How to deal with grief

NLP techniques

The Secret of moving on

How to deal with grief.  It is something we have all faced or will face at some time in the future:  that terrible gnawing sensation in the pit of your stomach, that feeling of emptiness and devastation, when you can no longer see the one that you loved and continue to love so dearly.


So long as we live, they too shall live

For they are now part of us as

We remember them

Gates of Prayer


We need to grieve, but it should be for the shortest possible period.  

At this stage there need be no feelings of guilt, no “if only …”;  the body of the loved one may have perished but the personality, the love, the beauty and the character traits will be forever with you.

How to deal with grief – feeling of entitlement

The idea of the death of the physical body is something we should all be familiar with for no-one can escape it, but with better healthcare these days and people generally living longer there is, somehow, a feeling of entitlement that we should all have a little more.

Imagine the situation a couple or three hundred years ago or even in some of the more deprived areas on our planet.  

Death was then, and is there, far more common place at an early age.  

It is, sadly, like anything else.  The more common place, the greater the number of times it happens, the more you get used to it, the more you learn to deal with it. 

How to deal with grief - tragedy

It is easy to preach about, for grief comes to us all in different ways, and the more tragic the circumstances of the death of the loved one, or the younger the age, the harder it seems to bear. 

But the time to move on, honour the life of the loved one you can no longer see by living your own and looking after cherished ones who still live and may depend upon you, is sooner rather than later.

The death itself may be an awful event.  Perhaps your loved one suffered a long terminal illness, maybe the death was sudden and shocking or there was a dreadful accident of some sort. 

In any of those circumstances, your memories of the event or the last days in hospital will loom large in your mind, which means that you will repeatedly make pictures in your head which are large, colourful and vivid and they, perhaps tinged with feelings of guilt and regret, will serve to entrench and enhance your feelings of loss and grief. 

How to deal with grief – draining the picture

Another article on this website, NLP Techniques and Grief demonstrates how to drain the colour out of those images, turn them to black and white and keep pushing them off into the distance until you can no longer see them.

Before you try that particular exercise, bring up also some very good, happy memories that you enjoyed with your loved one. 

See them through your own eyes. Make the images colourful.  Feel what you felt at the time.  Double the size of the images and make them brighter still.  Feel the joy you experienced. 

Now think of one of the images that makes you feel sad. Rather than seeing the images through your own eyes, see yourself in the images as part of them.  Drain the colour from the picture.  Make it smaller.  Push it off into the distance until you cannot see it. 

Instantly bring back a happy memory and make it big and colourful as you did before.  Then bring back a sad memory and push it away in the same manner.  Repeat this exercise a number of times.

How to deal with grief - Timeline

Now imagine your timeline.  Your timeline is personal to you because each person envisages time differently. 

When I think about the future I see it extending in front of me, slightly to the right of centre disappearing off over the horizon. 

When I think of the past, I see it, in my mind’s eye, extending behind me as far as possible, slightly to the left of centre. 

I know from discussing this with others that some people see the past to their distant left and their future to the distant right.  Others have still different mental images.

It doesn’t matter.  All you need to know is your own vision of the past. 

When you have established your timeline in this way, gather all your sad or shocking memories and mentally place them on the “past” section of your timeline as far back as you possibly can and, as you do so, imagine them getting smaller and smaller until you can see them no more. 

Then look to the future and imagine yourself living a happy and fulfilled life, fully honouring the life of the one you loved so dearly. 

At this stage I acknowledge with grateful thanks, the work of Richard Bandler, co-creator of NLP, who devised this exercise.

How to deal with grief – your children

Children naturally don’t like to think of the loss of their parents, and neither do they like to discuss it, but we should do our best to condition them for the future and help them face reality. 

If your children are old enough, particularly if they are adults, you may think it is beneficial to broach the subject in a tactful way at the right time.  It is much healthier. 

Death should not be taboo.  Too many times we avoid it, and when we do talk about death we hear people use such phrases as “If anything happens to me …”  Anything We will cheerfully use phrases like “Kick the bucket” but avoid the word “die” at all costs.

At some time I will die.  I don’t know how soon that will be or the manner of it. Whenever it is, I should like my children to get over it as soon as possible and live their lives to the full.  I don’t like to think of them sitting around moping and mourning my loss.

How to deal with grief - remembering

I would prefer that they remembered the many great times we had together, recalling the parts of my life that may inspire theirs, laughing about my temper tantrums that they will no longer have to endure (and no doubt countless of my other faults).

I suggest that if we are honest with ourselves, that is the very least we would all like for our children.  It is, I suspect, what your parents wanted for you.  It is what we, as brothers and sisters sharing our life on Earth, should want for each other. 



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