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Overcome Sadness: 19 Simple Things You Didn’t Realize You Can Do

Overcome Sadness: 19 Simple Things You Didn’t Realize You Can Do

“Forgiveness does not change the past but it does enlarge the future.” Paul Boese

To overcome sadness, you need to let go of your old stories. You were born happy and you stayed happy until caregivers, teachers and peers unknowingly said unpleasant things to you. Now, new events can trigger these old hurts and thus make you feel more sad than they should. So when you catch yourself thinking about the old unpleasant events, engage in the tips below to overcome sadness.

1. Decide you are ready to let go of the pain, no matter what.

If you don’t make peace with the past, the associated toxic energy will eventually show up as health, weight and mood issues. You might even go to the grave with regrets. Let it go. It’s not worth the misery of bad mental and physical health.

2. Change your attitude towards your situation. You are not your story.

You’re only hurting yourself if you don’t change your attitude. The person who caused you sadness is not in pain, you are.

Your brain can be “rewired” with an attitude change. Dr. Joe Dispenza’s TEDx talk shows you:

  • How old feelings are wired into memories.
  • How the thought of your bad memories triggers stress responses and turns on your disease genes.
  • How changing your negative attitude to compassion can release the old hurts and positively reprogram your brain.

3. Don’t focus on the suffering, focus on the gifts.

If you keep talking about the pain, its impact will be enlarged and you will drive others away with your constant rumination. Holding on to your “dark cloud” will make you lonely and miserable.

Focus on the gifts of the negative experiences instead.

The Universe purposely gave you negative experiences for the evolution of your soul. You are the only one who can make “lemonade” out of your “lemons.” The Universe rewards you with happiness when the lemonade is made. Your story of triumph will inspire others to get out of their sadness.

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4. Exercise, meditate or do yoga to release the sadness.

yoga poses

    Clear the muck from your brain. Whatever exercise and/or mindfulness modality works for you, just do it.

    Here’s an example: When a former boss said something hurtful to me, my mind couldn’t stop replaying the hurt because his criticism triggered a younger “part” of me that held old wounds. So I went to Bikram Yoga (yoga in a 105 degree Fahrenheit room) four days in a row. On the fourth day, during Camel pose, my body shook and I exploded in an “ugly cry.” I knew the shaking and the tears were the boss’s toxicity leaving my body and mind. After class, the negative energy was completely gone and my brain was done thinking about this hurt. I overcame my sadness. The next time I saw this person, I was not triggered.

    5. Watch a funny movie.

    If you are laughing, you can’t be sad. Your brain can only experience one emotion at a time.

    6. Transport yourself back to a happy memory. 

    Whatever you are thinking about will create your feelings. If you think about frolicking on the beach with your family, it will create positive feelings. When a happy memory triggers a smile, you won’t feel sad.

    7. Ask your friends to support you in the letting go process.

    Tell them what you’re going through. Ask them for a neutral perspective. Listen to them and believe what they are saying. You are making the situation worse than it has to be. Your friends will help you see the gifts in the pain. They know you are more than your story. You just have to believe you are more than your story.

    8. Ask your friends to tell you to “Stop it!” every time you bring up old hurts.

    Give your friends permission to say, “STOP!” every time you start to go into the story…again. Ask them to distract you and remind you of happy memories. This will shift you out of your negative state.

    9. Read stories of famous people who have gotten over their past and are thriving.

    a) Nick Vujicic: the man with no arms or legs.

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    b) Jon Morrow: one of the most successful bloggers and blogging mentors. He is a quadriplegic in a wheelchair, who has created a very successful business using only his voice and voice recognition software. There’s no reason for you to feel sad after reading Jon Morrow’s story here.

    c) Click here for more celebrity rags to riches stories.

    10. Watch Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement address.

    Steve Jobs famously said, “You can connect the dots of your life backwards.” He saw the gifts of his negative events and thrived. This video has been watched over 19 million times.

    11. Do something you’ve never done before.

    Guitar lessons, cooking lessons, photography, gardening, “out of the box” adventure vacations, anything. New experiences will get you out of your sad rut and make you feel happy.

    12. Volunteer at soup kitchens, hospitals, shelters, non-profit organizations, etc. 

    “Variety,” “significance” and “contribution” are basic human needs. When you serve others, you will meet new people, make new friends and expand your social circles. You will feel good about contributing to humanity. You won’t have time to think about your sadness when you are making a difference.

    13. Believe that you are worthy of love and happiness.

    When you believe it, you will feel love and happiness. In turn, you will attract loving and happy feelings from others.

    14. Overturn your sad, negative beliefs and make them into positive ones.

    Sad “parts” of our emotional selves hold faulty negative beliefs from old toxic experiences. You may not realize that the original hurts get triggered when you interact with someone who reminds you of the original painful feelings.

    So when someone in your life now makes you feel sad, think back to the first time you felt the sting of not feeling worthy or loved.

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    For example, let’s say you hold a core belief that you are “bad.” Maybe this belief was acquired in second grade when you shamefully stood in the hallway for a time-out. Your classmates made fun of you. That seven-year-old part of you is waiting for you to talk to him or her and tell them that it’s not you who was bad, it was your behavior that was bad.

    You have the power to overturn your acquired faulty belief that you are bad from that second grade incident. Bring your adult self into the scene of that original event. Give your younger self a big hug and let them know that they are awesome and that the other kids didn’t mean any harm. Let them know that they are not bad…it was the behavior that was bad. Tell them the teacher and the other kids do love you. You overreacted because no one was there to reassure you that you are not a bad kid.

    Addressing old hurts through talking to your parts that hold shame, humiliation, worthlessness, etc., will help you overcome the sadness from faulty core beliefs such as, “I’m not lovable, I’m not worthy, I’m not enough.” When you give your younger parts the love and reassurances they needed but that they never got, your dark cloud will lift and you will finally believe that you are worthy of love and happiness.

    You have the power to heal the sadness of your wounded younger parts.

    15. Have compassion for the person who makes you sad. They are a victim of their past too.

    Many of us are victims of victims. These people were more than likely “acting out” from their own wounded parts. They probably had no idea they were hurting you. When you feel compassion towards them and understand where they are coming from, it will be easier to let the hurt go.

    You can’t make the other person change. You can only change yourself by changing the filter through which you see their behavior towards you.

    16. Tell the sad part of you that everything is going to be OK.

    Let this side of yourself know that you are going to overcome the sadness together. Ask the sad part what he or she needs from you to feel happy. Then give it to them.

    17. Look at the sadness from a neutral third-party perspective.

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    overcome sadness through stepping into shoes of other

      Using the above example, step into the point of the triangle as Oprah, the “neutral observer.” From Oprah’s perspective, what is really going on between you and the other person who hurt you? As Oprah, you will be able to see objectively what the situation is really about. It not as bad as you make it out to be.

      18. Step into the shoes of the other person and see from their perspective why they hurt you. 

      You will be able to let go of sad feelings when you step into the shoes of the person who makes you hurt.

      Here are some possible examples of being in your Dad’s shoes:

      • “I loved you very much. I couldn’t show you how much I loved you because your mom would get jealous if I doted on you. I had to hold my feelings back because your mother was not mentally stable.”
      • “I was afraid of your mom because I needed to feel worthy of her love because I was emotionally abused by my Dad. I couldn’t risk losing her love. That’s why I couldn’t show how I really felt about you.”

      Now you see why your Dad makes you sad and why he couldn’t show you love in the way he wanted to. He was “acting out” because he was a victim of his past too. Feeling sorry for him will positively shift your energy.

      Finally, step into the highest place of spirit. What needs to happen between these two people? They need to forgive and show how much they really do love one another.

      19. Write a forgiveness letter to the person who makes you sad.

      Say:

      • I forgive you for…
      • I understand the pains you must have been going through…
      • I understand how you feel…
      • I forgive you. I love you.

      If tears flow out as you write this letter, you are eliminating negative energy. You will feel lighter. You can burn the letter afterwards. This will complete the letting go experience.

      The bottom line:

      To overcome sadness you need to change your thoughts. When you make peace with the past and make “lemonade” out of your “lemons,” you will thrive.

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      Last Updated on January 15, 2021

      7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

      7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

      The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

      Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

      Posture

      First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

      • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
      • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
      • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
      • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

      All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

      Facial Expressions

      Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

      • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
      • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
      • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

      If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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      1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

      A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

      The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

      This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

      2. Relax Your Face

      New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

      The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

      To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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      3. Improve Your Eye Contact

      Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

      The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

      To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

      3. Smile More

      There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

      Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

      4. Hand Gestures

      Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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      It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

      5. Enhance Your Handshake

      In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

      “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

      It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

      6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

      As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

      Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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      Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

      Final Takeaways

      Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

      If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

      More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

      Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

      Reference

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