When we experience negative emotions like sadness, anger, or anxiety, the most natural human response is to pull away, escape, and avoid. We try to block them out with anything that feels safe or pleasurable. However, it doesn't make the painful emotions disappear forever. In fact, we may find ourselves trapped in cycles of addictive behaviors that keep these emotions at bay.
Sadness can also be a useful emotion. In a series of experiments, researchers found that sadness can improve our memory of details, interactions with other people, and motivation while also reducing our judgemental biases of others.
For your overall health and performance, it's crucial to overcome unpleasant feelings. However, there are variations in how people manage unpleasant feelings. Numerous studies have concentrated on how each person responds to unpleasant emotions differently, and it is believed that personality and emotion-regulating techniques are key to this process.
6 useful ways to fight sadness
Sadness can be the result of unwanted situations or your inability to attain certain things. You may not be able to meet your friends and family, be laid off from a job, or have worries about your health, finances, and education. Such experiences and many more can make us feel sad and frustrated.
However, here are some ways to make yourself feel better:
The first step to feeling better is determining why you are feeling sad. If you need some help determining the cause, you can try writing about your feelings or talking to someone. We often decide to push these concerns under the carpet and go about our daily lives. You may end up finding a way to fix whatever is causing your sadness, but even just exploring your feelings can help you feel better.
In therapy, the mental health professional will help you process the emotion by allowing the emotion to be there, turning towards it, and feeling it, while also soothing yourself. You will be taught skills or be equipped with techniques that will help you tolerate sadness or distress. This enables the emotion to take its natural course and wash over you. Emotions come in waves, so we know that they will increase in intensity, peak, and then come back down again.
3) Making plans to feel better
You can fight depression in a number of ways, and creating a "happiness plan" can be one of them. You may, for instance, try a different sadness-busting activity every day. The most important thing is to find a strategy that works for you to make sure you act in ways that improve your mood.
4) Assess expectation and motivation
Assess your expectations of what life should be like – often they may be too high or unrealistic. Sometimes we want to make changes that might be more difficult than we estimated, depending on the situation. Maybe your motivation is rooted in fear or regret of what will happen if you don't make the changes. Experts say this is the least-effective way to make long-term changes.
Instead, your motivation should come from positive thinking. Your goals can also be too broad, or you may have too many of them, making them difficult to reach. It helps to have a few specific goals and an idea of the small steps it will take to reach them. For instance, your goal for whenever you feel sad could be to write in your journal about your feelings before watching your favorite show.
Mindfulness is not as complicated as it is shown in the media. It can be a simple activity that you incorporate into your everyday life. For instance, think about the present moment when you engage in an enjoyable activity. Keep track of how each component of an activity makes you feel satisfied, hopeful, joyful, less stressed, etc. This can be as simple as cooking a dinner while remaining present and appreciating each stage of the process.
It's important to remember that sadness is temporary and we all feel sad once in a while. But if you have been feeling like this for more than two weeks and feel it is is disrupting your daily functioning, you should see a doctor to determine if you are experiencing depression. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for tackling sadness, so make sure you get the help you need!