What To Do When You Feel Sad

How often do you talk about your small problems? You know, the stuff that makes you feel a little bit down, but that doesn’t seem like an actual problem.

Or maybe you just feel a little bit sad, and you’re not even sure what the problem is. You figure it will pass in a day or two, so you don’t mention it to anyone. You ignore it.

Well I’m the same. Sometimes I feel a bit down even though I know that logically everything is great. I feel like I should be happy, because everything seems fine, so I just pretend to be happy and wait for it to pass.

I never really saw the point in talking about it, because…

a) I couldn’t put my finger on what the actual problem was, and
b) I knew it was temporary.

Then one day a wise person taught me something.

I was feeling a bit down. She asked me how I was.

I hesitated for a second and said, “Yeah I’m good.”

Then she said:

“You don’t talk about your feelings much, do you? Do you feel like you should be happy all the time because your job is teaching other people how to be happier?”

It was like a slap in the face. It hadn’t really occurred to me before, but it was true.

I explained that I never really saw the point in talking about feeling sad when I didn’t even know what I felt sad about, and when I knew it would pass on its own.

She told me that the point was this:

Pete from Beard Strokings AvatarIf you talk about it, you feel better faster.

And she was right. We talked about it.

We didn’t actually solve the problem, but I did get a clearer picture of what it was. Or at least the ballpark that it was in.

And that was enough. That was the whole point of talking about it. I felt better.

Even though I didn’t know what the solution was, I knew which area I needed to change something in. It gave me ideas that I could experiment with, and that changed everything.

If we don’t know WHY we feel sad, we don’t know where to direct our energy. So we go round and round in circles in our head. We get stuck… and the faceless sadness keeps coming back.

But if we can just get an idea of where to direct our energy, it almost feels the same as solving the problem. We get unstuck.

That’s why talking about feeling sad is not necessarily about solving your problem. Often it’s just about getting a better idea of what your problem is.

So the next time you feel sad or stressed or de-motivated (even a little bit) without knowing why, and someone asks you how you are… try starting with this:

“Honestly, I feel a bit [fill in the blank] but I don’t really know why.”

They’ll either engage you on that level, or they won’t. But you’ll feel better either way for the simple fact that you’re not pretending to be one hundred percent happy when you aren’t.

Because it’s okay to feel sad.

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