It’s not a flaw in someone’s character, it’s not a thing a person should feel guilty about (which they often do if they have many things in their life to be grateful for), and it’s often not something that needs medication as a ‘fix’.
Sadness is on the emotional spectrum like every other feeling. The trick is to learn how to move up or down that spectrum as required and often to learn to observe and accept a particular emotion as being ‘right for now’ without trying to judge it, change it or over think it.
From a very young age we are taught to associate certain feelings as being good or bad, right or wrong. So you might have been told that it’s good that you’re happy and bad that you’re sad. Or right to be grateful and wrong to be angry. As our experiences in life get wider and richer, that type of catagorising just doesn’t work for the complexities we start to experience.
Think of these situations and possible emotions:
- first love: happy, energised, confused, scared, jealous, elated, adored
- bullying partner: nervous, content, on edge, frustrated, angry, self critical, high, low, doubting, questioning
- high paid, unstimulating job: grateful, compromised, challenged, fearful (stay or go), stuck, glad (of the money & choices), stymied
So what can we do about feeling sad? Lots and lots, but here are a first few suggestions:
- Pay attention: what you think about expands. Pay attention to the thoughts that you’re thinking each part of the day and begin to notice which ones make you feel more uplifted and which ones contribute to you feel deflated. Actively choose the better feeling thoughts. This is a huge skill set – only practice will get results over time.
- Notice your diet: some people can have reactions to certain food groups. Processed sugar (in sweets, fizzy drinks, energy and chocolate bars) can give you a temporary energy high followed by a depressing sugar slump. However there are subtle allergies that our bodies might be reacting to from meats, gluten, dairy or even selected fruits or vegetables. Seek out a great nutritionist. And remember, the high from a night drinking can be paid back with an all-day low (feeling lost, sad, depressed or alone)
- Exercise often: 3-4 times per week minimum if at all possible. Raising your heart rate and releasing uplifting endorphins influences your mind towards positivity. It creates a sense of discipline and control, both of which are life an success affirming
- Edit your friendships: make an assessment of the 5 people you spend most time around. If they live life with traits you find admirable, stick with them; otherwise, dial down the time you spend with them and actively seek out inspiring, positive, encouraging relationships
- Actively up-skill your emotional resourcefulness: lots of adults are trying to achieve happiness in life with an emotional skill-set from their teenage years. Advanced life choices can require advanced communication and navigation skills to be successful. Seek out a mentor, coach or counsellor who has evidenced their results.