They feel SAD

Written by Violaine Guéritault, Ph.D.

What is it?

Sadness is one of the seven universal emotions described by Darwin in 1872 and experienced by all human beings. This emotion is very much associated with grief, a sense of loss, and the wish that things could be different and better. The causes of sadness can be very varied and often result in the loss of hopes, dreams, or expectations. This sense of loss and grief may be mild, strong, or anywhere in between. It can come and go without warning. At times, it may make us feel tearful, empty, or hopeless, and cause us to feel irritable or frustrated over the smallest things. In and of itself, the emotion of sadness is completely normal and is part of our human condition, but when it becomes too frequent or overwhelming, it is essential to find ways to restore balance and inner peace.

What is the emotion of sadness telling your young person?

Although sadness is regarded as a negative emotion, it serves the important purpose of alerting them that they need to receive help, support, and comfort. It should never be ignored or dismissed since sometimes it may be a symptom of depression or an anxiety disorder. When feelings of sadness become too strong, reaching out for help and practicing self-care should become a priority for your young person.

Suggestions for your young person on how to manage sadness?
  • Discover the benefits of mindfulness and meditation. It will sharpen their  awareness and help them identify how they feel and why. Knowing your emotions is knowing yourself, and such knowledge will lead them to self-acceptance and self-compassion.
  • Develop their mental strength. It will help their capacity for resilience to grow and expand. Mental strength is a great asset in the face of adversity.
  • Learn through mindfulness how to transform negative thoughts into more positive and constructive ones.
  • Get them the support they need. Help them talk to people they trust and love. Those are the people who will give them the courage and motivation to overcome their grief and sense of loss.
  • Uplift their mood by engaging in activities that make them feel good. Seek the company of positive, optimistic, and caring people.