The Impact of Grief On The Body

Ashley Waite

There are 12 interconnected systems in the human body and each is predisposed to the impact of stress and grief. According to a Psychology Today article, "for many bereaved individuals, the most common physical manifestations occur in the immune, cardiovascular, digestive, and nervous systems. Some examples of this include:

Immune system: systemic inflammation, weakened immune system, and lower antibody response to vaccination.

Cardiovascular system: increased blood pressure, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, and heart attacks.

Digestive system: nausea, queasiness, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, flatulence, heartburn, acid reflux, IBS, and changes in appetite.

Nervous system: headaches, difficulty with decision-making, low attention-span, disturbed sleep, fatigue, and anxiety".

It is important when grieving to consider the impacts of grief not only through the lens of mental health, but taking a holistic perspective to account for the physiological responses as well.


Mendoza, M. (2019, September 04). When grief gets physical. Retrieved April 03, 2021, from

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