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If you have recently lost a loved one, you are grieving and hurting. It probably comes as small consolation when friends tell you, "It will get better."

A new Yale University study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that for most people "all the negative grief indicators are in decline" after six months of mourning.

Of the 233 people studied, more than 80 percent had recently lost a spouse. The loved ones had all died from natural causes.

In looking at the five stages of grief — disbelief, yearning, anger, depression and acceptance — researchers found that yearning was the strongest emotion survivors felt during the grieving process.

The study has implications for family members of the surviving spouse.

If you notice your loved one is still having difficulty coping after six months, it may be time to seek help.

Researchers concluded that when the negative emotions last longer than six months, it "suggests the need for further evaluation of the bereaved survivor and potential referral for treatment."