What can you do when sad thoughts are weighing you down and making it difficult to take care of your responsibilities? Sorrow is a part of life, but there are ways to build your resilience.
Denying or suppressing your emotions usually backfires. Your feelings are likely to build up and complicate your life even more. Find more effective ways to cope by using these methods for releasing sadness.
Steps to Take on Your Own:
- Accept your feelings. You may have grown up in a family where sadness was considered a weakness, or uncomfortable emotions were ignored in the hope they would go away. As an adult, you can make positive changes. Healing begins with acknowledging your feelings.
- Find the words. Clarifying your thoughts helps too. Increase your self-awareness and understanding by distinguishing between different experiences such as loneliness or grief.
- Let yourself cry. Shedding a few tears eliminates toxins and causes hormonal shifts that lower your stress levels and strengthen your immune system. Pick a safe time and place and give yourself permission to cry.
- Take deep breaths. Simple breathing exercises provide relief too. Inhaling and exhaling slowly and deeply eases physical symptoms of sadness, like tension headaches or a lump in your throat.
- Keep a journal. Maybe writing your thoughts down will help you to process them. A journal gives you more opportunities to spot patterns and reframe your thoughts. Choose a format that works for you and try to write for at least a few minutes each day.
- Express your creativity. Writing is just one of many options for channeling your sadness. Some studies suggest that sadness fuels creativity by encouraging self-reflection. You may be inspired to draw or cook.
- Listen to music. When you need quick and easy relief, put together a playlist of songs that lift your spirits. Dance and sing along to German opera or heavy metal.
- Work out. Exercise can be a powerful antidote for sadness and even some symptoms of more serious depression. Keep things interesting by designing a variety of routines using activities you love.
- Practice self-care. Make regular exercise one part of your overall wellness program for dealing with sadness and stress. Remember to eat a balanced diet and aim for at least 8 hours of sleep each night.
Steps to Take with Others:
- Call a friend. Talk with your loved ones when you’re going through a major setback or minor frustrations are piling up. Be ready to do the same for them. Sharing your concerns helps you to put them in perspective and discover new insights.
- Help out. Focusing on others is likely to make you happier. Do volunteer work online or in your local community. Lend a hand to your neighbors and coworkers. The solution to your own predicaments may pop up while you’re directing your efforts elsewhere.
- Pet your dog. A large body of research confirms that interacting with animals is less stressful than talking with other humans. You can cheer yourself up by scratching your dog’s ears or taking them for a long walk.
- Consider therapy. If your sadness lasts for weeks or interferes with your usual activities, you may be experiencing clinical depression. Help is available. Call a hotline or follow your doctor’s recommendations.
Be gentle and patient with yourself when you’re feeling blue. Developing effective coping strategies will help you to thrive during dark times and enjoy happier days.