Grief and Stress with Dr. Doni (Episode 132)

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Grief and Stress with Dr. Doni (Episode 132)

Grief takes many forms: Denial, shock, anger, guilt, and fear. We may also experience depression and sadness. It's important to allow ourselves to experience grief the way that it happens for each of us individually.
Many health problems can develop when we're under high stress. And one of the greatest stresses that we experience as humans is the loss of a loved one. Dr. Doni talks about supporting your body when you are grieving.

In today’s podcast we talk about stress related to grief.

One of the greatest stresses that we experience as humans is the loss of a loved one.

Stress and grief can also be related to the end of a relationship – for example, because of a divorce or a breakup or even the end of a friendship. It could be related to the loss of a job, needing to move homes or the loss of a pet.

The stages of grief are not necessarily linear; we can even go through all of them in a day.

We may feel denial, being in shock, anger, guilt and fear. We may also experience depression and sadness.

It’s also important to allow ourselves to experience grief the way that it happens for each of us individually.

Grief and Loss: Effects on the Body

I want to share with you more about the research related to how loss and grief create stress on our bodies. In a study from 2012 they found there is definitely a change in our cortisol and adrenaline levels when we experience loss.1

One of the areas that I have been researching for over 20 years is measuring cortisol and adrenaline levels in myself and my patients and understanding how we are all unique in terms of how our cortisol and adrenaline shifts when we’re under stress.

I find it very interesting that the studies on loss and death of a loved one showed that it’s more common for cortisol and adrenaline to be elevated in the first two weeks to six months after the loss. A year after the loss, if people continue to have symptoms of grief, they are more likely to have low cortisol levels.

It’s really important to know how your body is responding because then we can do something about it and recover. We can start regulating our adrenaline and cortisol levels so this doesn’t become a long term or permanent issue.

We can work to reset the HPA Axis (hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis) to tell our bodies to produce more or less cortisol and adrenaline and regulate our stress response.

Studies also show that when a person experiences loss, it can increase the likelihood of experiencing anxiety and depression. Also, our immune system can be affected, and we can experience higher levels of inflammation in the body.2

Many other health problems can develop when under high stress, such as insomnia, heart attacks, strokes, cancer, increased susceptibility to viruses, such as HPV, and other infections. There is even a condition known as broken heart syndrome, or Takotsubo, when the heart muscle is weakened from grief and severe stress.3

When we’re in a grieving process that has disrupted our neuroendocrine (nervous system and hormones) is when we need to have our cortisol and adrenaline levels measured.

This is not done in the standard medical office so that’s why I offer these tests through my office, so you can do them yourself at home. You can find these on the links below. Then you and I can meet, and I can help you understand your results and how to address them and use the right protocol of nutrients and herbs for you.

And this is not a one-size-fits-all treatment. Not everyone needs the same nutrients and herbs. It is crucial that we understand how our bodies respond to stress as an individual, and what doses and supplements are needed for our bodies to start healing.  

In my latest book Master Your Stress, Reset Your Health I identified the correct sequence for helping you to get your cortisol, adrenaline and neurotransmitters back to optimal again, and it’s based on what I refer to as your unique Stress Type.

Once we know your Stress Type, we can help you to efficiently implement the nutrients and herbs that will help bring your levels back to optimal. You can find which is your unique Stress Type by taking my Stress Quiz here:


Dr. Doni Stress Quiz

I have also set up the stress type supplement bundles where you can get just the right supplements for your specific stress type. You can find these bundles in my store here:

This is how passionate I am about helping you to recover from stress, including stress from loss of a loved one, so you can prevent the health issues associated with grief and so that you can be thriving in your life.

If I can be of more assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me to set up a one-on-one appointment if you prefer:

You can also check out my most recent free masterclass: Transform Your Life: Get to the Root of Anxiety and Depression:

We’re here to help you!

P.S. I published two blog posts this week about grief and loss – from my own personal experience in addition to that of a practitioner:

One of the biggest stresses that we can experience is the death of a loved one. Many health problems can develop when we're under high stress, so Dr. Doni talks about self-care when you are grieving the loss of a loved one.
A profound loss can teach us the lessons we can't learn in other ways. Even in extreme grief, we have to accept this as a gift. It's hard to see that through the denial, shock, anger, guilt, and fear that comes with grief, but give yourself the self-care you deserve and the time to heal.

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Disclaimer: This specific article and all other Content, Products, and Services of this Website are NOT intended as, and must not be understood or construed as, medical care or advice, naturopathic medical care or advice, the practice of medicine, or the practice of counseling care, nor can it be understood or construed as providing any form of medical diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease.


  1. Buckley T, Sunari D, Marshall A, Bartrop R, McKinley S, Tofler G. Physiological correlates of bereavement and the impact of bereavement interventions. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2012 Jun;14(2):129-39. doi: 10.31887/DCNS.2012.14.2/tbuckley. PMID: 22754285; PMCID: PMC3384441. 
  2. Hopf, D, Eckstein, M, Aguilar-Raab, C, Warth, M, Ditzen, B. Neuroendocrine mechanisms of grief and bereavement: A systematic review and implications for future interventionsJ Neuroendocrinol. 2020; 32:e12887.
  3. What is takotsubo cardiomyopathy?  
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