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Exploring Our Emotions: Sadness

Let’s talk about sadness. We’ve been programmed to think that happiness should always be our ultimate goal – the end all, be all. If we experience sadness, we think we need to stop and just be happy. We believe that happiness is something to be controlled and something we can put on despite how we are actually feeling.


But, being sad and understanding our sadness and the role it plays in our lives is very important to gaining control of our emotional responses. Sadness is one of the basic emotions, and it is a very normal part of being human. However, because we have all been conditioned to believe that being sad is somehow negative, we aren’t always the best at identifying this emotion.


As we begin to notice our sadness, we need to acknowledge the feeling, understand where it is coming from, and allow ourselves to sit with the feeling. A great exercise to begin this process of learning how to master sadness is very simple: think back to the last moment you experienced sadness and write it down. What happened just before this moment? What were your immediate reactions? What did the sadness trigger in your thoughts? How did your body feel? Being able to qualify these reactions and answer these questions will help us understand our sadness. We can begin to sit with our sadness instead of running away from it.


By recognizing and healthily responding to sadness, we can begin to identify the contrast between happiness and sadness. We can greet our sadness, acknowledge and sit with it, and then move along. Understanding our emotions teaches us empathy, and the more empathy we have, the better our relationships with others and ourselves.

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