How to Move Through Sadness
Life is both beautiful and mysterious. We often find ourselves baffled by its twists and turns, its joys and sorrows.
While our minds and bodies tend to accept feelings of joy with ease, sorrow is a more difficult emotion to handle. You may find yourself dealing with several crises at once, with no one to turn to. Or maybe you’re the one everyone else in turning to for strength, so you’ve been pushing your own emotions aside in order to support your loved ones.
For me, the New Year brought great joy followed by intense sorrow. Life flows like that sometimes. My newest son brought me happiness as well as the expected stress of caring for a newborn.
He was only 2 months old when my father-in-law had a massive stroke. My husband was beside himself—stricken with grief and worry. Meanwhile my own mother was living 2 hours away and still battling stage 4 breast cancer and depression. Everyone was leaning on me for help and support—while I was deep in the throes of post-partum mood changes.
What do you do with overwhelming, sad feelings that are filling you to the brim and you have no place to spill them?
Through my own turmoil, I learned a few things worth sharing. As always, it should be noted that I am not a licensed medical professional, and if you are having thoughts of suicide or any other serious mental health crisis, please consult your doctor immediately.
1 – Experience the Pain
Anymore, people seem to think we aren’t supposed to feel any pain, ever. For goodness sakes, we’ve got pills for that now! Psychiatric drugs have their place for those who truly need them, but they shouldn’t be your first method of coping. Antidepressants and anxiety medications can mask your feelings and help you feel better short-term, but they aren’t getting to the root of the problem. You’ll never heal from emotional pain until you experience it and then begin to move through it.
Find some alone time and just sit with your pain. Accept the troubling, painful emotions and let them flow through you. In time you’ll feel them pass; you’ll grow stronger and naturally develop ways to cope and deal with the situation.
2 – Put it on Paper
Writing down your feelings is a way of validating them, and it can be very cathartic. Journaling not only helps you calm down in the moment, it helps you to look back and reflect on how you were feeling during a certain time period. Revelations and ideas for positive life changes can come from examining your thought patterns from the past. If what you have to write is especially personal, you can always write down your thoughts, and then tear up or burn the paper when you are done.
3 – Sweat it Out
Releasing energy through physical activity is a great way to blow off steam. Sweating is literally and spiritually cleansing. Imagine sweating out your troubles and stress, shedding negative thoughts and healing from the inside out. Exercise also releases endorphins, increases serotonin in the brain and relieves physical tension in the muscles from anxiety. Find a quiet moment to practice chest-opening yoga positions that put your heart at the forefront of your exercise, allowing emotional energy to flow freely.
4 – Music and Art as Therapy
The purpose of art is to express thoughts and emotions, and connect with each other about what it means to be human. Try painting or drawing, or turn on a song that fits your mood and just vibe with it. The positive effects of music on people coping with illness and pain is so evident that there is an entire profession dedicated to Music Therapy. German poet Berthold Auerbach said,
“Music washes away from the soul, the dust of everyday life.”
5 – Reach Out
Your friends aren’t there just for when you feel great. A true friend sees you through the worst of times. Pick up the phone and talk to someone. If you feel you can’t confide in anyone close to you, look up a local therapist. There are support groups available for just about everything, and even reading a book by an author in a similar situation can make you feel less alone.
Remember that your book of life has a natural ebb and flow, and that painful times will come to an end eventually.
May your next chapter be of peace and wellness.
A heart opening pose for everyone to try now:
Yogasync Me! A 30 minute practice to support you now: