Denial – During this stage, things will feel overwhelming so, as a coping mechanism, the person will try to deny their state because they feel a shock. This shock has changed everything in their life and it usually doesn’t make sense at first. Actually, although it would seem like a negative aspect, denial is actually good because it helps us cope and survive and understanding your pain begins with denial.
Anger – A very important stage in the healing process, anger is not endless no matter how much you think it is at the moment you experience it. Actually, the more anger you express, the better you will cope with your problem afterwards, because it helps you let go of your pain somehow. Anger is much better as despair because it gives you a focus towards an object, while despair is just a feeling without structure. Try not to suppress your anger.
Bargaining – this is a form of temporary truce, you will make certain promises to yourself, to God, or whatever you believe in that certain things will happen if you get through the traumatic event. In this stage, you will experience regret a lot and often think about times when you could have done things differently.
Depression – depression is a state of mind characterized by the present, unlike bargaining which is characterized by the past. Depression is the appropriate response to a great loss and should be understood while experiencing it because it’s an important step in your grief.
Acceptance – although most people have the misconception that acceptance means being all right with your current situation, it is not the case when analyzing grief. Acceptance during the grief process is about seeing the reality just as it is and coping with it in an authentic way. In other words, acceptance is not denying our feelings, trying to recreate meaningful relationships, despite the loss you endured.
From an epistemological point of view we can notice that these stages of grief are very similar to the structure we use when we gather new information that contrasts the old information we believe in. It seems that our thought patterns are constructed to resemble the stages of grief whenever we learn something new, leading, more or less, to an emotional roller-coaster. Even if the stages of grief have been criticized by scientists who consider that there is no pattern similar to most people, but there is evidence that points to the fact that most people have the same way of integrating traumatizing or controversial information while experiencing some or all these stages.