The Mental and Physical Impact of Losing Your Spouse


Upon losing your spouse, it’s likely that you feel intense and overwhelming feelings of grief to the point that you simply can’t think of anything else. This is one of the many reasons why many charities establish widow appeals, to help women who have lost their husbands elevate themselves from these feelings of woe.

Everyone deals with grief in a unique manner, with some people avoiding their feelings completely as they’re just too painful to address. The symptoms of grief can often resemble those of depression, including feelings of denial, numbness, and shock. These initial feelings can progress into emotions like guilt, anger, loneliness, emptiness, and sadness.

The feelings associated with grief present themselves in different ways. Some people will feel this hurt constantly, whereas others will experience it in waves; this can also change at different stages of the grieving process. Generally speaking, these intense and overwhelming feelings will subside with time; however, everyone’s journey is different.


During the grieving process, emotions are incredibly heightened. This can often mean people act differently from how they usually would. For instance, they might not enjoy the things that they typically would and become withdrawn, and they might have trouble concentrating completely. Some people have unhealthy coping mechanisms that can come in multiple forms, and these can only contribute further to the mental, physical, and emotional damage of grief.

Physical Health

Quite simply, grief is exhausting. As a result, it can actually weaken the immune system. Therefore, when people are grieving, they might find themselves falling ill with ailments such as colds. What’s more, grief can affect the appetite, which might impact someone’s weight. At the same time, grief can keep you awake a night, meaning that you feel exhausted throughout the day. This is on top of random pains that you may experience, like body aches, headaches, and stomach aches.

Spiritual Life

Death can be very spiritual, which is why some people find themselves having dreams about their spouse or hearing their voices upon their departure. As a result, losing a spouse can inspire someone to go on a spiritual journey and awaken their spiritual beliefs. This can even happen to people who previously had zero spiritual beliefs. In fact, it can actually be quite a healthy coping mechanism for coming to terms with the loss of a spouse.

Post-Traumatic Growth

While death is a very sad concept, some people experiencing grief sometimes find that positivity comes from it. For instance, some people report discovering wisdom, maturity, and the meaning of life upon experiencing loss and grief. Unfortunately, death is something that comes to everyone; however, in some instances, it’s more expected than in others. Once you come to terms with the death of your spouse, you might find that your eyes are opened to all manner of things that you’ve never considered before. As a result, post-traumatic growth is something that’s experienced by a handful of people.

Complicated Grief and Depression

As previously mentioned, sometimes grief can be prolonged and more intense, which can hinder someone’s ability to deal with their day-to-day life. The likelihood of this happening increases if the death occurs in a traumatic fashion. Prolonged grief can sometimes be referred to as complicated or complex grief, and this is a persistent form of intense grief, in which people struggle to cope with their daily lives. Typically, over time, those who are grieving are able to transition into a more positive mindset, but those experiencing complicated grief find themselves in a dark and sorrowful place.

All in all, everyone experiences grief in different ways; it’s important to help your loved ones through the difficult time regardless of how they grieve.


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