Finding Hope And Meaning In Uncertain Times: War And Pandemics

Finding Meaning And Hope In The Pandemic Losses
Source – GQ India

The entire world feels like it has come to a standstill. Wars, pandemics, earthquakes, extreme weather conditions. During these uncertain times, our mental health can be put to the test. Grief during these times is a natural response and not one to be ashamed of. Here’s how to process the immense changes and grief we are all feeling.

Finding Hope And Meaning In Uncertain Times: War And Pandemics

We’ve all fallen into a state of mourning overnight. International news plastered with the chaos of wars. Losses incurred as a result of this pandemic extend beyond the loss of human life. Life feels like it has been flipped upside down.

We lament the passing of security and structure over our lives. It’s hard for us to go back to the familiarity of hugs and physical contact with loved ones and the feeling of consistency that formerly characterised our lives.

During these uncertain times, it might be difficult to cope and find purpose in life.

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All Of Us Have A Role To Play

Grief is a multifaceted emotion. While grieving is a unique experience, it is reassuring and empowering to know that one is not alone in the face of these times. When we are mourning, we often reach out to those we care about, but being alone has altered the way we grieve, both individually and collectively.

There are methods to recognise, comprehend and embrace this communal grief all throughout the globe. In the end, it’s how you deal with it that determines how far you can go, how much control you restore, and how much purpose you find.

Grief Is A Process That Progresses Through Many Stages

People are often in different phases of grieving as social isolation and disconnection remain. Grief encompasses not just present sensations, but also feelings compounded by each individual’s prior experiences of loss, many of which were previously unknown.

Denial, anger, bargaining, sadness and acceptance are the five phases of grieving outlined by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in her book On Death and Dying. All types of loss, not only those resulting from death, may go through these phases, and the progression isn’t always linear. Finding meaning is the sixth stage of grieving, according to more recent study.

Understanding the Meaning of Loss

For many people, finding meaning in loss can be a difficult process. “When we are no longer able to alter a circumstance, we are pushed to change ourselves." Grief is a personalised experience that is shaped not just by the current pandemic and war but also by one’s own personal history of loss and grieving for a loved one.

To understand one’s emotions, it is sometimes necessary to experience the complete range of grief’s phases. When we talk about our sentiments, we may have a better knowledge of our emotions and, eventually, a way to deal with them. Many find journaling to be an effective means of expressing themselves. Psychotherapy, in which one expresses one’s feelings and contemplates them with a therapist, may be beneficial for certain people.

When faced with adversity, we may take inspiration from those who have shown resiliency in the face of it. Shared grief can be a powerful journey to go through. It can make bonds stronger and more resilient as a result of expressing and acting on grief together.

All the added free time from lockdowns and social distancing can give you time to think about and appreciate the things that are most important to you. Many people who are worried and depressed have also had significant feelings of improving their connections and gaining personal gratification from good actions.

How to Find Purpose During a Time of Loss

Jane (not her actual name) bought and delivered a thermometer to a patient who couldn’t leave his house to get medical supplies. Instead of being seen as a departure from the therapist’s normal duties, this act of compassion and development of their bond may now be seen for what it is.

Jack (not his actual name) has been delivering weekly porch dinners to a neighbour who is at risk. His isolated neighbour recently expressed his appreciation and said that the meals had become the highlight of his day. Providing a warm meal to a lonely neighbour and showing him that someone cares about him not only gives Jack a sense of purpose, but it also gives the neighbour the peace of mind that comes from knowing that someone cares about him.

The heightened awareness of life’s fragility that comes from grief can be transformed by purpose. Finding a purpose in life can be a lifesaver in the face of overwhelming odds. Despite the fact that many people will continue to experience long-term loss and trauma after the pandemic has ended, many others will be able to get beyond their grief and sorrow in their own time and in their own ways.


  2. ​​Kübler-Ross E (1969). On Death and Dying.
  3. Kessler D (2019), Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief

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