Sadness: causes and solutions

Sadness: causes and solutions

Sadness is a natural human emotion. It is most often a transient condition, benign and without risk. But if this feeling sets in for a long time or worsens, it is important to confide in and / or consult a health professional.


Sadness is an emotion, which reflects emotional pain associated with or characterized by feelings of hopelessness, grief, helplessness and disappointment. It can be manifested by crying, loss of appetite or even loss of vitality. In the most severe cases, sadness can lead to more or less deep lethargy, as well as social isolation.

The causes

The causes of feeling sad are multiple and can vary from one individual to another. Certain crucial stages of life are, for example, classically accompanied by this emotion. These include:

  • the loss of a loved one and the process of deuil which follows, is accompanied by a feeling of deep sadness which disappears with time and acceptance disappears. But this feeling can reappear from time to time when we recall memories;
  • a change of life with great upheavals, such as a move or the end of studies which can be accompanied by sadness in the face of nostalgia for the good times passed;
  • the birth of a child and the hormonal upheavals that it entails can cause a feeling of sadness in many mothers. In many cases, this “baby blues” does not last and disappears in the weeks following childbirth. If it settles more deeply and over time, this is called postpartum depression;
  • or a romantic or friendly break-up, which is experienced as mourning and most often leads to a feeling of sadness.

Note that depression is a severe form of sadness which is accompanied by negative and devaluing thoughts, a feeling of hopelessness and many symptoms, such as loss of sleep, appetite, or even morbid thoughts. The disease settles in a chronic way and must be well differentiated from a temporary “blow of the blues” or the sadness felt in the face of the loss of a loved one, for example.

Evolution and possible complications

The feeling of sadness, even without being associated with depression, can lead to risky behaviors for the affected person, such as:

  • drug or alcohol use;
  • social isolation and loneliness;
  • inactivity or procrastination;
  • or a decrease in appetite.

Treatment and prevention: what solutions?

Everyone can one day or another be confronted, during their life, with experiences or difficult moments which will generate a feeling of sadness. In most cases, this feeling is healthy and will go away with time and with acceptance. However, even though sadness is a normal emotion that we all experience, there are certain things one can do in everyday life that can help limit this feeling. For example :

  • eat a healthy and balanced diet;
  • take care of the quality and quantity of their daily sleep;
  • exercise daily;
  • take the time to relax and unwind through recreational activities;
  • take the time to notice the finer things in life and the little victories it offers;
  • develop their social life and human contacts;
  • share their feelings with someone who cares – such as a relative or close friend. Talking to a professional, such as a doctor or a counselor can also help analyze the origins of this feeling of sadness;
  • or be in contact with Nature during walks in the forest, in a park or during a hike. These simple behaviors have been identified as beneficial for mental and physical health (the Japanese speak of Shinrin-Yoku, literally “forest bath”).

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