Sadness is a feeling of unhappiness resulting from the experience of pain or loss. It is something we each go through at one time or another in our lives and it could emerge from personal or situational factors, or a combination of both. The reasons for this sadness could range from anywhere between losing something of value, to failure to achieve desired outcome, to unfulfilled goals in specific areas of life. There are many different types of losses such as loss of health, hope, wealth, companionship or safety, and each of these could lead to feelings of sadness. The experience of sadness can last from a few minutes, to days, weeks, or months, depending on the various causes and how they affect us. The degree and depth of our sadness can also depend on a combined effect of our personality and other situational variables.
Sadness can have the following manifestations in our body, mind, and behavior:
- Physical: Changes in blood pressure and heart rate, frequent headaches, low immunity, lack of appetite or overeating, eating disorders, insomnia (sleeplessness) or hypersomnia (excessive sleepiness), feeling tired all the time, weight changes, unexplained aches and pains
- Emotional/psychological: Excessive crying, feelings of hopelessness, loss of interest, lack of motivation, poor concentration and attention, strong feelings of worthlessness, feelings of suicide
- Behavioral: Irritability, aggression, bouts of anger, inability to perform daily activities, substance abuse, self-harm
The degree of sadness is something that can vary from one person to another. Some of us may find that we are able to do things to help ourselves feel better, while others may feel progressively deeper sadness. Sometimes, sadness when not dealt with can take deep root and may require counseling. Reaching out to Inspire’s free email and telephone-based counseling services can be of great help towards this end.
Below is a list of a few things we can do for ourselves to feel better. However, if the feeling of sadness is more severe or prolonged, professional help may be necessary.
- Exercise: Many studies have proved that when we exercise our bodies release endorphins or ‘happy’ hormones. This can help us in the process of fighting sadness. Exercising can also help with improving focus and creating new goals.
- Meditation and yoga: Both of these methods have been known to lessen the feeling of stress and sadness. It may be a good idea to join group yoga classes to feel motivated to go every day.
- Acknowledgement and acceptance: Acknowledging our experience of sadness can often be the first step towards feeling better. It can also be helpful to try having a non-judgmental acceptance of both, the challenges of life as well as, our reactions to them. Acceptance can bring with it a feeling of empowerment and can give us the strength to begin afresh.
- Meeting friends and interacting with the outside world: The experience of sadness can reduce our motivation to leave the house. However, sometimes interacting with friends and acquaintances can really help lift our mood.
- Finding ways to express sadness: Certain practices like writing a journal, drawing, painting, dancing or using any other form or art for creative expression can often offer some relief in the experience of sadness. Art forms are not just good outlets for pent up feelings but are also known to be extremely therapeutic.
Sadness is a normal emotional response and there is nothing wrong with feeling this way. However, it is very important to recognize the extent of our sadness, and if this feeling does not get any better despite our efforts, it is important to seek help. Reaching out to Inspire can certainly be one such avenue of help.