Emotions are a part of everyday life. They help define where we are from moment to moment. Sadness is one of our four primary emotions. In some cases, prolonged sadness can lead to depression and other mental disorders.
We must understand that sadness is a natural part of our emotional journey. In fact, being sad every once in a while is healthy. While you should do your best to be happy, experiencing sadness could help create the emotional balance we need.
The Importance of Sadness
When we think of sadness, we feel about being broken-hearted by a relationship, the loss of a loved one, or a disappointing experience. It’s normal to have these feelings. The stigma behind being down, however, discourages people from healthily overcoming sadness.
Everywhere we turn, someone’s telling us to “cheer up.” To appear happy, people sweep their problems under the rug. Sadness takes time to process, so while it may disappear for a short time, those emotions will return later and overwhelm you. This can result in negative self-soothing techniques, including self-harm, overeating, and drug abuse.
We have four main feelings that regulate our emotional cycles: fear, anger, happiness, and sadness. Just as happiness is an indication of well-being, sadness acts as an emotional alarm system that you aren’t comfortable in the position you’re in.
It may seem contrary to being happy, but the key is to accept sadness. It’s not healthy to feel sad for long-term. But it’s a great place to start your self-reflection process. Essentially, happiness is the proper conquering of sad emotions.
Coping With Sadness
There are several ways to overcome sadness. Getting into the habit of using your emotions to your benefit will allow you to accept sadness as part of the journey and not the destination.
1. Acknowledge what makes you sad
When we decide to ignore our sadness, it works for a little while, but eventually, it overtakes us. This is also tricky because ignoring sadness means ignoring our body, giving us signals of our triggers. By acknowledging what makes us sad, we can find solutions for avoiding those triggers.
Even when we can’t avoid the things that trigger sadness within us, it’s healthy to acknowledge the emotion. This allows you to question how to find a healthy solution to the problem instead of wallowing in sadness. Even though society tells us to focus on happiness, it’s important to focus on getting through sadness to happiness.
2. Improve your self-care techniques
Sometimes, your sadness isn’t triggered by your environment. Sadness can come from neglecting yourself. For instance, when you ignore your nutrition, you become overweight. Having excess weight makes you lose confidence and may make it challenging to find a mate. In severe cases, neglect leads to mental and emotional disorders like Diogenes Syndrome.
To avoid these consequences, practice self -care whenever possible. Whether that means getting extra sleep, meditating, or eating right, caring for yourself boosts self-esteem and hinders sadness. Make a habit of practicing the GREAT DREAM self-care acronym. Self-care also involves reaching out to others. Even if you can’t afford therapy, reach out to someone you trust to help get you through a hard time.
3. Embrace the benefits of sadness
Even though people associate sadness with darker, gloomy feelings, there are benefits of being sad. For instance, a field study showed that sadness improves memory. People remembered their surroundings and details than when they were in a happier state. In addition to improved memory, being sad helps make better decisions.
When we’re in a good mood, we often replace proper judgment with optimism. It isn’t until we get an undesired outcome that we decide to base our decisions on logic. Going through sad times allows you to gain the necessary wisdom to avoid triggers in the future.
One of the greatest benefits of sadness is motivation. When we’re happy, we enjoy life but don’t have to make much effort to maintain those feelings. However, when we’re in a negative mood, we strive to get back to a healthy emotional state. Being sad shows us how strong we are during our journey back to happiness.
Happiness is essential, but so is sadness. Instead of ignoring this emotion, we should strive to listen to the message behind it. Learning to accept sadness allows us to find out what we truly need to be happy.