Faking happiness has become part of our everyday life as we still can’t escape from the ever-present sorrow while being consumed by our own thoughts. The absurdity of thinking we can overpower this truth is only meaningless unless we try to understand it. Although we may not like the fallout, sadness has a positive side in store for us with the promise that it’s perfectly alright for us not to dwell too much on happiness.
A role to play
Happiness wouldn’t be meaningful without sadness as this emotion serves as a vital cue on recognizing the essential part of suffering as a part of living. By accepting this fact, we could even find enlightenment amid our problems in life.
In the Theory of Attachment developed by British psychologist John Bowlby, he mentioned that sadness is an emotion at play with attachment. The idea of sadness is accompanied by loss and meant to encourage the unhappy that there will always be a remedy to whatever problem we encounter. From this point of view, the melancholy we feel becomes the price we pay to form bonds with other people. So instead of backing out from these negative emotions, acknowledging what we’re feeling in the moment will help us find company with other people, making the suffering feel much lighter rather than when we’re alone.
Sadness isn’t only a key player for relationships as psychologist Shannon Sauer-Zavala of Boston University discovered a behavioral therapy that aids in mindfulness training that helps individuals overcome their anxiety disorders not by minimizing or suppressing their negative feelings, but rather by training them to accept those emotions. “It is impossible to avoid negative emotions altogether because to live is to experience setbacks and conflicts,” says Sauer-Zavala. Our emotional health can benefit from a well-balanced set of experiences just by being a melancholic person—one who’s brave enough to embrace life at its lowest.
In a melancholic state, contemplation is much easier and could give us a clearer view of our path to recovery. Taking a few steps in learning to accept melancholy is a helpful tool in making us take slower and deeper breaths in appreciating the beauty of our blues.
Drawing the line
We might have all been confused as to why we’re experiencing sorrow in our lives and thought of suffering from depression—like the world is pitted against us. This misconception is based on the signs of depression associated with sadness when in fact, they distinctively differ from one another. Sadness is being profoundly upset about unfavorable circumstances coming along the way, while depression is a buried emotion stuck on lasting sadness to the extent of questioning the point of living.
Sadness is a noxious spirit to our body—a normal emotion we feel when we’re hurt or disappointed. We’ll eventually get over with the painful emotion. and then our grief will fade after some time, but not in the case of depression. This is a chronic mental illness, an abnormal emotional state defined by prolonged and intense periods of sadness which can often debilitate our health, says Psychology Today. Depression affects our way of thinking, perception about life, and even our behavior in the long run.
If sadness makes us feel disappointed of certain things, depression makes us feel sad about almost everything—even in the absence of any struggles. According to Guy Winch, a psychologist and writer on TED.com, depression saps out our energy and motivation to be happy and delighted, but sadness doesn’t hinder us in feeling such positive emotions, especially as we’re the ones in charge of our own feelings.
Connecting sadness to depression only worsens the circumstances and labels our melancholy as a taboo. Another thing to remember is that using the term “depressed” in regular circumstances can sometimes be insulting as it downplays the severe mental illness. As depression is misinterpreted, the brighter side of loneliness is often overlooked and thought of as a wrong idea. If we only try clearing out the downside of sadness, we could get more of its benefits.
1 · 2