There is an old African proverb which goes something like this – “when you have no enemy within you, the enemies outside cannot cause you any harm.” So, if you have been keeping sad (chances of which are likely that you have hit on this page), remember the remote control of your emotions is with you, and only you have the power to tune into the happiness channel. In the new age where ‘being positive’ has become a sort of trend with an insane number of self-help gurus lecturing on how to be positive and happy always, truth be faced, it is simply not possible to be positive all the time. All of us once in a while find ourselves sad. Sometimes, that sadness only lasts temporarily, and during other occasions, it could set us back long-term.
Perfectly Imperfect and Imperfectly Perfect Life
In the modern times, saying positive affirmations to oneself has reemerged in the self-help marketplace as the instant solution to kill negativity. However, it is not foolproof and doesn’t seem to work in every situation. For example, just telling yourself to be positive or affirming that you are happy and positive even when you are not is merely forcing yourself into an emotion which is simply not there and in the process, not accepting that the situation as it is.
The first important step is to accept that sadness, just like happiness is a part of life and will leave just as it comes. Our very existence on this planet is to grow and evolve through the various disappointments, challenges, unmet expectations, and frustrations. And in the process, let’s relish all the small pockets of happiness that come by and letting the sadness and negativities fade away. On the contrary, we rather wait for the depression to take its course and pass away on its while become passive in life and hope to overlook our pained emotions by spending hours on the phone, TV or computer.
This way we are actually in constant denial to our actual situation and our pained feelings. And, while you sport a smiling face outward, the soul inside is weeping. We are scared to confront that sadness. However, what makes us do that? The only reason that makes sense here is that perhaps we think we cannot do anything about the sadness that’s lurking deep within. This is precisely where we go wrong and let the pain take its course, sometimes to the point that pushes us to acute depression. In fact, there are beautiful ways to cope with sadness and take back the control of your life.
What are You Sad About?
The first step is to begin by asking yourself what you are sad about? Take an honest look at your life, your current situation and ask yourself – what am I sad about? If you have been sad for quite some time now, try to remember how long have you been harboring the emotions of sadness. Short-term sadness lasts as long as a passing mood, or it can stretch for a few days and up to a week.
Sometimes, we are lost as to why exactly are we sad after all. Often lack of sleep, boredom, monotony, stress and being too sedentary can cause unreasonable sadness. But in such a case the remedy is just straightforward. Retire for the night early and get yourself more sleep so you can wake up refreshed and naturally feel positive, ready to start a new day. Do things to lower stress – catch up with close friends, do yoga and more importantly, break up from your daily routine.
At times, the reason for sadness is more severe, like the death of someone close, loss of a job or a painful break-up. These extreme situations often throw-us over, and you fall into the well of deepening sadness which prolongs itself to a variable length of time. This is the time when we should become open to get some outside help, be it from someone close you trust, a counselor or a life-skills or spiritual guide to guide you through the difficult phase.
When we are not able to cope with our sadness, depression can kick in. If you feel helpless, hopeless, sad, drained and unable to sleep for some time, you are most likely depressed. We often try to hide this sadness by trying to derive pleasure by overeating especially unhealthy, junk foods or through sex or resort to drinking alcohol or take drugs. We begin equating these momentary pleasures with happiness and indulge more and more in these things. While all of these will temporarily set us free, but addiction to any of this can cause more harm than good. While depression can be mild to acute and can vary from person to person, seeking the guidance of a psychiatrist is the best thing you could do to yourself in such a circumstance.
The Happiness Prescription
If you fall into the first two categories, you can take back the charge of your own life by following a few simple steps. Begin with the fact in mind that there is no better time to be happy, now is the time, always and neither is your happiness dependent on someone else. Why give someone or something else that power when the power to be happy lies right with you? Happiness is not a passing mood but a long-lasting state of well-being that sets you free emotionally and brings along peace of mind and contentment.
So, dedicate yourself to something you love doing, nurture close and meaningful bonds with people and learn from your past but live in your present planning positively for the future, keeping behind anxiety, dread or fear. Focus on the times where you emerged a survivor and take inspiration from your own life. Bond with emotionally mature people and seek counsel from ones who have managed similar crises in their lives. Take charge of your life rather than falling victim to it and keep a plan B for a dear project that could go wrong.
Monitor the self-talk or the thoughts that go on in your head throughout the day. Pay attention and make a serious attempt to maneuver your brain to the right thoughts every time you catch yourself with less than positive thoughts. You can get some professional guidance on meditation and yoga to help you with the process of getting into the positivity loop, beneficial both for the mind and the body. Begin journaling and maintain a daily gratitude book. As you enlist the things that you are thankful for every day of your life, you will see how your thought pattern, your way of looking at life and your vision changes. As you work on developing yourself for long-term happiness, you will eventually insulate yourself from the sadness triggered by mood swings and small hurts. Gradually, we learn to break out of the habit of depression. This is when you know you have begun your journey of happiness.