Published on 07 December 2021

What Is Sadness Exactly, And What Does Sadness Feels Like?

General Psychology what-is-sadness-exactly
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The human mind is capable of feeling many emotions, and they are capable of handling them intensely. However, it is a proven fact that most of our unregulated emotions are caused by the experiences we have faced in the past or things we are experiencing now.

From being happy to sad, the human body creates certain hormones, which are then reflected on us physically; if we are happy, our body releases dopamine, and then we start feeling hyper and cheerful. When we are sad, our body emits stress through tears; every emotion we feel has some physical reaction to our physical health.

Sadness can be challenging to understand and describe. It's often described as feeling down or depressed, but it's more than just a simple sadness. All of us feel sad from time to time, but extreme unexplained sadness leads to many problems.

What Is Sadness?

Sadness is a combination of feelings like sadness, loneliness, and longing. It usually comes from losing something or someone important in your life, but it can also cause other things, such as work stress or relationship problems, can also cause it.

Sadness is one of the seven powerful universal emotions everyone usually experiences; sadness is a negative emotion, leading to negative thinking and anxiety. With sadness comes secondary emotions like Anger, Reminiscing, and Fear.

If termed by the universal connotation, sadness is a signal for help. When a person is sad, they need comfort, warmth, and affection from a person to ease up the stress and the negativity. Although some people derive pleasure from sadness for a cathartic effect, while some seek pleasure from this emotion, others avoid the feeling at all costs. They try to stay away from anything that will trigger that emotion. Sadness, in general, leaves a person very lonely and vulnerable.

Cognitive and Behavioral Perspectives on Sadness 

From a cognitive and behavioral perspective, sadness can be examined by looking at the thoughts, beliefs, and behavior related to this emotion. 

Cognitively, we often meditate on perceived failures or mistakes that could increase sadness. Behaviorally, people may withdraw from social settings and isolate themselves due to feeling down. Evidence also shows that physical activity can help improve cognitive and behavioral responses to sadness. 

While it's normal to feel this emotion occasionally, if sadness persists for weeks or months, then seeking professional help may be beneficial.

Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms To Deal With Sadness

There are two ways to cope with sadness; it can be healthy or unhealthy, depending on the person.

  • When dealing with grief or any sad emotion, people usually start depending on substances like alcohol or substances that try to control the human brain-body.
  • Trigger warning: mentions of self-harm; some people try to damage their bodies as a coping response to their sadness; they try to harm themselves, which leads to them feeling suicidal and ten times sadder than they were.
  • Getting into dependent relationships or trauma dumping on a person is another unhealthy coping mechanism for sadness.

These all lead to being surrounded by negativity. All you can do is, get a solution for such sadness in your life. 

Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Our minds can create various mechanisms to deal with extreme emotions, but it is up to us; we can either cope with our daily anxieties in the healthiest way possible, or we can either go downhill or deal with them in the most dangerous way possible. One must understand that dealing with your emotions healthily is necessary, and it is the only primary way to prevent it for the time being.

  • If you feel like your emotions affect your daily lifestyle, it is essential to seek medical help.
  • Self-care techniques such as journaling can be effective in getting your emotions regulated.
  • Exercising or yoga
  • Having a proper healthy diet.

Responding to Sadness In Others:

Knowing that someone is sad but not intruding is a personal choice. For instance, acknowledging that someone is unhappy is essential, but how you want to help them is a personal choice.

  • If someone is going through a personal loss, then being sorry for them and acknowledging it is the bare minimum, but allowing them to get out of it is a personal choice, and it depends from person to person. Some people need a shoulder to rely on, while others require a lot of personal space.
  • If someone is reaching out to you or if their behavior seems concerning to you, it is essential to offer help, and if they are reaching out to you for help, then it is crucial to acknowledge their concerns and listen to them.
  • At the same time, if someone needs a lot of personal space and does not want anyone to intrude, it is essential to give them their room instead of forcing them to reach out.
  • It is important to remember that your methods to help someone should make them feel better, and the minute you start bothering them, that's the time for you to stop. Your plans should benefit them instead of making them worse.

However, there's a world of difference between feeling sad and depressed for a long time. Professional help or anxiety medications are needed when a person starts to get low for an extended period. Sadness is a stagnant emotion, but at the same time, it's fluid; you can either be miserable for a day or below for ten years. When your sadness starts to intensify, you are prone to depression:

What Is Depression?

Depression is a mood disorder; you lack interest in every activity and start feeling tiresome for no specific reason. It occurs in different forms; it can either make you extraordinarily stressed or make you feel unfortunate. There is also the possibility of having suicidal or severe intrusive thoughts about self-harming.

Symptoms of Sadness

Sadness is an emotion that everyone experiences at some point in their life. Symptoms of sadness can range from feeling exhausted and disconnected to having difficulty concentrating and finding the motivation to do anything. They may also experience hopelessness, isolation, emptiness, and sometimes guilt or worry over things they cannot control. 

Sad people may withdraw from those they love and lose interest in various activities they once enjoyed. Additionally, it is not uncommon for people experiencing sadness to have changes in appetite or sleeping habits; oversleeping or insomnia are common signs of sorrow. 

It is important to remember that although these symptoms can be challenging, help is available through therapy, medication, or other forms of support.

Difference Between Sadness And Depression:

  • Being sad is a temporary feeling; when you have a bad day, you are unhappy but back to being joyful again the next day.
  • Whereas depression is a curable mood disorder that lasts for a long time and isn't a temporary one or two-day thing.
  • Depression causes much physical stress, and medications are needed to cure them.
  • Sadness is fluid, whereas depression is a stagnant state of mind.

Sadness in Our Culture

Sadness has been given a bad rap in our culture; feeling down, or worse, acknowledging you have depression, is seen as taboo. As such, it is no surprise that people are reluctant to talk openly about their feelings and reach out for help if needed; there is an underlying stigma associated with being anything less than upbeat that keeps many shrouded in secrecy. 

An unfortunate effect emerges from this state of secrecy and internalizing of "negative" emotions: silence shrouds the conversation around mental health, making it hard for those suffering to get the support they need. 

It is time we shift our narrative around sadness so that affected individuals can be empowered to speak up and seek help without fear of judgment or criticism.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosing medical conditions can be difficult because symptoms can vary widely from patient to patient and often take time to cure themselves. 

Once a condition is diagnosed, treatment plans can include medication, physical therapy, surgery, or lifestyle changes. Treatments are based on the diagnosis of a disease and an individual's specific circumstances. It is important to follow treatment plans as healthcare professionals prescribe for needs to be managed appropriately over time. 

However, it is also essential for patients to actively participate in their health and work with their healthcare team if changes need to be made, such as modifying dosages or other plan elements. Doing so will help ensure successful long-term management of most problems and improve overall health outcomes.

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

There's no specific answer if we go out of the box and figure out the answer to this question. Sadness is a negative emotion, but at the same time, it is subjective; it depends on factors like- that person's social background, economic status, etc. For instance- for some people, monsoons are a boon, while for others, it's a curse.

As this article shows, sadness is far more complex than simply having a bad day. Though there's no way to describe the exact causes of human emotions (so much of it depends on each person individually), a better understanding of sadness can help us deal with its symptoms and move to find a solution.