4 Steps to Handle Those Random Bouts of Sadness

By Tenley Hardin

If you’re an evolved human being who can connect with his/her feelings, then more often than not, you will discover the derivation of your sadness and deal with it in a healthy manner (i.e. getting to the root cause, expressing the emotion, and releasing it if necessary).
 
But what about those times when sadness arbitrarily shows up with very little warning or cause? What about when we suddenly feel like an emptiness has just invaded our souls? Do we search for its starting point and demand a reason for its presence? Or do we accept that it might be random and simply needs some cajoling in order to be released?
 
Here are 4 steps to handle those random bouts of unexplainable sadness:

  1. Do nothing: That’s right, NOTHING. Sit. Sleep. Cuddle. Crouch in a corner. Watch endless hours of stupid television or movies. Zone out. Just chill. Don’t force yourself to go fix your sadness or somehow “snap out of it.” And anyone who tells you to “get over it” should try doing 1000 jumping jacks completely jet-lagged and then see how fast he/she gets over it, cause that’s often what ‘random sadness’ feels like.
  2. Express yourself: After you start to feel a little more nurtured and a little less mind-numbing ‘blah,’ allow yourself the freedom to truly express whatever thoughts and feelings you’re having. Even if you have no idea why you feel so sad, express it. Write about it. Talk about it. Cry. Scream. Shove inanimate objects. Clench your fists. Punch a pillow. Bottom line: get the energy out of your body.
  3. Choose mood boosting foods, vitamins, oils, and activities: When you’re ready—and we really want to stress this part, because again, if you force it, the sadness will only return with more power than before—eat things like eggs, dark chocolate, yogurt, or honey to regulate your sugar levels and boost serotonin; rub lavender, lemon, or geranium oil on your body to calm and soothe your nerves; do slow activities, such as cleaning, cooking, or going on a light walk to generate some energy and purpose.
  4. Get creative: Create something new. Think of new ideas for businesses, dream of a vacation or a new adventure you’d like to go on, start an art or household project, redesign your bedroom or living room, make up a dance or song—do anything creative to get your brain visualizing again. When we are sad, the creative part of the brain shuts down, making it difficult to imagine something new or positive. But creating something new or interesting can actually activate our imaginations and our sense of hope, in turn releasing mood-boosting hormones.

We won’t always know where sadness comes from, and that’s okay. Sometimes, there’s just no explanation for its presence. Sometimes, we just feel a void, a sense of loss we cannot fully conceptualize. And in those cases, there’s really no need to sit pondering or analyzing why. Instead, move out of it slowly in your own time, comfort, and space. You may find that in doing so, the next time a random bout of sadness emerges, you are far better equipped to release it in a way that works for you. 


Learn more about raising youth's emotional intelligence...