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Grief: A Global Aftermath from Tragedy

Grief, a reaction to loss, is huge in the face of tragedy. Unfortunately, there are countless tragedies that occur such as hate crimes, war, terrorist attacks, and natural disasters that not only are felt by families directly affected but contain a ripple effect of grief felt globally.

Grief consists of several reactions involving emotions of varying intensities, behaviors and instrumental problem-solving actions. A common reaction is anger. In the face of devastating tragedy, anger can easily intensify to rage especially when you are amongst those being violated. What follows is going into problem-solving mode involving retaliating action motivated by rage.

The 3-A Coping Framework components of Acknowledge, Assess, Assist can be applied as a means of monitoring yourself with awareness through tragic circumstances. Acknowledge the loss, face reality; Assess the impact on you - how are you behaving, what are you feeling? - is there anger or is there rage? You can Assist yourself by sharing your pain with others who are also in pain and expressing your emotions. If you are consumed by the rage, know you are not alone and be there for others.

During a speech after the Hamas attack in Israel, President Joe Biden spoke about the rage of 9/11, the 2001 deadliest attack on American soil, where Islamic terrorists hijacked 2 planes and plowed them into both towers of the World Trade Centre in New York. He cautioned to not be consumed by the rage that can lead to making mistakes - referring to mistakes that the U.S. made.*

In your grief experience, your anger may get assessed accompanied with fear, sadness or behaviors that make it hard to function. In her life work as a professor and researcher in self compassion and compassion for others, Kristin Neff, explained compassion in components.** One of the components is kindness vs judgment. Another is common humanity vs. isolation. It may be difficult to lose sight of common humanity and easier to become isolated in a state of rage in response to tragic circumstances. Monitoring yourself with awareness can prevent losing sight of our common humanity and assist in knowing you are not alone in your suffering.

Assist yourself by acknowledging and assessing. Being aware of your pain, not getting consumed with the rage in the face of tragedy can aid in processing your grief. Although not easy, processing the grief can bring you closer to coming to terms with what is occurring, to truth, resolution, and peace.

Image Credit: Julie Fritsch, The Anguish of Loss

* Biden's pressure on Israel should match his warning about 9/11 mistake

**Kristen Neff, Three Components of Self Compassion


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