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How to Process Emotions Part 2: Sadness

How To’s designed to get you unstuck and pull you into alignment with your highest self.

Last week, we focused our attention on processing anger.

And so often when we get the anger out of our bodies, what we find is a pool of sadness underneath it.

Although sadness is a core emotion, it sometimes lurks beneath the surface, making it difficult to recognize.

How do I know if I’m feeling sadness?

Typically, our bodies respond with sadness when we feel a sense of loss.

Physically, sadness tends to show up as a feeling of heartache.

It feels like heaviness in the body along with constriction in the chest and throat.

Positive intention of sadness

Allowing ourselves to feel sadness when it comes up has all kinds of positive effects:

  • Sadness stops us in our tracks, encouraging us to slow down and give ourselves some attention
  • It improves our perception of others by drawing out our compassionate side
  • It makes us happier people in the end since allowing ourselves to feel sad goes hand in hand with allowing ourselves to experience genuine joy later
  • It improves our relationships by creating a point of connection with other human beings. When we connect through sadness, we’re allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and to build trust.


What happens if I tell my sadness to bugger off?

When we chronically suppress sadness,

  • It has a tendency to turn into anger, causing us to lash out at things we normally wouldn’t be as affected by
  • It drains our energy
  • It’s harmful to our immune system, making us more susceptible to all manner of illnesses
  • It prohibits us from taking good care of ourselves and we often end up skipping all those self care routines that would actually aid us in processing our sadness
  • It creates a “separate” feeling in us, making it likely we’ll isolate if we’re not comfortable sharing our feelings with others


Okay, okay! I admit it – I’m sad! What now?

Although sadness will lift when given time and space to do so, there are some ways to speed up the process.

Let it be.

The first and most obvious way to process sadness is to find time to allow yourself to feel it when it comes up.

Pay attention to the sensations in your body and notice as the energy of the emotion shifts from moment to moment.

Journal about it.

Writing your thoughts down gets them out of your head so they’re less likely to be suppressed and ignored.

Get to stepping.

Taking a walk or getting any kind of movement in helps sadness move through our bodies faster.

Talk to someone.

Finding a safe person to share your emotions with, whether they’re a professional or someone close to you, will help you get through difficult emotions.

Cry it out.

If you feel sadness locked behind your eyes, in your throat, and/or in your chest, try to create some space to let yourself cry if you need to.

Tears actually reduce stress hormones like Cortisol and improve the immune system which is the exact opposite effect of suppressing the emotion.

Another result of processing sadness

When we are compassionate with ourselves and we allow ourselves to experience our sadness without judgment, we are MUCH (and it bears repeating!), MUCH more likely to be able to respond with compassion to others.

This makes us kinder people and improves the quality of our relationships.

With so much to gain from allowing sadness to have space in our lives, I hope this has inspired you to see it through a new lens!

Next week, we’ll talk about processing fear.

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