The Definition of Sadness

 The Definition of Sadness


Part of being human is having feelings. We have them all the time and yet we rarely learn about them from our parents or in school, so most of us don't really understand them. One of the first basic emotions that we feel and learn to identify as children is sadness. But most of us cannot easily answer the question, "Why am I feeling sad?" Do we know what we can do when we feel Sad?

There is a lot of research about emotions, why we have them, what they feel like and incline us to do. We realized that it is really helpful to have a little guide to understand an emotion and know what to do with it. So here is our first dive into one of these emotions: Sadness. It pulls together lots of research and puts it in a way that we find practical and applicable in life.



It’s time to reflect. You have lost or are about to lose something that is important to you. There is a change in your life and you need to re-adjust. Sadness brings you the gift of time and space.


We have a thought or something happens in our life…

We can feel sadness when we have lost something or we recognize that we might soon lose something (and we don’t believe that we can avoid this loss).

The loss can be:

  • someone we love 
  • something that is important to us (time, a place, an object we value, the esteem of those you care about…)
  • something that has been a big part of us (a relationship, a part of ourselves, a job, a hope, a dream, a part of ourselves like our self-worth, our reputation…)


Or sometimes:

  • Sadness can also signal a period of growth (as we develop ourselves we might lose certain parts of ourself that no longer fit - even if the change is for the better, we may still be letting go of things)


The feeling in our body makes us want to…

Slow downWe may feel drained, tired, a loss of energy and have difficulty concentrating on other things than the source of our sadness.

WithdrawWe may feel passive and like being alone. 

Cry: Tears cleanse our eyes and sinuses and release toxins and tension from our body - once released we feel lighter and freer and more focused.


The purpose of the feeling is to help us…


  • to search for meaning in what is happening 
  • to clarify our values and priorities
  • to validate the importance of what was lost
  • to plan our future life without what we have just lost or about to lose


  • to release that which is no longer there or that no longer serves us
  • to cleanse ourselves from tension so we can feel lighter and freer


  • to get attention and support from those around us
  • to encourage those around us to offer us nurturing and care


Firstly, say it out loud or write down: I feel sad. And it is ok to feel sad. It makes sense I feel sad because I lost or am about to lose something or someone important to me.


Understanding the message in the feeling…

Make sure you really acknowledge and accept it first, then, ask yourself these questions to better understand the feeling of sadness:

  • What have I lost? What might I soon lose?
  • What am I letting go of?
  • What do I need to grieve?
  • What is the gift in this?
  • What does this show me about what’s important to me? About what really matters to me?
  • What does this tell me about my values? My beliefs?
  • Which needs of mine are not being met?
  • What must I release? 

Remember: All feelings have good intentions. Hear them out and let them flow.

If we don’t let ourselves feel sad, we are not letting the feeling flow through us naturally. That which needs to be released then gets stuck within us and either escalates into despair, depression or comes out in random moments. If we let sadness flow through us, joy and serenity naturally follow.

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