We live in a society where it is important to fit in. Leading a positive and happy life is highly valued and feeling sad or “blue” about life is not so valued. As a result, we are constantly trying to always be positive and happy. In our minds there is no room for sadness.
This is not a realistic way to live life.
Telling yourself to be positive is no help to you because your sadness when it hits you has a life of its own. Keeping up an impression of positivity and happiness when you are feeling sad is draining and hard work. If anything this charade will intensify your feelings of sadness, and you will struggle to find the pathway that will lead you to living a happy, resilient life.
I believe that sadness is a base line feeling that feeds into all of our other feelings such as anger, frustration and fear. The deeper we bury the feeling of sadness the harder it is to feel happy.
“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.” Carl Jung
The 5 key strategies below are practical ways for you to successfully manage sadness in your life so you that can have a life that flows with happiness.
1. Recognize Your Type of Sadness
There are 3 types of sadness that most of us fall into:
This is a passing mood that may last anything from a day to a week. Sometimes there is a reason for this feeling but sometimes there is not.
Generally lack of sleep, no physical activity and excess stress are associated with this sadness.
The best approach to dealing with this sadness is to lower your stress level by having a few nights of great sleep, getting active by doing some exercise and looking at ways to break up your routine.
Pampering your self, going for a massage, reducing alcohol intake and eating healthy food are effective ways to manage short-term sadness.
This feeling of sadness has been activated as a result of a traumatic event that has happened to you, such as the death of someone close to you, losing your job, divorce or financial ruin.
This feeling of sadness can make you feel helpless and vulnerable and it does not go away overnight. The key to managing trigger sadness is looking for ways to support you to process these feelings and not bury them.
One way for you to manage these deep feelings of sadness is to talk about and share your feelings with someone who can console you, support you and counsel you. Having a supportive network of family and friends is key to you managing your feelings of sadness.
It is also wise to get professional support such as a councillor or therapist to guide you through practical steps to processing your feelings of sadness.
Along with these key actions and actively working on reducing the general stress levels in your life, you will find that after a period of 3 to 6 months, you will be back at a baseline feeling of happiness. This is where you start to rebuild and strengthen your foundations in life – your physical, spiritual and emotional wellbeing.
If you feel sad, hopeless, helpless, unable to eat or sleep and have no energy for a period of time of more than one month or two, then you are likely to feeling depressed.
Depression is usually set off as a result of event that usually you would cope with. However, for some reason, your coping mechanism has broken down.
Depression is complicated and it can vary from person to person. If you have these feelings, then it is wise that you seek the advice of a doctor.
The strategies presented in the rest of this article can along with specialist support enable you to live a happy fulfilled life.