Seven. Structure

Next Pillar

What Helps

Although allowing flexibility within it – too much controlling behaviour can be counterproductive

Our habitual way of organising:

We will all have our habitual ways of organising ourselves: there is always a broad range from some people who are extremely habitual and organised, to others at the other end of the spectrum who rarely do anything habitually, and organise themselves more spontaneously - and of course everyone in between.

That inbuilt way of self-organisation is part of us, my suggestion is that however we are instinctively, that when we are grieving or going through a life change it can help us to work on developing a pillar of structure which helps hold us steady when we feel so vulnerable.

Having the structure in place helps protect against the shall I - shan’t I? - I should but I can’t face it questions that can whirlwind round your head, and you can end up feeling worse. 

It is well evidenced that in regularly developing these behaviours they support your internal system, so having an external system to help ensure you make them happen, is very helpful. 

Simple Plan

Having a simple plan that you more or less stick to regularly is extremely helpful in containing physically the emotional turmoil.

If we develop good habits for example:

  • Exercise first thing
  • Some work or chores
  • Time to remember the person who has died
  • Actively choosing to do soothing calming things - like buying nice flowers, having a massage, cooking nice food, watching box sets, watching sport, doing a cross word, listening to music, reading (although for some it takes a long time before they can concentrate on reading)
  • Regular good sleeping habits

Developing a structure of good habits has the multiplier effect, the more we do them, the better we feel. It takes about six weeks to develop a good habit that it becomes so habitual, we do it, without thinking about it.


Focusing is a well researched practice by Eugene Gendlin which can let us 'pause the on-going situation and find new possibilities for carrying forward'.