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Have you seen the movie Inside Out? In this movie 5 different emotions; joy, sadness, fear, disgust and anger come to life. As human beings, we experience different feelings according to how we perceive the situations we find ourselves in. Sadness is one of the most common feelings we experience in our lives. Not everyone feels comfortable to express it in front of other people and some might try to avoid feeling sad at all. Let’s face it, who likes to feel sad? Sadness is a difficult feeling to cope with and during tough times it may seem as if it will never go away. Although ignoring sadness can help to temporarily deal with pain, unless expressed, eventually it tends to resurface.

Smith (2019) suggests that if we supress sadness, it will also be difficult to feel happy. Although you may not acknowledge it, sadness will not disappear. In doing so, you may also be affecting your ability to feel happy since it is not possible to choose which feelings to experience and which ones to just hide. Unexpressed sadness may lead to experiencing difficulties in other areas of life that usually you would be able to cope with. Sometimes, anger can be the result of sadness and therefore, if you try to hide it you may find yourself getting irritated more easily. In some cases, unexpressed sadness can also affect negatively your mental health and develop disorders such as depression and anxiety. Bad habits to cope with sadness can also be developed such as drinking alcohol or taking drugs to deal with the pain.

Crying is a common response to sadness. It is a physical outlet that allows you to release sadness rather than keeping it in. Finding a way to process your feelings is very important. This could be achieved by talking to a friend, family member or a professional such as a therapist. You may want to keep a journal where you can describe your feelings, thoughts and behaviours. The more you process what is happening to you, the more you would be dealing with your sadness and able to cope with it. Listening to music can be another alternative to express sadness as the music and lyrics can help you to connect with your emotions. If you are artistic, you can also try to express your feelings through drawing.

To overcome the sadness, try to use positive self-talk. Remind yourself of your accomplishments and good qualities that you have. You may also find some quotes which fit with you and place them somewhere where you can see them to act as positive affirmation. Find a hobby which you like and spend more time doing it. Generally, do more of what makes you happy so that you focus your energy on something positive and avoid spiralling into negative thinking and behaviour.

Reference

Smith, K. (2019). Why You Should Express Your Sadness. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 23, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/why-you-should-express-your-sadness

Dr Marilyn Muscat is registered as an Educational Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council in the United Kingdom where she trained. She works with children, adolescents and their families to understand more about educational, social and emotional well-being concerns that they have and to help them improve upon their difficulties. She can be contacted on marilyn@willingness.com.mt or call us on 79291817.