Harnessing the Power of Emotions to Overcome Grief

Harnessing the Power of Emotions to Overcome Grief

Growing up in the UK, there’s an unspoken belief that emotions are not welcome. It’s best to repress them and keep a stiff upper lip. This makes navigating the turbulent waters of grief incredibly daunting. After I lost my father, I discovered comfort and guidance in Karla McLaren’s book ‘The Language of Emotions.’ This book not only helped me to understand my grief but has since become a vital part of my work as a certified grief and loss coach.

Understanding Our Emotional Landscape

In our household, emotions were seldom discussed. Phrases like “If you want to cry, go to your room,” or “If you carry on laughing too much, you’ll end up crying,” were commonplace. This environment created a void of emotional literacy, leaving me ill-equipped to handle the grief experienced by my father’s passing.

this period of intense mourning, a dear friend introduced me to McLaren’s work. Her book, ‘The Language of Emotions,’ provided me with a much-welcomed understanding and expression of my grief. As I delved into the pages, I realized the power and significance of our emotional spectrum.

From the Abyss of Grief to Healing

book’s insights were so profound that when I became a certified grief and loss coach, I began to incorporate its teachings into my practice. One technique, which I like to call ‘How to Climb out of Life’s Emotional Abyss,’ has proven to be a powerful resource for many clients.

This method involves working with particularly triggering thoughts or statements that clients repeatedly tell themselves. By using a specific emotion in each sentence. This technique draws upon the research of Dr. David Hawkins, author of ‘Power vs Force,’ who found that each word carries a specific energy that can be measured.

The Power of Emotional Progression

This technique aims to help clients progress from feelings of apathy. According to Hawkins’ scale is at a low energy level of 50—to higher energy emotions such as anger, which stands at 150. Even this slight shift can make clients feel better. We’d continue to work with this tool throughout our sessions until we can reach the level of love. Love is at a high energy level of 500.

This technique is straightforward, and clients can easily use it independently. The result is a noticeable improvement in their emotional state, as they report feeling significantly better.

New Insights of Apathy and Anger

McLaren has since revised her book, adding many new insights. Such revisions include apathy and anger, and what questions to ask when dealing with these emotions. This additional information provides a deeper understanding of why clients grieving often fall into apathy. This insight alone further enhances the tool I use in my coaching practice.

The book ‘The Language of Emotions’ and how to work with them has proven invaluable in understanding and navigating the complicated emotions that accompany grief. When used with the techniques offered from the grief coaches toolkit and practiced, this offers a lifeline to those struggling with triggering cycling thoughts. providing a pathway out of the emotional abyss and towards healing. Unpacking and understanding our emotions can be a transformative process, leading us to survive our grief and thrive beyond it.

How to Grieve and Honour Your Child on Mother’s Day

How to Grieve and Honour Your Child on Mother’s Day

Navigating Grief

Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate and honour the amazing mothers in our lives. But for those who have lost a child, Mother’s Day can be a painful reminder of what could have been. It’s a complex mix of emotions, as you navigate the grief of losing your child while trying to find ways to celebrate. To also honour your motherhood or your own mother, grandma. We’ll explore some rituals and strategies that can provide comfort on this challenging day and help you cope with the pain and heartache that comes with losing a child.

Acknowledge Your Feelings:

One of the hardest parts of Mother’s Day after loss is navigating your emotions. It’s okay to feel sad, angry, or any other emotion that comes up. Try to acknowledge these feelings and give yourself permission to feel them. Journalling, creating art, talking to a trusted friend, or solace in the arms of your mother. if you need it are just a few ways that have helped others. Shedding tears of joy in remembering as well as sadness helps the body rebalance. Remember that there is no right or wrong way to feel it’s what works for you in honouring your feelings and emotions.

Create a Ritual:

Many people find comfort in creating a special ritual to honour their child on Mother’s Day. This could be anything from releasing balloons in their honour to lighting a candle in their memory, visiting a park that you enjoyed with them, walking in nature, or even talking to them. Choose something that feels meaningful and comforting to you, and make it a part of your yearly tradition. This helps you to feel close to your child and to keep their memory alive.

Connect with Others:

Grief can be isolating, but connecting with others who understand your pain can help you feel less alone. Consider joining a support group or contacting others who have also lost a child. Make plans with friends or family members who are supportive and understanding. You don’t have to go through this day alone.

Plan Ahead:

Mother’s Day can feel overwhelming when you’re unsure of what to expect. Plan ahead by deciding how you want to spend the day. Do you want to stay home and have a quiet day to yourself, or do you want to make plans with loved ones? Decide what feels right for you and make those plans in advance so you don’t have to make any last-minute decisions.

Focus on Your Love: Ultimately, Mother’s Day is about love and celebrating the special bond between a mother and child. Even though your child is no longer with you, that love and bond still exist. Spend some time focusing on the love you have for your child, and the love that your child had for you. Write them a letter, or spend some time looking at photos or keepsakes that remind you of them. Focus on the love that will always be a part of your life.


Honouring your child on Mother’s Day after a loss can be a challenging and emotional experience, but it’s important to remember that there are rituals and strategies that can provide comfort and help you cope with the pain and heartache. Remember to acknowledge your feelings, create a special ritual, connect with others, plan ahead, and focus on the love that exists between you and your child. You are not alone, and there is no right or wrong way to navigate this day. Give yourself grace, and know that your child’s memory will always be a part of your motherhood journey.

This year, as we celebrate the mothers in our lives, let’s also take some time to remember those who grieve.

Let’s Talk About Grief Podcast Interview

I recently interviewed one such mother, whose child died and she shares her journey you can listen to her story HERE

To further support you – Here are a few episodes that might help bring you comfort as you hear from others whose children have died also.

Colin Campbell – Channeling Grief & Rage after Double Tragedy into Something Great- Colin found rituals comforting and created many of them

Michelle Benyo Understanding a Child’s loss after a siblings death – son’s death from cancer

Ivan Maisel – Healing from the Pain of Loss, One Parent’s Story of Son’s Suicide

David Roberts – Turning a Father’s Pain into Purpose and Perspective – the loss of his daughter

You’ll find others on the Podcast that ultimately will help you feel less alone and hopefully listen to how others have navigated their own loss and found hope

woman on beach with small child walking at edge of sea, waves gently rolling in
Sibling Loss

Sibling Loss

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Siblings Loss

Siblings are often considered our first and lifelong friends. The bond between siblings can be one of the strongest connections we have in life. When we lose a sibling, it can feel as though a part of us is missing, leaving a void that seems impossible to fill.

Sibling loss often comes with lingering grief that can stay with us long. Each time we are reminded of our loss, it can feel like reopening a wound that hasn’t yet fully healed. However, losing a sibling doesn’t have to define us, and we can find ways to remember and honour them, carrying their values with us.

Turn Grief into Something Positive

One way to turn grief into something positive is by carrying forward the values and lessons our siblings taught us. They may have taught us to be kind, and compassionate, or to push ourselves to reach our full potential. These values can guide our choices in life and help us create something meaningful that helps others. We need to focus on celebrating the legacy of our siblings by embodying their values and sharing their stories with others.

Sibling loss can also provide clarity on our life’s purpose. The jarring shock of losing a sibling can offer a profound reminder of how precious our time is. As a result, some people may decide to change their career path or reconsider their choices in life. They may choose to work in an area that they are passionate about, making a positive difference in people’s lives, as a tribute to their loved one who has passed away.


Losing a sibling can encourage us to cherish our relationships with family members and create meaningful connections with others. Whether finding comfort in their memories or following in our siblings’ footsteps by embracing their values and passions, sibling loss can ultimately teach us about the power of love and hope that emerges from the most profound sadness. Discovering constructive ways to overcome grief allows us to transform our loss into something positive.

These thoughts came about after having interviewed a recent guest for our Let’s Talk About Grief with Anne, Dr. Jennifer Kaplan Your can listen HERE

Details about Jeff’s Place are here as mentioned in the Podcast

Looking for support please reach out and connect with me

Avoiding Holiday Stress

Avoiding Holiday Stress

Avoiding Holiday Stress

Much of the stress and tension we experience during this time is a result of our expectations.  We do want to please everyone on our list and make the holidays memorable for all hence we can overextend ourselves to the point of exhaustion.

Regardless of whether you’re grieving a loss,  or not you’re possibly feeling the anxiety and stress of living in these pandemic times.

Many areas are opening up while others are closing down again.  We are continuing to live a roller coaster ride.  The everyday realities of our day to day lives are already stressful without adding on the holiday season.

The question is “how do we avoid this stress?” Before you begin your whirlwind of seasonal preparations, ask yourself what the aspects of each holiday are. 

There’s shopping for the perfect gift for everyone on our list.  Organizing and getting our homes ready for entertaining and being the perfect host. What about the parties we may be expected to attend? Our minds are working overtime while in reality, we want to remain calm. 

We have Hollywood and marketers to thank for helping to create these unrealistic expectations.

Sometimes it takes grieving for us to realize the pressure we put on ourselves to live up to what we believe “others” expect of us.

5 Ways to Simplify

Take time now to step back and decide what you want the holidays to be about.

  1. If you always host – decide if you need help and ask for it or
  2. Let everyone know, you’re not hosting this year and let someone else step up
  3. Simplify gift-giving – draw names instead of buying for everyone just because you always do!
  4. Chose which parties you feel you have the energy to attend. Speak to the host and if you’re grieving let them know it may get a bit much and you’ll simply leave.  Plan your exit strategy as this will help you feel more relaxed.
  5. If you’d prefer not to bother with any holiday festivities – then share your intention with your family. 
  6. Decide to give yourself a gift of your own company and book into a hotel, share your intention and be guilt-free about it.

Just for this year consider transforming your approach to your holiday celebrations instead of letting your expectation and Holywood perfection guilt you into doing more.

Your body and your bank balance will thank you for it!

Love, Light & Peace

Love, Light & Peace

Love, Light & Peace

It’s that time of year! You either love, hate or are indifferent to it. This is especially so if you’re grieving.

It’s is a harsh reminder of your loved ones who won’t be there celebrating with you. Your heart is heavy, your energy is low.  Instead of seeing colour and the lights around you, your world feels grey instead.  Perhaps you feel your light has dimmed for now.  Take heart there are other ways to view this time of year.

Take time out just for you to be with your feelings and emotions and remember why we celebrate.  Perhaps seeing your situation from a different perspective?

5 Mindset Shifts

  1. step into and feel the essence of the season – love & compassion, goodwill and peace
  2. let your heart be open and not closed down against further hurt – feel gratitude for having known them and take time to remember the ways they helped to give your life meaning
  3. find memories and stories tucked away in your mind of your loved one and share them with others. Talk to them and about them. Say their name.
  4. allow yourself to feel sad (don’t discount your emotions) list everything you miss about them and then check your gratitude list. 
  5. Laugh and cry, move around or shake/dance your emotions out.  The benefit is you’ll feel lighter afterward

For now, something to reflect on……

The holiday season began in early November with Divali – which is known as a series or row of lights, Hanukkah began at month’s end and is a Festival of lights. The Buddhists celebrate Bodhi day in early December, the day of the Buddha’s enlightenment. The Winter Solstice – the longest night of the year is next. Returning us slowly back to the light! Christians everywhere celebrate Christ’s birth which we celebrate with lights. They adorn some homes and gardens, on trees and lampost in some streets and of course indoors on our Christmas trees.

I think you’re beginning to see a picture here. Regardless of religion or culture, we all seem to have something in common and that’s our delight at seeing the world being adorned in light.  This fuels us and gives us hope.

I’m not sure about you but I know, each year I want to feel the warmth, love and connections that seem abundantly available this time of year.  Allow this to fill your heart.

To me, this is the essence of Christmas and this time of year.

Wishing you all a safe, healthy joy-filled holiday.

Please note if you’ve experienced a loss, do connect and know you don’t have to struggle alone. anne@understandinggrief.com


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