Rooted deeply within all of us is the desire to be happy. Our whole being opposes the state of being sad or dejected. The fact however is that everything in life exists along with its opposites.
We feel sad when we encounter loss or failure of some sort. Our degree of sadness may be mild or intensive depending on how strongly we identify with the loss at a personal level. Sometimes sadness wells up for no reason at all. The way we respond to sadness reveals our inner maturity and level of consciousness. You will find the below pointers helpful in dealing with feelings of sadness in a more wholesome and conscious manner.
1.) Don’t struggle with sadness
When you are sad it’s likely that there will be a lot of inner resistance to the state. Your mind associates sadness with doom and hence tries its best to get you out of the state as quickly as possible. But the more you fight with sadness the worse it becomes.
If you are feeling sad first let go of the need to struggle against this state. Try to reduce your mind activity and just be with the experience instead of fighting against it.
2.) Dissociate with thoughts for a while
This may seem very irrational or counter intuitive to you for this very reason it’s the most effective means to transcend the mind. Remember that the emotion of sadness within your body is fueled by the story or thoughts in your mind.
For a while just become an observer instead of identifying with the thoughts. You can do this by letting go of the need to give attention to your thoughts. You will feel a deep pull from the mind which urges you to associate. Ignore it and stay in your state of “no-argument” presence.
Thinking will not reduce your sadness but it will certainly fuel it. Negative emotions fuel negative thoughts and vice versa. So it’s a vicious cycle that you need to break by staying neutral to the thoughts till they lose their pulling power.
3.) Feel the emotion of sadness in your body
This will again seem very counter intuitive to you but do it anyway. Unless you fully live an emotion it will not leave you completely, in fact it will leave a residue behind which will flare up later.
To overcome sadness, you must experience its energy in your body. The mind will be opposed to the idea of getting in touch with the emotion of sadness in your body. To the mind sadness is almost an “untouchable” entity. The truth however is that sadness is just an emotion which seeks release and it can only be liberated by experiencing it fully.
Just stay silently present with your sadness. Don’t analyze it or think about it. Just feel the emotions surging through your body. It may cause some physical discomfort, there may be feelings of contraction and pressure but don’t run away from it. In the sheer act of being present with sadness, the emotional energy will slowly dissipate from your body leaving behind a feeling of lightness.
4.) Try to be in the lap of nature
The expanse and freshness of nature has a healing quality to it. When you feel sad just head for the nearest open space of nature you can find. Just sit, or stand, still for a moment looking around you. Observe the trees, the flowers, the birds and the swaying breeze.
The mind usually becomes noisier in closed surroundings. In the openness of nature it loses its momentum. The voices in your head will seem to dissipate after a while as you stay still in the presence of nature. You can get rid of sadness or any negative feelings just by spending something observing the nature without thinking.
5.) Watch something funny
It helps to change the mood by externally attuning to something that’s relaxed and funny. If you have a pet at home you can play around with it. Its antics will amuse you and change the pattern of thoughts in your mind. Animals in general have a relaxing effect due to their carefree and natural state of being.
Some funny movies or videos can also help change the energy in your body. The idea is not to escape sadness. If feelings of sadness return even after this break, then you must face it instead of trying to divert yourself again.
6.) Open your heart to someone close
It helps to share your emotions which someone who is close to you and won’t chide or ridicule your feelings. The last thing you want is someone down playing your emotions. So make sure the person you share your feelings with understands you at a heart to heart level.
Talking helps relieve the stress created by sadness. It’s also comforting to know that you are not alone. There also a good possibility that you might attain a new perspective on your life situation while you talk to this person.
7.) Know that everything passes away
One thing you can count on in life is that nothing stays around for long. Whatever be the cause of your sadness, you can be sure that it will pass away. So try to experience your sadness fully while it stays, it’s like being really hospitable to a guest which has come to visit. That does not mean that you think and lose yourself in your sadness. It just means don’t try to run away from it and feel its presence in your body.
8.) Don’t take any negative action
Any action that you take while in the grip of a negative emotion like sadness will only add to your misery. Getting drunk, taking drugs or doing some other self-destructive activity will leave you feeling weak and disempowered. Life throws challenges to deepen us and make us more mature. Learn to accept whatever arises unconditionally and face it as calmly as possible without the over involvement of thoughts.
Try to relax as much as you can, rest your mind, don’t over-analyze the situation and just let go till the emotions passes away. The more you surrender the faster the emotions will pass away, the more you resist the longer it stays.