By Pat Meehan

Being downsized from a job is listed in the top ten most stressful things a person experiences in a lifetime. Dealing and coping with this situation is a big adjustment. It will take a little time to get acclimated to the loss, and the absence of your daily routine, but you will make the adjustment successfully. One of the most important things to realize is that you are going through a grieving cycle. Realizing this allows you to move naturally through it in a healthy way.

Grieving is a natural process that helps us work through the impact felt by a loss. We grieve at the death of a spouse, child, friend, relative, or a pet. Grieving comes with a loss, a death, a divorce, a bankruptcy, an illness, and the loss of a job.

In 1963 the nation mourned the loss of a young president, John F. Kennedy. An entire country and most of the world experienced the grieving cycle as a result of this tragic event.

When we lose a job due to a downsizing it is a painful experience. The grieving cycle allows us to work through the pain and into new positive visions of the future. These new visions are called hope. Although the grieving cycle is a built in defense mechanism to help us through hard times, it is very important to fully understand how it works. Without this understanding we can get trapped in the grieving process. Relax now, as we move through the four stages of grieving.

When we lose a job due to a downsizing it is a painful experience. The grieving cycle allows us to work through the pain and into new positive visions of the future. These new visions are called hope. Although the grieving cycle is a built in defense mechanism to help us through hard times, it is very important to fully understand how it works. Without this understanding we can get trapped in the grieving process. Relax now, as we move through the four stages of grieving.

Stage One: Denial

Denial is a built in pain reliever or tranquilizer that comes to us very quickly following a trauma. It is a form of temporary amnesia that allows us to be numb or temporarily pain free from the trauma or shock we have experienced. After a loss a person will go into the denial stage. Let’s use the example of a lost job and look at the frame of mind of a person in denial. Here are some symptoms of denial.

Refusal to even talk about the loss
Will not admit to feelings of sorrow
May abuse alcohol or drugs
Will not relate other problems as being related to the loss
Will sometimes show a happy-go-lucky attitude

Stage Two: Resistance

When a person moves through the grieving cycle naturally, reality sets in and the person becomes consciously aware that there is a problem and pushes away from it in a variety of ways. When a person moves from denial to resistance here are some of the symptoms.

Anger
Blaming others, self, God, or their environment
Irritability, rigid personality, nausea, headaches, etc.
Tenseness, anxiety, depression
Embarrassment, shame, guilt, isolation.

Stage Three: Exploration

A person who moves through the grief cycle in a health way will eventually come to grips with the feelings experienced in resistance and move to exploration. In exploration a person is starting to turn the corner of the grieving cycle and will show the following signs.

Agreeable to sit with another person to discuss the loss
Willingness to get outside help
Learning to take one step at a time to move in a positive direction
Accepts the reality of the loss and shows willingness to let go of control
Starts to wonder out of the defense mechanism mode / starts to trust others
Willingness to follow direction to be self-starting

Stage Four: Closure

In the final stage of the grieving cycle the person has explored new ventures and opportunities and finds himself/herself seeing options and solution of which to choose a new way to continue living in a positive way. A person in closure will show the following signs.

Readiness to move forward again
Cheerfulness and energetic attitude
Self reliance and self assuredness
Decisiveness and good decision making ability
Replacing the loss

So take a deep breath, relax and don’t beat yourself up. Let yourself move through the grieving cycle. Utilize your network mentors, clergy, career coaches to help guide you along the way. You will be back on your feet again soon!

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