How to Grieve and Move On

Three Methods:Mourning the Death of a Loved OneCoping With a BreakupFocusing on Your Mental Health

Grief is an emotion that most people will have to cope with during their lives. Everyone experiences grief differently, and it can be caused by a wide array of experiences. Maybe you are grieving the death of a loved one. Or maybe you are coping with the end of a relationship, which can also cause grief. Both situations are hard to cope with. However, there are constructive and positive ways to grieve. There are several steps you can take to learn to grieve and move on.

Method 1
Mourning the Death of a Loved One

  1. Image titled Grieve and Move On Step 1
    Acknowledge your loss. Losing a family member or friend is one of the most difficult things you will ever go through. The mourning process can be long and intense. It is important to allow yourself the time and space necessary to grieve. You need to recognize that you have suffered a powerful loss.[1]
    • Don't try to immediately move on. In order to heal, you should allow yourself to experience the range of emotions that go along with a loss.
    • Acknowledge that you have lost someone important. It's fine to say to yourself that you've lost your sister and your life is going to take another course.
    • Give yourself time to figure out how your life will change. It will take a while to adjust to your new normal.
  2. Image titled Grieve and Move On Step 2
    Learn about the stages of grief. Everyone grieves differently. But there are some stages of grief that most people go through. Learning about the process can help you realize that what you are experiencing is normal.[2]
    • Denial is the first stage. You might experience this situation cannot be real.
    • Many people move from denial to anger. You may ask yourself whom you could blame. Bargaining is the next stage, in which you might often think that you can stop this event to happen when you make a change.
    • It is common to move from bargaining to depression. Typically, this stage can last for a while.
    • Finally, acceptance is the last stage of the process. That doesn't mean that you won't be sad anymore, but that you have reached some level of peace.
    • Remember that everyone experiences these stages differently. You might not go through each step, or you may experience them in a different order. The key is just to acknowledge where you are in the process.
  3. Image titled Grieve and Move On Step 3
    Find a support system. Grieving can be an intensely personal process. After all, you are the only one who truly knows what you have lost. However, it is important not to completely isolate yourself during the grieving process.[3]
    • Reach out to others who knew your loved one. It can be a great comfort to be around others who loved the departed.
    • If you lost a close friend, connect with others who considered that person a friend. If you find yourself feeling sad, pick up the phone and ask this friend if he wouldn't mind talking about your loss.
    • Consider joining a support group. Most hospitals and community centers offer a wide variety of these types of organization.
    • Ask your doctor for a recommendation. For example, if you have lost a child, ask if there are local groups for grieving parents.
  4. Image titled Grieve and Move On Step 4
    Take care of yourself. When you are grieving, it can be difficult to focus on day to day tasks. However, it is really important that you remember to keep yourself physically healthy. You won't be able to heal emotionally if you aren't taking care of your whole self.[4]
    • Take a shower and get dressed. On the days when you feel like you can't cope, sometimes going through the motions of regular life can help you feel like you can manage.
    • Get some exercise. Physical activity produces endorphin, which can elevate your mood. Go for a walk or take a yoga class.
    • Eat well. It can be easy to forget to care for yourself when you're sad. But you will feel mentally and physically better if you eat properly. Try a hearty bowl of your favorite soup.
  5. Image titled Grieve and Move On Step 5
    Live your life. One of the most important pieces of moving forward is to remember to keep living your life. This means continuing day to day activities, like going to work. It also means continuing to celebrate milestones, such as holidays and birthdays.[5]
    • It can be easy to resist moving on when you are grieving. And that's fine, you don't have to move on immediately.
    • You should, however, try to find activities that you still enjoy. If you've always loved reading, try picking up a book.
    • Maybe you recently lost your brother. If the two of you enjoyed watching baseball together, it might be difficult for you to still enjoy that activity. But when you feel ready, try cheering for your brother's favorite team in his honor.
  6. Image titled Grieve and Move On Step 6
    Celebrate your loved one. Thinking happy thoughts of your lost loved one can help you heal. Don't be afraid to remember that person. You also don't need to avoid talking about them.[6]
    • Acknowledge special occasions. For example, if you lost a spouse, cook his favorite meal to mark your anniversary.
    • Do something to honor your friend. If she was an animal lover, consider making a donation in her name to the local humane society.
    • Celebrating your lost family member or friend can help you feel connected to that person. It's also a great reminder of the good times that you had together.

Method 2
Coping With a Breakup

  1. Image titled Grieve and Move On Step 7
    Allow yourself to be emotional. You don't have to lose someone to death in order to grieve. The ending of a significant relationship is another common reason to experience grief. If you are going through a divorce, for example, you should expect to go through a similar type of grieving process.[7]
    • Understand that it is normal to feel a wide range of emotions. Typical emotions at the end of a relationship include anger, sadness, denial, and loneliness.
    • If you are going through a break-up, give yourself permission to feel. Be aware that it can take a while to process your emotions.
    • Know that you will have good days and less pleasant ones. If you suddenly come across a shirt that your ex left behind, it's fine to feel thrown off course.
  2. Image titled Grieve and Move On Step 8
    Plan for the future. While you process your emotions, you can begin to move on. Spend some time thinking about the future. You can use the end of relationship as a starting point for a new phase of your life.[8]
    • Think about your priorities. Have you always wanted to travel more? This could be a good opportunity to do that.
    • Focus on the positive parts of being independent. Now that you no longer have to spend the holidays with your in laws, you could finally take that trip to Europe with your best friend.
    • Spend some time writing down your goals. Where do you want to be in a year? In five years? Use some of your new found free time to make some plans.
  3. Image titled Grieve and Move On Step 9
    Lean on friends and family. When a relationship ends, you might feel very lonely. Make sure to spend plenty of quality time with your friends and family. Everyone needs a support system to make the grieving process bearable.[9]
    • Be open about your needs. Tell your friend that you are going through a rough time. that you may not be a lot of fun right now, but you like to spend some time with him.
    • Schedule plans in advance. Having something on the calendar will give you something to look forward to. Maybe you could schedule a regular Sunday brunch.
    • Talk to your family. Sometimes just talking about your feelings can help you feel better. Ask your sister if she minds being a shoulder to lean on.
  4. Image titled Grieve and Move On Step 10
    Boost your confidence. It can be easy to feel down on yourself after a relationship ends. You might wonder what you could have done differently, or have bad thoughts about yourself. To help yourself move on, spend some time working on increasing your confidence.[10]
    • Make positive affirmations. Look at yourself in the mirror and say something nice, it could be that you are a kindhearted person.
    • Try a new activity. Learning a new skill is a great way to feel more confident. Have you always wanted to run a 5k? Now is the time to do it.
    • Change your look. A new hairstyle or shirt can brighten your mood and make you feel great about yourself.
  5. Image titled Grieve and Move On Step 11
    Enjoy something each day. When you are grieving, it might be a while before you feel like your normal self. It can be difficult to look on the bright side of the situation. But if you can take small pleasure in aspects of everyday life, you will eventually feel better.[11]
    • Take time to smell the coffee--literally. Use your senses to help you find enjoyment in small things. Smell your coffee and enjoy the way it tastes.
    • Learn to appreciate your surroundings. Maybe you notice a beautiful sunset on the way home from work. Take a minute to enjoy it.
    • Don't forget to laugh. You're going through a hard time, but try not to let that ruin your whole day. If you see something funny on the internet, it's fine to giggle at the sneezing panda bear.

Method 3
Focusing on Your Mental Health

  1. Image titled Grieve and Move On Step 12
    Plan ahead for triggers. When you are grieving, you are bound to have a lot of memories of what you have lost. You can protect yourself by knowing what might cause you to become emotional. Once you recognize triggers, you can make a plan about how to most effectively cope with them.[12]
    • Maybe you lost your best friend. You can likely anticipate that her birthday will be a rough day for you.
    • Anticipate your moods and plan accordingly. Maybe you can plan to work from home that day so that no one will notice if you cry.
    • It's fine to have triggers. It's normal that when you are going through a divorce and hear your wedding song to feel a lot of emotions. Learn to acknowledge these emotions and move on.
  2. Image titled Grieve and Move On Step 13
    Express your emotions properly. Moving on doesn't mean that you have to stop feeling. You simply have to find new ways to channel your emotions. Don't repress your emotions, just re-purpose them.[13]
    • Are you angry at your ex? Find a good way to channel that anger. This might be a great time to try that popular kickboxing class at your gym.
    • Try art therapy. The act of creating something can be a very therapeutic way to deal with what you've lost. Look into taking a painting class at your local community college.
    • Getting in touch with your emotions can help you relate to others. Use your own experience with grieving to help you be a better listener to your friends and family.
  3. Image titled Grieve and Move On Step 14
    Help others. As you go through the grieving process, you will likely learn a lot. For example, maybe you'll have a good understanding of what it feels like to lose a parent. Consider using your experience to help others.[14]
    • Ask local support groups if they need volunteer speakers. Your words could help someone else heal.
    • Make some donations. It can be difficult to part with a loved one's belongings. But when you feel up to it, try donating some clothing to a worthy charity. Just remember to keep some items that you will treasure.
  4. Image titled Grieve and Move On Step 15
    Be patient. Grieving takes time. The process of moving is quite long too. Remember that every individual experience is different.[15]
    • There is no magic number for the amount of weeks, months, or years it will take to feel "normal". Be patient with yourself.
    • Take time to process your emotions. Each part of the healing process is significant in its own way.


  • Try not to rush. Take your time. Only you can make yourself happy and feel happy and complete.Don't let anyone tell you how to feel.
  • Not all solutions work for everyone. Try several coping methods to figure out what works best for you.

Article Info

Categories: Coping with Loss | Managing Sadness and Nostalgia