This is an emotion I have been facing recently – with a unwell, and aging dog, my companion for almost 13 years.
In a society where a high value is placed on being positive, sometimes it simply isn’t possible. It’s perfectly normal to have sadness in your life but we wait for sadness to pass and we behave as if nothing sad is going on. Keeping up a good front is important in most people’s lives, yet behind the facade can lurk a good deal of fear. Instead of positivity, what’s needed is reality. Being realistic means that you drop the main defense that all of us are tempted to employ: denial. The only reason to deny your sadness is if you feel that you can’t do anything about it. But there are concrete ways to cope with sadness and gain control over it.
The best remedy —as we all know but, sadly, often fail to remember—is to lower your stress, go to bed early and get eight hours of quality sleep, make sure you exercise and break up your normal routine a bit.
This includes a downturn in feeling because something undeniably sad has happened to you, such as losing your job/relationship or the death of someone close to you. People often feel helpless when they enter extended sadness, even when they know there is a good reason for it. In this case, you need to process your sadness, let nature take its course – cry and share your feelings with those who support you. Bottling up your feelings is never helpful.
Developing emotional resilience is perhaps the most important, because that’s the ability to bounce back from bad things in your life. You can encourage it by being present with your feelings instead of fearing them, making a plan of action when things go wrong and sticking with it, by associating with people who are emotionally mature, and by appreciating and rewarding yourself for dealing with your difficulties.
Working on long-term, emotionally mature happiness is the best way to insulate yourself from downswings in emotion. Sadness comes and goes. For everyone, well-being is a journey. You have the inner guidance to support you.
So what works for me – pulling weeds out of the garden, walks on the beach, cuddling my dogs, and the kind words of treasured girlfriends. Remembering “This too will pass.”
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