How to Deal with Sadness in a Meaningful Way

Emotions are natural states of being that we naturally experience. We laugh when we’re happy, we frown when we’re serious, and we cry when we’re sad. But do we allow ourselves to cry? Most often, we don’t. In our world, sadness is often avoided or cloaked with a neutral emotion. Although the intent was to cheer one up but growing up, overtime we felt sad – we were mostly told, “Don’t be sad. Stop crying. You’re fine. Cheer up.

sad smile

Here’s the thing, all emotions really are just ‘brain states’. Speaking of biology, a brain state equates to certain neurones firing, and the release of neurotransmitters, chemicals and hormones therein. When emotions are registered cognitively, they are measured in terms of stress. For example, how active do certain neurological circuits have to be to feel this emotion, at this intensity? When we suppress the outward expression of an emotion, we really are just suppressing the release of stress. This has an adverse impact on our bodies and our health (think about how you get sick when you’re stressed).

How do we release a Hard Emotion, like Sadness?

  • Identify that You are Upset

Do you recognise what has upset you? If not, then let yourself be comfortable with being uncomfortable, living with the uncertainty. All that matters is that we…

  • Feel the Feeling

In order to let something go, you must address it.

Let the sadness pass you by like a cloud in the sky. Emotions come and go, they are ever-changing. Our state of being is constant – as in your inner grounding of peace, love and compassion. Our job is to be present and mindful enough to recognise that the sadness will pass. That it is merely a feeling, and not who we are.

  • Activities to Feel the Feeling

Ride out the feeling in a constructive way.


  1. Keeping a Journal and penning your thoughts down regularly
  2. A letter to yourself/someone else/your body/your insecurity/your sadness
  3. A poem


  1. Dance (even just in your room)
  2. Yoga/gym
  3. Go for a walk/swim
  4. Cry
  5. Sing/shout (say ‘bubbles’ in the scariest voice you can muster)
  6. Cook (make sure you eat mindfully)


  1. Paint
  2. Collage
  3. Draw
  4. Analyse paintings

Social Support

  1. Call friend/family
  2. Support groups (even online)
  3. Read blogs

DISCLAIMER: it does not count if you do an activity that takes away from being mindful and present in the situation such as bingeing on chocolate or going on an Instagram video binge. Do not be fooled by these easy ways out. All they do is divert your mind, and make you feel somewhat numb. You end up suppressing and bottling up the sadness. Also the cognitive load of emotional stress doesn’t be freed. In the long run it will do you more damage.

  • Don’t get Stuck in a Negative Thought Loop

Or have a bad experience that keeps playing on repeat in your mind? We’ve all been there. Today we spoke with someone who’s completely transformed the way we handle negativity

– Dr. Rick Hanson

Rick Hanson is a psychologist and expert in positive neuroplasticity. He’s spoken to people all over the world including Oxford, Stanford, Harvard, and NASA. We are huge fans of his work because he takes sophisticated brain science and breaks it down into easy-to-implement strategies.

 His most recent book, “Resilient,” is no exception. In it, Rick provides science-backed methods you can use to grow an unshakeable inner core of strength, calm, and happiness.

Tune in to learn Smart Skills

  1. Turn fleeting feelings of confidence and calm into your permanent character makeup.
  2. Stop treating past trauma like it’s your destiny.
  3. Give your brain the ultimate multivitamin.
  4. Combat your brain’s natural negativity bias.
  5. See every experience as a learning opportunity.

Once you’ve had a chance to watch, head over to the blog and join us in the comments.

The world really does need that special gift that only you have. Don’t let negativity — or an untrained mind — hold you back. By rewiring your brain, develop the inner strength to persevere through any challenge life throws your way.

  • Unveil the Purpose of Your Sadness

According to Charles Darwin, the purpose of emotions is to cause actions. Un-judgmentally, try to pinpoint what this sadness means to you. Perhaps this sadness revolves around a loss. In order to mourn a loss, however big or small, one indulges in sad thoughts or mourns silently within. By letting yourself feel upset, you address the loss and give appreciation to what once was. Or conversely, sadness could be signaling that you might need to make some changes in your life.

Whatever it is, just remember that we are dynamic beings. Emotions are what spice up life and remind us that we can feel, which is, after all… a beautiful thing.