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How to Stop Being Sad and Start Feeling Happy

How to Stop Being Sad and Start Feeling Happy

We live in a society where it is important to fit in. Leading a positive and happy life is highly valued and feeling sad or “blue” about life is not so valued. As a result, we are constantly trying to always be positive and happy. In our minds there is no room for sadness.

This is not a realistic way to live life.

Telling yourself to be positive is no help to you because your sadness when it hits you has a life of its own. Keeping up an impression of positivity and happiness when you are feeling sad is draining and hard work. If anything this charade will intensify your feelings of sadness, and you will struggle to find the pathway that will lead you to living a happy, resilient life.

I believe that sadness is a base line feeling that feeds into all of our other feelings such as anger, frustration and fear. The deeper we bury the feeling of sadness the harder it is to feel happy.

“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.” Carl Jung

The 5 key strategies below are practical ways for you to successfully manage sadness in your life so you that can have a life that flows with happiness.

1. Recognize Your Type of Sadness

There are 3 types of sadness that most of us fall into:

Short-Term Sadness

This is a passing mood that may last anything from a day to a week. Sometimes there is a reason for this feeling but sometimes there is not.

Generally lack of sleep, no physical activity and excess stress are associated with this sadness.

The best approach to dealing with this sadness is to lower your stress level by having a few nights of great sleep, getting active by doing some exercise and looking at ways to break up your routine.

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Pampering your self, going for a massage, reducing alcohol intake and eating healthy food are effective ways to manage short-term sadness.

Trigger Sadness

This feeling of sadness has been activated as a result of a traumatic event that has happened to you, such as the death of someone close to you, losing your job, divorce or financial ruin.

This feeling of sadness can make you feel helpless and vulnerable and it does not go away overnight. The key to managing trigger sadness is looking for ways to support you to process these feelings and not bury them.

One way for you to manage these deep feelings of sadness is to talk about and share your feelings with someone who can console you, support you and counsel you. Having a supportive network of family and friends is key to you managing your feelings of sadness.

It is also wise to get professional support such as a councillor or therapist to guide you through practical steps to processing your feelings of sadness.

Along with these key actions and actively working on reducing the general stress levels in your life, you will find that after a period of 3 to 6 months, you will be back at a baseline feeling of happiness. This is where you start to rebuild and strengthen your foundations in life – your physical, spiritual and emotional wellbeing.

Depression

If you feel sad, hopeless, helpless, unable to eat or sleep and have no energy for a period of time of more than one month or two, then you are likely to feeling depressed.

Depression is usually set off as a result of event that usually you would cope with. However, for some reason, your coping mechanism has broken down.

Depression is complicated and it can vary from person to person. If you have these feelings, then it is wise that you seek the advice of a doctor.

The strategies presented in the rest of this article can along with specialist support enable you to live a happy fulfilled life.

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2. Identify What Happiness Means To You

“Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.”  — Mary Anne Roadacher-Hershey

Happiness is the only cure for sadness. There is no other cure that works better. It sounds so easy to say however it is not so easy to achieve.

At its most basic level, happiness is a feeling that comes about as a result of us doing things in our lives that we love to do.

So if we are feeling sad, then we should take action and activities that brings a joy such as catching up with a friend, going for a walk, getting a massage, goimg out to dinner, going to the movies, or hiding away to read a good book. The list of activities that we can do that make us feel happy is extensive.

The first thing you need to do is identify what activities that you do or would like to do that bring you joy and make you feel happy.

When we feel sad, we are more likely to want to withdraw and not do anything. We tend to disengage from everything that is going on around us.

The only way we can start to feel happy is to take action and start doing things.

We can never avoid the feelings of sadness, hurt or disappointment. However, we can deal with them in constructive ways that will help avoid excessive suffering.

It is so important to know what happiness means to you because when you know this, you will have meaning and purpose in your life. This is what brings to your life the feeling of happiness and the experiences of joy.

3. Commit To Practising These 3 Actions of Happiness Daily

When you are feeling sad, you are more likely to want to avoid people.

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These 3 actions of happiness are very practical ways in which you take action to move away from feeling sad to feeling more joyous. All it takes is for you make a choice, take action and commit to consistently doing these actions of happiness.

Gratitude

Expressing gratitude on a daily basis and actively appreciating those people in your life who are important to you are very simple yet, powerful actions that will take you from a place of sadness to a more joyful place.

Acceptance

Accepting the things that you cannot change and acting on the things that you can change are key to you finding joy and peace in your life. Once you acknowledge the reality of your situation, you can then plan to take effective action that will enable you to move forward to a better place in your life.

Acts of Kindness

When you are feeling sad, your focus is very inward at self. Helping others is a great way to feel better about you. It is often the spontaneous acts of kindness that give us the most joy.

The more we help others and the more we interact and engage with people the less we tend to withdraw and focus inwardly on our feelings of sadness.

Happiness and joy are external feelings that need to be shared with others and an act of kindness is an effective way for us to share and feel joy with others.

4. Commit To Cultivating Your Personal Wellbeing

When you accept sadness in your life, your personal wellbeing will suffer.

Happiness is more than a feeling; it is a longer lasting state that is called your wellbeing. Your wellbeing encompasses your state of your mind, body and emotions.

When all is in balance, then you will experience contentment and peace of mind. You are more emotionally agile and physically resilient; and therefore more effective at managing the challenges that life will throw at you.

Commit to making your wellbeing your top priority in your life. When you do this you become more effective at managing sadness in your life.

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5. Eliminate The Phrase – I Will Be Happy When…..

Sudden happiness does not exist and the phrase “I will be happy when…” indicates that happiness comes when you get what it is you believe will make you happy.

Many people think that if they win the Lottery, then they will be happy – this is not true. In a consumer driven society of today, it is easy to fall into the trap of comparing your happiness to the material gains and success of others.

Be careful that you don’t equate happiness with momentary pleasure because if you do, you will eventually feel conflicted and discontent. It is these feelings will take you to a place of sadness.

Final Thoughts

Focus on looking for ways where you create a life where happiness is a feeling that you have total responsibility for – no one else, just you.

When you have created a life where you have attained this, then the phrase “I will be happy when…” is eliminated from your vocabulary.

How sad we feel and the reasons why we feel sad is different for everyone. The one thing we all have in common however, is that it is impossible for us to go from feeling sad to feeling happy instantly.

The above five strategies are practical ways that support you to manage your feelings of sadness where you are in control and empowered to choose to how you want to feel and how you want to live your life. Let’s hope you choose – happiness.

“If you look to others for fulfilment, you will never be fulfilled. If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself. Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the world belongs to you.” — Lao Tzu

More Articles About Pursuing Happiness

Featured photo credit: Brittani Burns via unsplash.com

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Kathryn Sandford

Career Resilience Coach passionate about supporting others to grow and thrive in a complex world.

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Last Updated on April 14, 2021

How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

We all lose our temper from time to time, and expressing anger is actually a healthy thing to do in our relationships with others. Expressing our differences in opinion allows us to have healthy conflict and many times come to an agreement or understanding that works for everyone. However, there are times when anger can become overwhelming or damaging, and during these times, it’s important to learn how to deal with anger.

Expressing anger inappropriately can be harmful to relationships, both personal and professional. You may express too much anger, too often, or at times that are only going to make things worse, not better. In this article we will look at anger management techniques that will help you better control your emotions.

Let’s take a deeper look at how to deal with anger.

Expressing Anger

Anger is a natural and normal part of almost any relationship. This includes relationships with your significant other, kids, boss, friends, family, etc. Anger provides us with valuable information if we are willing to listen to it. It clues us in to areas where we disagree with others and things that need to be changed or altered.

Unhealthy Ways to Express Anger

Here are some common yet unhealthy ways to express anger that you should avoid:

Being Passive-Aggressive

This is a term many of us are familiar with. Passive-aggressive behavior happens when someone is angry but uses indirect communication to express their anger.

Some of the more common passive-aggressive behaviors include the silent treatment, making comments about someone behind their back, being grumpy, moody, or pouting, or simply not doing tasks or assignments that they should.

This is a passive-aggressive person’s way of showing their anger. It’s not very productive but extremely common.

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Poorly-Timed

Some people get overwhelmed and express anger in a situation where it can’t really do any good.

An example would be getting angry at one person in front of a crowd of people. All that does is make people uncomfortable and shuts them down. It’s not a healthy way to express anger or disagreement with someone.

Ongoing Anger

Being angry all the time is most often a symptom of something else. It’s healthy and normal to express anger when you disagree with someone. However, if someone is angry most of the time and always seems to be expressing their anger to everyone around them, this won’t serve them well.

Over time, people will start to avoid this person and have as little contact as possible. The reason being is no one likes being around someone who is angry all the time; it’s a no-win situation.

Healthy Ways to Express Anger

What about the healthy ways[1] to adapt? When learning how to deal with anger, here are some healthy ways to get you started.

Being Honest

Express your anger or disagreement honestly. Be truthful about what it is that is making you angry. Sometimes this will entail walking away and thinking about it for a bit before you respond.

Don’t say you’re mad at something someone did or said when it’s really something else that upset you.

Being Direct

Similar to being honest, being direct is a healthy way to express anger.

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Don’t talk around something that is making you angry. Don’t say that one thing is making you angry when it’s really something else, and don’t stack items on top of each other so you can unload on someone about 10 different things 6 months from now.

Be direct and upfront about what is making you angry. Ensure you are expressing your anger to the person who upset you or you are angry at, not to someone else. This is very counterproductive.

Being Timely

When something makes you angry, it’s much better to express it in a timely manner. Don’t keep it bottled up inside of you, as that’s only going to do more harm than good.

Think of the marriages that seem to go up in flames out of nowhere when the reality is someone kept quiet for years until they hit their breaking point.

Expressing anger as it occurs is a much healthier way of using anger to help us guide our relationships in the moment.

How to Deal With Anger

If you feel angry, how should you deal with it right at that moment?

1. Slow Down

From time to time, I receive an email at work that makes me so angry that steam is probably pouring out of my ears.

In my less restrained moments, I have been known to fire off a quick response, and that typically has ended about as well as you might imagine.

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When I actually walk away from my computer and go do something else for a while, I am able to calm down and think more rationally. After that happens, I am able to respond in a more appropriate and productive manner. Doing things that helps you learn how to release anger can make an uncomfortable situation more manageable before it gets out of hand.

2. Focus on the “I”

Remember that you are the one that’s upset. Don’t accuse people of making you upset because, in the end, it’s your response to what someone did that really triggered your anger. You don’t want to place blame by saying something like “Why don’t you ever put away your dishes?” Say something more like “Having dirty dishes laying on the counter upsets me—can you work with me to come to a solution?”

When you are accusatory towards someone, all that does is increase the tension. This doesn’t usually do anything except make your anger rise higher.

3. Work out

When learning how to deal with anger, exercise is a great outlet. If something happens that angers you, see if you have the opportunity to burn off some of the anger.

Being able to hit the gym to get a hard workout in is great. If this isn’t an option, see if you can go for a run or a bike ride. If you are at work when you become angry and the weather permits, at least go outside for a brisk walk.

Besides working some of your anger out through exercise, this also helps to give your mind a chance to work through some ways to address what it is that upset you.

If you’re not sure where to start with an exercise routine, check out Lifehack’s free Simple Cardio Home Workout Plan.

4. Seek Help When Needed

There are times when we could all use some help. Life can be stressful and overwhelming. It’s perfectly fine to seek some help from a mental health professional if it will help you get back to a healthy balance.If you find that you are angry all the time, it might be a good idea to go talk to an expert about learning to control intense emotions. They can give you some sound advice and ideas on how to get your anger to a more manageable and healthy level.

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5. Practice Relaxation

We all seem to lead incredibly busy lives, and that’s a good thing if we are loving the life we are living. That being said, it is very beneficial to our physical and mental well-being to take time out for relaxation.

That can mean spending time doing things that help us calm down and relax, like being around people we enjoy, practicing deep breathing or listening to music. It could be making time for things that help bring us balance like a healthy diet and physical activity.

Many people incorporate techniques such as yoga and meditation to calm their minds and release tension when learning how to deal with anger. Whatever your choice is, ensure you take time out to relax when warning signs of anger start to bubble up.

6. Laugh

Incorporating humor and laughter on a regular basis will help keep anger in check and help you get over a bad mood and feelings of anger more quickly. This isn’t part of formal anger management techniques, but you’ll be surprised by how well it works. Remember, life is a journey that’s meant to be enjoyed fully along the way through healthy emotion. Make sure you take time to laugh and have fun.Surround yourself with people that like to laugh and enjoy life. Don’t work at a job that just causes you stress, which can lead to anger. Work at something you enjoy doing.

7. Be Grateful

It’s easy to focus on the bad in life and the things that cause us negative emotions. It’s vitally important to remind ourselves of all the wonderful things in life that bring us positive emotions, things that we easily forget because we get caught up in the whirlwind of day to day life.

Take time out each day to remind yourself of a few things you are grateful for in order to help you learn how to release anger and invite in more positive feelings.

Final Thoughts

Life can be overwhelming at times. We seem to have constant pressure to achieve more and to always be on the go. People we are around and situations we are in can cause stress, anger, and negative emotions. At times, it can seem to be too much, and we get angry and our emotions start to get out of control.

During these times, keep in mind that life is an incredible journey, full of wonder and things that bring you joy. When you find yourself angry more often than is healthy, take time out to remember the good things in life—the things that we seem to forget yet bring us so much positive energy and emotions.

Use some of the tips included here to help with how to deal with anger and better control your emotions.

More Resources on Anger Management

Featured photo credit: Andre Hunter via unsplash.com

Reference

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