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Published on October 09, 2019

Women sad with head on hands

Healthy ways to deal with sadness

We all feel sad sometimes. Sadness is a normal emotion that can make life more interesting. Sadness almost always accompanies loss. When we say goodbye to a loved ones we usually feel sad. The sadness is even deeper if a close relationship has ended or a loved one has died.

Sadness also helps us appreciate happiness. When our mood eventually changes from sadness toward happiness, the sense of contrast adds to the enjoyment of the mood.

Here are some ways to experience normal sadness in healthy ways and to allow this emotion to enrich your life:

  • Allow yourself to be sad. Denying such feelings may force them underground, where they can do more damage with time. Cry if you feel like it. Notice if you feel relief after the tears stop.
  • Write in a journal, listen to music, spend time with friends or family, and/or draw to express the emotion sadness.
  • Think about the context of the sad feelings. Are they related to a loss or an unhappy event? Think about the feelings in a non-judging way and ride the wave of the experience.
  • Sadness can result from a change that you didn't expect, or it can signal that you might need to make changes in your life. Emotions are changing and will come and go.
  • Know when sadness turns into depression. Get help if this happens rather than getting stuck in it.

Signs of Depression:

  • Depressed mood (e.g. feeling sad or empty)
  • Lack of interest in previously enjoyable activities
  • Significant weight loss or gain, a decrease or increase in appetite
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Agitation, restlessness, irritability
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and guilt
  • Inability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness
  • Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation, suicide attempt or plan

Great Rivers 2-1-1 offers free, confidential community information and referrals, and a crisis hotline 24 hours/day. Dial 211 or (800) 362-8255 to talk to an information and referral specialist.

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