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« 12. Emotional resilience: Tapping for grief relief »

Written by Rachel Green. Director, The Emotional Intelligence Institute. Author of "How to develop emotional resilience and manage your emotions".

Emotional intelligence involves the full range of emotions including grief. Grief can be crippling. Huge waves of agonising grief may wash over you and grab you at unexpected times after the death of a loved one. It can make you feel dreadful. At other times you may endure a deep sense of loss or loneliness.

Emotional resilience is about being able to journey through the tragedies of life, being able to give them the emotional acknowledgement and respect they deserve, and then being able to return to a more positive place in your life.

How quickly you can do this is influenced by many factors including your emotional intelligence, your emotional resilience, your support network and your ability to use a variety of emotional intelligence techniques that can ease the emotional pain.

One possible form of grief relief is the use of Simple Energy Techniques (SET) involving tapping on acupressure points. Tapping can shift the feelings in the body associated with grief and loss.

This article is based on my overall understanding and application of SET as developed by Steve Wells and David Lake. It is combined with my own personal experience in using SET to manage grief following the death of my mother. I hope it helps you too (please note, I am not a grief expert).

Here are five steps I used when tapping to help me reduce my grief:

Tapping step 1: Identify your feeling(s)

Think about the situation or thought that is making you grieve and bring up the associated feelings. If thinking about your beloved is making you feel anxious, lonely, empty, angry or at a loss, then that's what you think about and the feelings you focus on.

Tapping step 2. Rate your grief level

Before you start tapping rate the level of emotion, e.g. the amount and intensity of the grief, loss or loneliness you feel from 1 (low) – 10 (high).

Tapping step 3. How and where to tap

 Tap using two fingers on a series of acupressure points. Tap hard enough so that you can feel it but not hard enough to hurt. I personally start tapping on the very top of my head but some people feel too silly to do this, so you might prefer to start with the eyebrow.

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Here is a tapping sequence based on SET that can be used to help reduce the intensity of the emotions:

  • Side of the eyebrow near the bridge of the nose.
  • Side of the eye at the end of your eyebrow.
  • Under the eye on top of the cheekbone.
  • Under the nose in the midline.
  • On the chin in the midline.
  • Under the collarbone slightly to the left or right.
  • Under the armpit at the side of the chest, about where the bra line is for women, or for men, where their nipple line is.
  • On the side of the thumb, level with the base of the nail.
  • On the side of each finger, level with the base of the nail.
  • On the side of the hand, commonly called the "Karate chop".
  • On the wrist both top and bottom.

See our video below for clarification of these points.

Tapping step 4. Re-rate your feeling/grief

Once you have done one or two rounds of tapping, take a breath. Then re-rate the grief or other feeling from 1-10. Pay attention to the feelings in the body, have they changed? In many people they find the number has lowered and the grief is not as strong.

Tapping step 5. Keep on tapping on different aspects

If you haven't yet got this aspect of your grief down to a rating of 1 or 2, keep on tapping on the situation that concerns you until it doesn't stir you up in the body and no longer causes the grief.

When my mother died recently I experienced grief that seemed relentless. However, I found that I was able to use simple energy techniques to bring me grief relief.

I had to tap on different aspects of my grief to gain relief, and I'd do these one at a time, as they arose.

  • I found for example that I felt distraught at the way my mother died.
  • At another time I simply missed her dreadfully.
  • At another time the fact that I wasn't with her when she died distressed me.
  • Then I felt annoyed at the people who kept saying, "How old was she?" and then, "She had a good innings then", as if I wasn't supposed to feel grief.
  • I also got upset at how thin she was before she died.

I found that I needed to tap on these and many other different aspects. Each time I did a tapping session on a particular aspect I found that aspect of grief would ease. Once this happened I would find grief relief, even if only for a day or two.

Then another aspect would arise and I'd tap on that. I also found I cried a lot during the tapping and I just kept tapping through the crying until it passed and peace settled back in my body. It most definitely helped me through the difficulties I experienced and I'm truly grateful for the calm I gained.

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Emotional resilience premium bundle $317 $189. Add to Cart

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Summary on grief relief and emotional resilience

How can tapping produce grief relief? It can seem impossible, can't it? Well the good news is that being cynical about tapping is OK, it can still work!

I was certainly very cynical at first and I'm still surprised at the results. But I can't deny that people can have a profound reduction in their emotions by using SET. It has happened to me.

Seeing a good SET practitioner can help you get the best out of the technique. Alternatively, if your grief is overwhelming, please consider seeing a grief counsellor or other helping professional.


If you would like to see an explanation along with a demonstration of the SET tapping points, watch our YouTube video:

How high is your emotional intelligence & emotional resilience?

There is so much that you can do to develop your emotional resilience and the E.I. Institute has a number of options to help you.

Worried that you will never get over your grief and it will overwhem you? That you don't have enough emotional resilience and need to develop your emotional intelligence more? Our unique, practical, 5-star emotional intelligence coaching package is available for you and includes the opportunity to have your emotional intelligence assessed. Boost your resilience now. Find out more here.