Everyone feels sad sometimes, just like everyone can feel joyful, proud, angry and plenty of other emotions. In other words, everyone has feelings, and those feelings are always changing. Sometimes we feel happy and sometimes we feel sad, whatever the feeling, it is real and part of living.
When we talk about sadness, we use different words like hurt, agony, sorrow, anguish, broken heart, dejection, dismay, homesickness, distress, unhappiness and more. All these emotions are a response to a negative situation.
Sadness is also often a result of another feeling, such as hopelessness, anxiety, anger, stress, guilt or grief. Sometimes, the other feeling may be so strong that you don’t realize you are sad.
So what does sadness feel like? It may change how you feel physically, perhaps you have a headache or a stomachache, or you can’t sleep.
Sadness may also change how you feel emotionally. Perhaps you are teary, grumpy, bored or frustrated, or just keen to avoid other people, but recognizing your sadness, and understanding that it is okay to feel sad, is a sign of a stable sense of wellbeing.
When you face these situations, you may have negative or unhelpful thoughts about your sadness, and those thoughts can make you feel worse.
Feeling better can involve taking one step or many. It may happen quickly or over a long time. Just remember that emotions ebb and flow, and you can move through sadness to a more positive emotion. First, acknowledge that you are feeling sad, then, look at ways to deal with your sadness.
Feeling sad does not mean you have depression, but if your mood starts to interrupt your life and how you function, then you may have become depressed. Key differences between sadness and clinical depression related to the cause for the change in mood and how long you have felt that way.
If your mood relates to a recent event, such as a relationship breakup, then you may well be feeling sadness. But if that breakup was months ago, or you can see no clear reason for your change in mood, you could be depressed, and it might be helpful for you to chat to your doctor about what’s causing you to feel the way you do.
Here are the differences between sadness and depression.
- is part of life’s regular ups and downs, but it is not constant
- is a common reaction to an upset or setback, and is usually not a cause for worry
- is interrupted by times of laughter and contentment
- is an emotion that can involve negative thoughts but does not usually involve suicidal thoughts.
- is a longer term feeling (more than two weeks) of severe sadness and other symptoms. These symptoms may include low energy, sleeplessness, pessimism, concentration problems, loss of hope, concentration problems, suicidal thoughts and appetite issues.
- has complicated causes, which may involve biological or genetic components. can lead to sleep disruption or significant weight change.
- is mentally painful and can be life-altering.