America: A Nation of Criers

When it comes to grief and loss, America is no longer a nation of stoics; we are a nation of feelers. But is our expression of grief helping or hurting our ability to heal?

The stages of grief hold great appeal because they give us a sense of control over a difficult experience, a sort of a road map. But their popularity tells us more about ourselves and the way we like to order things than it does about grief. The idea is that any problem can not only be tackled with a series of steps but provides an opportunity for personal growth. It's a way of simplifying life's challenges and implies a reward for suffering. Aside from the stages, there is a lot of emphasis on the expression of negative emotions. But recent studies have shown that people who express those emotions, or do their "grief work," don't heal any faster.

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