Strange title for this week’s blog on happinessWhy Sadness is good for you. In our culture being sad has almost become a sin, or shameful. We all have to be  happy, all the time, like we’re living in a GAP ad or something.

Sadness plays a very important part in your happiness. Yes, you read that right, sadness is important for your well being.*

Emotions are just that, motions.

All emotions are important, and good. They all have role to play. Emotions are there to move us (from there the MOTION part of e-motion), towards or away from what we need or don’t need in our lives.

Emotions protect us and help us to live on a as a species (what we do without being able to fall in love?). Love moves us toward another for example. Fear moves us away from harm. Anger moves us toward.Now sadness is the tricky one, it doesn’t seem to have a place. Remember the movie Inside out? If haven’t seen it, do yourself a favour and go get it. Heads up, the next part contains a major spoiler.

Picture
Sadness, from the movie Inside Out

Sadness has a place.

Well in the movie there is a character for each emotion, Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness (in the image above). Sadness seems out of place from the get go. Joy (the self appointed leader) doesn’t quite know what to do with her.

When Riley, the young girls whose emotions they are, goes through a traumatic time, all Joy wants to do is keep her happy. Sadness keeps on stepping forward and makes her sad, much to Joy’s frustration.

The thing is, that no matter how hard Joy tries to turn a blind eye to the trauma and cover it with happiness, it doesn’t work. Riley needs Sadness so she can move on.

And this is who we are, we need to be sad when sad things happen, we need to mourn when we lose someone dear to us.

Mourning and being sad has this strange way of detaching us from the event in a healthy way, moving us towards well-being and happiness. This movie is spot on.

Let it be.

This is my experience. However much I have tried in the past to block sadness, push it down or out, or cover it with wine or work. I just stay stuck, and cannot seem to move on.

I needed sadness, which is so contrary to our culture. I needed to sit with sadness and let her do her job. This is especially true for the type of sadness where you can pinpoint the cause, a lost lover, the death of a friend for example. Very, very different from clinical depression (in my opinion).

I heard a teacher the other day, phrase it like this. When a negative emotion enters your mind, instead of chasing it out, let it enter and invite it for tea. Let that emotion do its work. I see you sadness, let’s have tea.

For me, I simply sit with the emotion in mediation/prayer until it dissipates, dissolves almost. It doesn’t always work in one go, several is often necessary. Cry if you have to, hit your fists against the floor if that is what it takes, but let the emotion do its work.

“I see you sadness, let’s have tea”

So that is my tip for this week. Sit with sadness, she’ll sort you out. Feel free to comment below and tell of your experience in becoming a happier, healthier human being in this mad world of ours.

Keep well.

Pierre

*In my experience, again, I’m not a psychologist or a psychiatrist, and if you think you have serious depression, you should go and see a doctor, this blog is just tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years.