as pain in the body in different forms. This could include heaviness in the limbs, headaches or migraines, aches in the neck, back, or skeletal joints, and muscular pain all over the body.
Grief can make a person lose interest in many normal and routine activities and this includes eating. In fact, for a week or several days following a death, many people under eat, skip regular meals, barely eat or eat nothing at all. This results in weight loss. On the other hand, weeks and months following a death, some may put on weight as they may not exercise as they would normally do and may also end up eating unhealthy junk food.