In part one of this blog ‘sitting with sadness, part 1’ we spoke about journaling our feelings and some people simply find that trying to express words on paper is not for them. If journaling is not for you then here is a list of other ways we can talk to our sadness.
- Talk to your sadness
Yes, that’s right actually talk it out, you could get a tape recorder or just talk to an empty chair. The way to do this is to imagine talking to your sadness as if it were a person in front of you. Try to connect with what you want to understand from this sadness. You could then go a step further and respond from the voice of sadness. It is like a conversation, just you are involved in both parts.
Here are some questions you may want to ask your sadness.
- Why are you here?
- What do you want with me?
- Is there something I can do to not have so much sadness around?
- What can I do for you?
2. Feel the sadness in your body
Sadness is an emotion, but we also feel it in a physical way. You could try to sit with sadness and feel the physical aspect of this. Paying attention to what happens in your body. You might discover:
- Aches or pains
- Areas of tension
- Changes in your breathing patterns
- Spots that feel empty
Pay particular attention to how sadness feels in your head, chest, and stomach.
3. Paint, draw or play music
For some of the more creative people doing something expressive can help. For the musical type it may be playing a piece of sad music or perhaps drawing your sadness. Finding ways for the creative part of you to connect with this sadness and find a way to release this. Pay particular attention to what you feel and at what point in time.
4. Daily emotions check
One of the main reasons we find it hard to sit with our sadness is because we don’t do it often enough. We try to avoid this uncomfortable feeling. But by continuing to avoid our feelings of sadness all we do is let it build up. Then, when it has built up, to sit with it seems unbearable and we once again avoid doing so, entering a vicious cycle.
One way we can avoid this build up is a daily check in on our emotions. This can be done as many times as you like. Perhaps starting off with first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Take a few minutes to check in and say “hey emotions what is going on with you? How are you feeling?” You do not need to act on these emotions, just acknowledging their existence can be of extreme benefit. Sometimes you will notice sadness other times other emotions will enter your mind. After time you may have a vast amount of emotions, some of which you did not think were capable.
Please keep in mind sadness and depression are two different things. However, intense and persistent sadness is a symptom of depression. If you are wondering if your sadness is due to something more serious then always seek help.
Stef Gafa’ is a counsellor with Willingness who has a particular interest in trauma, attachment, domestic violence and the LGBT community.
Jacobs, B. (2004). Writing for emotional balance: A guided journal to help you manage overwhelming emotions. California: New Harbinger.