Being sad, for so many of us, has become a habit and not a temporary feeling. Learn more about how to deal with it efficiently.
You should read this article if :
- You have suddenly become disinterested in socializing.
- You get emotional, angry or even end up crying for no apparent reason.
- You’ve stopped caring about stuff that used to interest you.
- You’re sleeping or eating more, or less, than you used to.
- You’re finding it hard to do all the things you used to do (such as work or chores)
In Jonathan Haidt’s book The Happiness Hypothesis, he suggests that the conscious mind is like the rider, and the unconscious mind like the elephant. Modern psychology now firmly believes that as much as he tries, the rider is unable to control the elephant, which means as human beings, we are largely unable to override our unconscious processes. Now, that sounds like some lack of hope for all of us!
Furthermore, Haidt also suggests that “the rider evolved to serve the elephant.” This means that a lot of the conscious explanations we have for our behaviour are largely just serving the purpose of justifying the cognitive processes of the unconscious mind and, it is not the other way around. So the question remains, what happens when the elephant is doing something that the rider doesn’t understand? What happens when it feels like we’re sad for no reason?
This is an important question because there is never ‘no reason’ for your sadness. When people believe they are sad for no reason, it means that either they have yet to identify the reason they feel sad or they have identified the cause but aren’t content with the answer.
It’s perfectly normal to have sadness in your life. Some kinds, however, can be a cause for concern. There are three types of sadness most of us fall into, short-term sadness, triggered sadness, or Depression. Now, Depression needs to be tackled by an expert!
Sometimes, the other two kinds of sadness becomes a comfortable habit to reside in. When the mind focuses on sadness, it becomes comfortable and easier to think negatively and this develops a habit.
Therefore, when the mind, used to being a negative mindset, realizes that there isn’t much to be sad about, it begins to create issues or reasons to be in a ‘sad’ situation, just for the comfort. The mind might become almost scared of happiness and develops the notion that the happiness will go away one fine day and it would take time to get accustomed to the sadness once again. Since it will hurt, the mind does not want to take that chance altogether.
You need to remind yourself that the best cure for sadness is happiness. It is as simple as that! Anything that reduces your ability to build your own happiness must be avoided or altogether, eliminated. You must not try too hard to be happy but develop it as a general demeanor.
Don’t attach your happiness to external rewards or postpone being happy until sometime in the future, as that will become a habit. Don’t expect someone else to make you happy.
Most importantly, don’t equate happiness with momentary pleasure.
The best way to learn a happy demeanor is to spend time with people of the same nature. That is when you naturally inculcate the habit.
It is said that passively accepting your sadness is the same as forgetting to build your own happiness. It is wrong to perceive happiness as just a mood. It’s rather a long-lasting state that is more accurately called well-being. According to Deepak Chopra, “There are practical things you can do to help cultivate it such as: give of yourself; work at something you love; set worthy long-range goals that will take years to achieve; be open-minded; learn from the past and then put it behind you; plan for the future without anxiety, fear or dread; nurture close, warm social bonds; and develop emotional resilience. ”
He goes on to say that, “Developing emotional resilience is perhaps the most important because that’s the ability to bounce back from bad things in your life. How do you encourage it? By being present with your feelings instead of fearing them, by getting past victimization or “poor me” thinking, by making a plan of action when things go wrong and sticking with it, by associating with people who are emotionally mature and seeking counsel from someone who has managed the same kind of crisis that you now face, by focusing on the times you have survived and thrived in the face of tough circumstances, and by appreciating and rewarding yourself for dealing with your difficulties. ”
Therefore, whenever little things bog you down, it is time to remind yourself that emotionally mature happiness is the best way to save yourself from downswings in your mood. Sadness is temporary. It exists, and fades away as well, but what Chopra calls “well-being” can be made to last a lifetime. Since it is just a journey, it doesn’t matter how close or far away we are form how happy we desire to be. Every person has the inner guidance to support themselves, most of the times. What differs a happy person from a sad one is simply committing to that journey and taking those first steps with hope and belief in yourself, rather than waiting for miracles to happen.
With inputs from Deepak Chopra for Oprah (http://www.oprah.com/spirit/why-youre-sad-how-to-stop-being-sad-deepak-chopra)
Feature Image Credits: Unsplash