How Not to Be Sad: 9 Tips for Managing the Emotion

A sad man
A sad man

The aim isn’t to now no longer experience unhappy; it’s to recognize what’s inflicting the unhappiness and study and develop from it.

moving your attitude to step out of unhappiness


Strategies to address disappointment while it suggests up (like transferring your angle and taking breaks) permit you to sense much less overwhelmed.

Sadness is the emotion we revel in whilst we come across a few sort of loss. It may be a tough emotion to sense. “But the purpose need to now no longer be to stay a lifestyles freed from unhappiness,” says Ethan Kross, PhD, a professor of psychology and control on the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, who research emotion and self-control.

Like all emotions, disappointment facilitates us apprehend our actions, our behaviour, and ourselves.

“The paintings is surely approximately being with unhappiness,” says Deb Dana, LCSW, a psychotherapist in Kennebunkport, Maine, who makes a speciality of complicated trauma. You need to permit your self to pay attention to what’s inflicting your disappointment and apprehend why it’s making you sense unhappy, which she says will assist you study from it and parent out what to do subsequent.

To do that, you want techniques to tolerate the sensation with out getting stuck.

“The truly excellent information is that we realize that there are many, many stuff that human beings can do to control unhappiness,” Dr. Kross says. But he says you ought to recognize there’s no one-size-fits-all; you can want to attempt some unique tactics to discover what works for you.

Here are equipment intellectual fitness specialists propose you strive whilst you experience unhappy.

nine Tips for Coping When You Feel Sad

1. Shift Your Perspective

We mistakenly assume we’re doing a higher process while we can’t sense unhappiness, says Steven C. Hayes, PhD, a professor of psychology on the University of Nevada in Reno who evolved Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

Instead, Dr. Hayes says unhappiness may be a beneficial emotion that offers records approximately what’s happening, just like the oil mild in your car’s dashboard. “It does not make feel to show off the sensor, and that is what we are doing all of the time,” he says.

When you sense unhappy, adopting this attitude can contextualize unhappiness and extrade the way you consider the sensation. This is an evidence-primarily based totally emotion law approach that psychology researchers name cognitive reappraisal, which entails reframing the way you see a state of affairs to make it much less distressing.

2. Cultivate Mindfulness

What can’t mindfulness assist with? It’s a extensively prescribed approach due to the fact it's far a profoundly useful method, Hayes says. Think of mindfulness as flexible, fluid, and voluntary interest to anything your present day scenario is (or the problem you’re seeking to be aware approximately), he explains.

Practicing mindfulness permit you to cope higher with a number of hard emotions, in keeping with Mayo Clinic. In a massive have a look at withinside the September 2022 Behaviour Research and Therapy that analyzed nonpharmocological intellectual fitness interventions, Hayes stated he and his group located that a majority of methods which have been connected to fine intellectual fitness results will be defined as mental flexibility and mindfulness.

Studies display that mindfulness can assist with disappointment, in particular. A have a look at posted withinside the April 2017 Behaviour Research and Therapy of 171 humans discovered that once mindfulness schooling, humans had been higher capable of adjust unhappy moods through the years than with different techniques (like suppressing the ones feelings). Those who acquired a reappraisal education have been additionally higher capable of alter unhappy temper over the years.

3. Try the 3-N Approach

When you experience unhappy, it could assist to paintings thru the sensation the usage of a three-step process, Dana says:




Noticing attracts for your potential to pick out the way you’re feeling, which is based at the capacity regarded in psychology as interoception. A have a look at withinside the January 2022 Journal of Psychosomatic Research related interoceptive attention competencies to stepped forward emotional law.

Naming method placing phrases in your feeling of unhappiness. A paper posted withinside the April 2018 Emotion Review argued that this method, on occasion known as have an effect on labeling, promotes emotional law and decreases self-said unhappiness.

Finally, Dana says you may normalize disappointment via way of means of connecting with others. She says you may additionally concentrate to stories, read, or watch TV. “Sadness held in aggregate with others is a completely unique revel in from unhappiness in isolation,” she notes.

4. Inspire Awe

When you ponder some thing vast, like a lovely view, it ends in a phenomenon referred to as the shrinking of the self, which Kross says may be an powerful emotional law method to address unhappiness (amongst different difficult emotions).

In a have a look at posted in 2022 in Emotion, older adults who took weekly 15-minute “awe walks” — for which they had been requested to stroll someplace new (if possible) and had been given short commands on the way to faucet into their experience of wonder (including through experiencing novelty and vastness) — said reduced emotional distress.

5. Time Travel

Many research, which includes studies posted in Emotion in 2022, endorse that temporal distancing, which takes place whilst you undertake a retrospective (seeking to the beyond) or prospective (searching ahead) factor of view, can assist lessen terrible emotions, consisting of disappointment.

When you experience unhappy, Kross recommends trying to the beyond to bear in mind the way you treated comparable adversity. Traveling ahead in time is powerful, too. He says it is able to assist to ponder the way you’ll sense approximately your instances down the street whilst you’re transferring on together along with your existence.

6. Take a Break

Sometimes the satisfactory element to do while you’re unhappy is to take time to regroup temporarily, says Kross. It’s now no longer avoidance (which generally isn’t a very good method to dealing with unhappiness), Kross explains. It’s taking a quick beat to chill off earlier than coming again to hard feelings, he says.

Research shows distraction may be an powerful emotion law method even if carried out a while after a unhappy event.

Kross says that taking a smash lets in the depth of unhappiness to subside. “When we go back to the problem, we've extra attitude to manipulate it,” he says.

7. Try the 20-Second Rule

To construct your capability to be with unhappiness in preference to sense hijacked via way of means of it, Dana shows which you exercise turning in the direction of the sensation for 20 seconds, then returning on your day.

This exercise, in which you “song in and maintain going,” makes it simpler to be with unhappiness through the years. “It’s the lower back-and-forth that creates the ability to now no longer drown in unhappiness,” she says.

The 20-2d rule can assist set up a feel of protection withinside the frame and brain, which a few emotion studies posted in May 2022 in Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience cautioned is foundational to emotional wellness.

8. Look for the Glimmers

Dana says that spotting that all of us have the integrated capacity to revel in “a micro-second of okay-ness” may be beneficial whilst you are withinside the midst of deep struggling and disappointment.

To do this, she encourages you to search for instances “whilst some thing else is there” further to the unhappiness, which she calls “glimmers,” in her ee-e book approximately emotional law Polyvagal Exercises for Safety and Connection.

Looking for glimmers “doesn’t imply the unhappiness is going away,” Dana says, “It way that I even have the capability for both.”

9. Take Action

Since unhappiness pertains to loss, Hayes says the sensation can function a opposite compass, pointing closer to what topics to you. He says that the opposite compass can manual movement that facilitates you stay a “extra crucial lifestyles” withinside the present.

For example, you could experience unhappy due to the fact you cherished to dance, however you’re growing old and feature misplaced the capacity to do it. Hayes says you may use the opposite compass method to do so that honors your love for dance, including elevating cash for a dance troupe.

The subsequent time you’re unhappy, remember what its purpose shows you care deeply approximately, Hayes says. “If you've got got the ability to transport your foot one step in addition in that path metaphorically, take it.”


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