Sadness and grief, like joy or anger, are among the most basic and central human emotions. Therefore, sadness is a natural reaction to an event such as a disappointment or loss. We feel sad when a partnership falls apart, when we fail at something, when those around us reject us, or when we lose our job. Or perhaps sadness arises because of illness or old age or the loss of a physical ability like walking. Being sad at such times is a sign of mental health. This is because sadness is part of a processing process and a first step on the road to acceptance and a new beginning. However, it can also be caused by a mental or physical illness, such as depression, Alzheimer’s disease, or Parkinson’s disease. When sadness occurs for no apparent reason or lasts for a long time, it may have a cause that needs therapeutic treatment, such as depression. If you perceive sadness or grief with the awareness that it is caused by a specific reason, you can treat it well yourself and are not at its mercy. You can deal with it and bring about a change.
What can I do myself?
“Do not be sad!”. “Look forward!”. “Being sad will not do you any good!”. Does this sound familiar? It does! Who has not heard at least one of these phrases? Even though they are well-intentioned, they do not do us much good. Instead, there are a few things you can do about it:
Fight sadness with sadness
A little touch of sadness can help you find new strength. A small dose of it is not toxic. It helps you because it helps you get back up and continue your path with renewed energy, organize your thoughts, refocus, and become more confident. Sadness is a natural emotion of your soul. Allow and accept this feeling. After that, you can become happy again. Sadness should not be suppressed because that creates mental blocks. It is more helpful to find a way to overcome sadness. Many people are afraid of emotional pain, but the unpleasant feelings help you to know yourself better. The better you learn to deal with them, the more confident and free you will become.
Consciously feel the feeling of sadness and let it go
Take a piece of paper or your journal, a pen and retreat to a quiet place. Light a candle and get comfortable. Allow and feel the feeling of sadness inside you. Imagine a scale from 1 (weak) to 10 (very strong). How strong is your sadness? Write down the score. It’s okay if tears flow. Allow your feelings to flow freely. When the tears subside, ask yourself the following questions and write the answer on your piece of paper or in your journal: What color is your sadness? Does the color change from dark to light? How likely am I to get over the sadness quickly? Can I accept this feeling of sadness now? Yes or no, either answer is fine. Can I let go of this feeling of sadness now? Again, yes or no, both answers are fine. If the last answer was “no”, ask yourself when would be a good time to let go of the sadness. Take a few deep breaths after asking these questions. Then imagine the scale of 1 to 10 again. What is the value of your feeling of sadness now? Is it less or more? Either is fine. Repeat these questions until you reach a score of 3 or less. Do this exercise at least once a day.
Express your sadness creatively
Turn sadness into creativity and use your feelings to recreate your inner world. Express your feelings by painting or writing a story, poem or song lyrics. You can also dance or sing your favorite song and dance or sing your feelings. This way you can express not only your feelings but also what you want to change. In this way, you are making room for something new. Be creative and allow yourself to connect with that deep natural quality.
Replace your thoughts
If you catch yourself brooding, try to stop it. A lot of brooding makes you unhappy, because you are too much in your head and lose presence in the moment. Instead, try to take things as they are. When you catch yourself ruminating, just start noticing and observing your thoughts. Go to a quiet place, sit or lie down and notice what is there. What wants to be seen. What wants to be heard. In this way, you can consciously begin to detach from them by letting them pass. Imagine your thoughts flying away on a cloud and gently say goodbye to them. Or replace negative thoughts with positive ones to stop the negative thought carousel.
Once a day, put yourself in a state of gratitude. Even a bad day has its good moments, even if it is just the fact that things did not get worse. Take time once a day to be aware of all the good things in your life, such as before you go to bed, and be grateful. Find at least five things you are grateful for that day. These can be things as small as the ability to see and feel the beauty of the world, or the ability to hear. Not only will this exercise help you in the short term, but it will also positively change your worldview in the long term.
Exercise your body and your soul
Exercise is not only healthy for the body. However, many people confuse exercise with sport. The most important thing is that you enjoy moving your body. There are many ways you can move your body: Yoga, Qi Gong, Pilates, walking, jogging and more. Anything that is physical has a direct impact on the soul. Mindful movement can improve the acute state of deep sadness, despair and depressed mood and return us to a healthier relationship with reality. Pick one movement and do it for at least 20 minutes a day. The more regular, the more lasting the results.
Harness the healing power of nature
Nature, like the forest or mountains, can be an incredible power place and a source of self-healing. You get breathing therapy, aroma therapy, color therapy, and light therapy all at once. Plus, you’ll be connected to pure nature in silence, so you can return to an inner state of calm and peace to get back to basics, reconnect with yourself, and rejuvenate. Breathe deeply, inhale new energy, and with each exhale, let go of anything that makes you sad. Let it flow out of your body and leave it to Mother Nature.
Make decisions and take action
Replace hope with conscious choices. Staying in a state of hope is indeed better than getting lost in sadness. However, to bring about lasting change, it is important to make choices and take concrete action. Hope alone will not bring about change. So, at some point, decide that you want to overcome sadness and do something about it. Start with whatever comes to mind without brooding. By just trying it out, you will feel if it feels right. By just starting, you will start a momentum that will lead you out of sadness.
Maintain social contacts
Interpersonal relationships protect you from negative thoughts and feelings. Also, people who socialize have less opportunity to ruminate. A good conversation with friends also opens your heart and brings back the lightness, especially when you feel understood, supported and held. Do not hide your feelings and talk to someone close to you and spend quality time together.
It is important that you figure out what is making you sad. This way, you can not only make sense of your feelings, but also learn from them and make a change. Even though it hurts, it is important not to suppress your feelings but to observe them, accept and allow them and let go of what is keeping you in the state of sadness.
Would you like to learn how to process your emotions and transform sadness into a self-discovery journey? See our experiences.