Understanding Grief: Distinguishing Between Grief and a Bad Mood

Dealing with the loss of a loved one or facing any significant loss in life can be an emotional roller coaster.
By illume Editorial Team
Last updated: Jul 19, 2023
10 min read
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Grief is a natural and essential part of life, but it’s often misunderstood and confused with being in a bad mood. In this blog, we’ll delve into the differences between grief and a bad mood while highlighting the significance of mental health during the grieving process. Our caring and empathetic approach aims to shed light on the symptoms of grief and how to come to terms with the loss while maintaining daily life.

Defining Grief:

Grief is an emotional response triggered by the death of a loved one or the loss of something deeply cherished. It is an intense and complex emotional experience that can manifest in various ways. People who are grieving may find themselves going through mood swings, feeling sad one moment and numb the next. It’s not uncommon to experience a flood of negative thoughts and emotions. Understanding that grief is a natural part of life can help us process the pain and begin healing.


Distinguishing Grief from a Bad Mood:

While grief can lead to mood swings and feeling down, it is essential to recognise the distinctions. A bad mood is usually temporary and often has a clear cause, such as a bad day at work or a minor disappointment. On the other hand, grief is a more profound emotional process rooted in significant loss, such as the death of a loved one or the end of a long-term relationship. It is crucial not to dismiss grief as a mere bad mood, as doing so may hinder the healing process and prevent the individual from fully processing their emotions.

The Grieving Process:

Grief doesn’t follow a linear path and can manifest differently in different individuals. Some people may go through the traditional stages of grief, like denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, while others might experience grief in a more unpredictable manner. For those who are grieving, seeking support from friends and family is vital. Connecting with others who have experienced similar losses can provide solace and remind us that we are not alone in our journey.

Understanding the Stages of Grief:

Each stage of grief brings its unique set of emotions and challenges. Denial might lead to disbelief and shock, while anger can manifest as frustration and resentment. Bargaining often involves thoughts of “what if” and trying to make sense of the loss. Depression brings profound sadness and a sense of emptiness, while acceptance involves finding a way to come to terms with the reality of the loss. It’s essential to remember that these stages may not occur in a fixed order, and individuals may move back and forth between them. Recognising and accepting these stages can be integral to the healing process.

The Impact on Mental Health:

Grief can take a toll on our mental health, causing feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and even guilt. It’s essential to prioritise mental well-being during this challenging time. Seeking professional help from grief support apps or counsellors can facilitate coping and provide a safe space to express emotions. Friends and family can also play a crucial role in supporting the individual’s mental health during grief, offering a listening ear and a caring presence.

Coping with Complicated Grief:

In some cases, grief can become more complex and prolonged, leading to what is known as complicated grief. Complicated grief may involve persistent feelings of intense sadness, trouble accepting the loss, or difficulty resuming daily life. This type of grief may require specialised support to help individuals navigate their emotions and find a way to move forward. Seeking professional help and guidance can be instrumental in coping with complicated grief.


Grief is a natural and normal response to significant loss, but it is not merely a bad mood that will pass with time. It requires understanding, patience, and compassion from both the person experiencing grief and those offering support. As we navigate through the stages of grief and learn to cope with our emotions, it is crucial to remember that healing takes time. Seeking support from friends, family, and professional grief support apps can make a significant difference in helping us come to terms with our loss and eventually find moments of peace and acceptance amid the pain. Remember, you don’t have to go through this journey alone, and it’s okay to seek help when needed. Together, we can support each other through the difficult times and find solace in knowing that grief is a natural part of the human experience.