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.
2. Identify What Happiness Means To You
“Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.” — Mary Anne Roadacher-Hershey
Happiness is the only cure for sadness. There is no other cure that works better. It sounds so easy to say however it is not so easy to achieve.
At its most basic level, happiness is a feeling that comes about as a result of us doing things in our lives that we love to do.
So if we are feeling sad, then we should take action and activities that brings a joy such as catching up with a friend, going for a walk, getting a massage, goimg out to dinner, going to the movies, or hiding away to read a good book. The list of activities that we can do that make us feel happy is extensive.
The first thing you need to do is identify what activities that you do or would like to do that bring you joy and make you feel happy.
When we feel sad, we are more likely to want to withdraw and not do anything. We tend to disengage from everything that is going on around us.
The only way we can start to feel happy is to take action and start doing things.
We can never avoid the feelings of sadness, hurt or disappointment. However, we can deal with them in constructive ways that will help avoid excessive suffering.
It is so important to know what happiness means to you because when you know this, you will have meaning and purpose in your life. This is what brings to your life the feeling of happiness and the experiences of joy.
3. Commit To Practising These 3 Actions of Happiness Daily
When you are feeling sad, you are more likely to want to avoid people.
These 3 actions of happiness are very practical ways in which you take action to move away from feeling sad to feeling more joyous. All it takes is for you make a choice, take action and commit to consistently doing these actions of happiness.
Expressing gratitude on a daily basis and actively appreciating those people in your life who are important to you are very simple yet, powerful actions that will take you from a place of sadness to a more joyful place.
Accepting the things that you cannot change and acting on the things that you can change are key to you finding joy and peace in your life. Once you acknowledge the reality of your situation, you can then plan to take effective action that will enable you to move forward to a better place in your life.
Acts of Kindness
When you are feeling sad, your focus is very inward at self. Helping others is a great way to feel better about you. It is often the spontaneous acts of kindness that give us the most joy.
The more we help others and the more we interact and engage with people the less we tend to withdraw and focus inwardly on our feelings of sadness.
Happiness and joy are external feelings that need to be shared with others and an act of kindness is an effective way for us to share and feel joy with others.
4. Commit To Cultivating Your Personal Wellbeing
When you accept sadness in your life, your personal wellbeing will suffer.
Happiness is more than a feeling; it is a longer lasting state that is called your wellbeing. Your wellbeing encompasses your state of your mind, body and emotions.
When all is in balance, then you will experience contentment and peace of mind. You are more emotionally agile and physically resilient; and therefore more effective at managing the challenges that life will throw at you.
Commit to making your wellbeing your top priority in your life. When you do this you become more effective at managing sadness in your life.
5. Eliminate The Phrase – I Will Be Happy When…..
Sudden happiness does not exist and the phrase “I will be happy when…” indicates that happiness comes when you get what it is you believe will make you happy.
Many people think that if they win the Lottery, then they will be happy – this is not true. In a consumer driven society of today, it is easy to fall into the trap of comparing your happiness to the material gains and success of others.
Be careful that you don’t equate happiness with momentary pleasure because if you do, you will eventually feel conflicted and discontent. It is these feelings will take you to a place of sadness.
Focus on looking for ways where you create a life where happiness is a feeling that you have total responsibility for – no one else, just you.
When you have created a life where you have attained this, then the phrase “I will be happy when…” is eliminated from your vocabulary.
How sad we feel and the reasons why we feel sad is different for everyone. The one thing we all have in common however, is that it is impossible for us to go from feeling sad to feeling happy instantly.
The above five strategies are practical ways that support you to manage your feelings of sadness where you are in control and empowered to choose to how you want to feel and how you want to live your life. Let’s hope you choose – happiness.
“If you look to others for fulfilment, you will never be fulfilled. If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself. Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the world belongs to you.” — Lao Tzu
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