Migration mourning: how to fight it

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Migration mourning: how to fight it

It is common to suffer from migratory mourning, caused by the abandonment of home, family and friends.

Last update: 14 March, 2019

Whether it is for work or for study reasons, for a temporary or prolonged period, it happens to many at some point in their life that they have to emigrate to another country. In these cases it is common to suffer from migratory mourning, caused by the abandonment of home, family and friends.



What if you were forced to leave today and be separated from your family and friends forever? What if you woke up tomorrow in a country other than yours, where customs and habits are totally different? What if you want to express in words what you are feeling, but you are faced with a different language, accent and words from those you are used to? These are all situations capable of triggering this disorder called migratory bereavement.

The pain caused by a loss

When a loss situation exists, our brain begins to make a series of emotional and cognitive adjustments. These adaptations are necessary in order to be able to process the situation and be able to get used to the new reality that one has to face.

We are talking about what is called "mourning", and which carries within the breast manifestations and symptoms that are the children of this process of adaptation. For example, loss of appetite, anxiety or sleep disorders. In turn, negative emotions such as sadness or anger emerge.

In the case of migratory mourning, this malaise does not appear immediately. When we have just moved and find ourselves immersed in practices and situations that are totally new to us, we often do not suffer from this problem. This is because when our attention is inevitably focused on urgent and immediate matters, our mind has no time for "distractions".



As time passes, we begin to focus on ourselves. This is why migratory mourning is also called the 6-month disease, considering this time frame as a period of adaptation. This disorder also carries other names related to popular culture, such as homesickness or melancholy.

Migratory mourning and its various manifestations

Emigrating causes the loss of more elements, therefore it is appropriate to speak in reality of multiple pains. We refer to the loss of home, loved ones and identity. Many times, moreover, emigration is motivated by economic precariousness, situations of violence in the country of origin, wars or persecutions and more. Reasons already valid enough for the activation of a condition of malaise.

For all these reasons, if you are planning to move to a country unknown to you, if you have just moved to what will be your new country or if you know someone who has recently emigrated to your country, here are some tips to promote correct fit as much as possible.

How to foster positive adaptation and prevent migratory bereavement

Neither the host country nor the return home should be idealized

Creating false expectations about the destination country can more easily lead to disappointment in the destination country. The best thing is not to create great expectations in order to be able to analyze the pros and cons of the country that will welcome us as objectively as possible. At the same time it is not advisable to idealize even the return to the homeland, thinking that things may be better than before.


Sometimes there is an excess of idealization towards other countries. Everywhere there are things that work better and others that do not. It is wrong to expect only good things or, conversely, only bad things.


Normalize the situation

Be aware that life is an ever-changing process. Emigration is a phenomenon that has existed since the origins of humanity and if you are forced, for whatever reason, to emigrate to another country, it does not mean that one day you will not be able to return home or move to another country. You will find that knowing different cultures is not bad at all.


Thanks to these tips, it will be easier to control the stress levels generated by change and the process of integration and adaptation to another country. In this way, migratory mourning will not be as intense as we fear.

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