Why does the sadness come to us?

All we know, absolutly normal to feel sad when you experience a loss or a fight with someone you love. But have you ever felt sad for no real reason? Just yesterday you were full of resources and great ideas, and today you can hardly lift your body out of bed, feeling inexplicably sad, although there are no obvious reasons for it. Where does this sadness come from and what does it tell us?

Let me tell you something about that!

Why does the sadness come to us?
The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh / Painted in June 1889


Conitive PsychologistWritten by Ameli
Cognitive Psychologist

First of all, it is important to understand the difference between a decreased emotional background and depression. Melancholy is an adaptive emotional reaction and usually goes away on its own after a couple of days, without causing damage to mental and physical health. Dipression is about illness, it is a whole complex of painful states that last for a long time (intrusive negative thoughts, low emotionality, complete apathy) and help from a specialist is highly recommended.

Sadness… What is this message?

In fact, emotion is an effective and sensitive information processing and signaling system that provides us with a survival program, dramatically changing behavioral strategies in dangerous situations. Emotions automatically, based on reflexes, separate the important from the unimportant and tell us what actions we need to take now to feel comfortable and safe. Feelings guide us in big and small things: they tell us what we want, what we prefer, and what we need in the moment. For example, we choose chocolate ice cream rather than vanilla ice cream because it makes us feel better, right?

One thing is clear: sadness is a message we must learn to understand. Today we do not allow ourselves to be sad. In the rational human world, there is no place for the snotty tears. We are forced to ignore our internal signaling system and pretend that all is well. Otherwise, the Oscar for stress tolerance and multitasking will go to someone else.

However, no one can wear this impenetrable armor for long periods of time. Despite access to all sorts of information, books and publications, we continue to perpetuate the idea that sadness is pathological.

But let’s learn to think straight and admit that if we have a stomach ache, we’re trying to help ourselves somehow, not shut our asses up and pretend everything is okay. And comments like “Get a grip and move on” can only help you die faster.

Warning emotions are better listened to, or it will cost you dearly. Sadness has its own task, but what is it?

1. Sadness as a warning sign

Sudden, gratuitous sadness always indicates a loss of energy. It’s a signal that your battery has run out of power and needs time to recharge. At such times we feel apathetic and uncomprehending fatigue. It is perfectly natural at such a moment to feel the need to limit social contact, to stop giving birth to brilliant ideas, and simply to withdraw into yourself.

This psycho-physiological reaction is a healthy response to the brain’s warning of danger and the depletion of available resources. And it’s the best time to take a vacation and go deep into ourselves, so that we remove ourselves from the external stimuli of our environment so that we can connect with our inner self. We need to explore more deeply what ails, bothers or distresses us.

2. Sadness as emergency braking

Experiencing sadness triggers a resource-based energy program in us. Sadness actualizes our need to prioritize.  At this point, the brain discovers that we are wasting our energy on activities that are not really important to us. Ask yourself the question: Which of the tasks I do are really important, and which ones is time to boldly get rid of?

3. Sadness as a need to hear yourself

We are used to thinking that sadness is a negative emotion, because it comes to us with tears and regrets. But let me remind you that after a thunderstorm there is a rainbow. This kind of emotional pause is given to us in order to listen very carefully and honestly to our inner voice. Yes, it’s likely to see-recognize-accept something not very pleasant about yourself and your actions. But it is the compass that brings us back when we are lost in adulthood. And tears are a great tool to process your sadness.

So why do we feel like crying when we feel sad? Just because, tears are the quickest and easiest way to flush out stress hormones (prolactin, adrenocorticotropic hormone). Nature has thought of every detail for us. Now think back to the story of the sick stomach and look for analogies…

4. Sadness as a point of personal growth

Almost all emotional crises give us a chance to draw an important line and divide life into “BEFORE” and “AFTER. And if you did everything right: took the time to listen to yourself, did a general mental cleaning, made the right conclusions and set new benchmarks – your body and emotions will quickly respond with a surge of strength and energy for the big journey forward!


Books in theme:

  1. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves
  2. How to Deal with Emotionally Explosive People
  3. Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman
  4. The Impact Of Meditation : How It Can Improve Emotional Intelligence