It’s Okay to Feel Sad Sometimes

Written by on October 2, 2017 in Emotional Mastery, Self-Care

Its Okay to Feel Sad Sometimes

If we’re honest with ourselves, every one of us feels sad from time to time, and that’s okay.

Whether or not we recognize it at the time, sadness is always triggered by something.

Maybe a song sparks memories of an especially happy time or a lost love, a choice you’d give anything to go back in time and change, a particularly painful failure, or unfulfilled dreams and goals.

It could even be another in a seemingly never-ending string of tragic news stories that reminds you sometimes life isn’t fair and bad things do happen to good people.

What matters most is accepting that sadness (unlike depression) is a normal human emotion.

Allow Yourself to Feel Sad

For many of us, it’s tempting to push these feelings aside, telling ourselves to just shake it off because we’re far too busy to waste time feeling sorry for ourselves.

And if all else fails, there’s, “Cheer up, after all, others have it much worse than you do!”

That may well be true, however, your ability to feel emotion is an important part of who you are and suppressing what you perceive to be negative or unproductive feelings not only invalidates your emotions, it erodes self-esteem and according to research could actually shorten your life.

A study conducted by experts at Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Rochester revealed that the risk of premature death from all causes increases by an average of 35% among those who suppress their feelings. Of even greater concern was that when researchers looked at specific causes of death they discovered that the risks increased by 47% for heart disease and 70% for cancer. While research is ongoing and there is still much to be learned, early findings indicate that the consequences of bottling up emotions are far more series than originally thought.

Ref: Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Rochester Journal of Psychosomatic Research study on emotions Emotion Suppression and Mortality Risk

Emotions and Resilience

Our emotions are the most present, vital and sometimes painful force in our lives. They dictate our thoughts, intentions, and actions, allow you to feel the pain of grief and joy of happiness.

Emotions are the glue that gives meaning to life and connects you to other people, and the ability to understand and manage them is a key characteristic of highly resilient people.

This makes perfect sense if you think about it because emotions are the primary drivers of our initial response to life’s trials, especially change, uncertainty, stress, and adversity.

So the more self-aware and confident you are in your abilities to handle whatever life happens to throw at you, the easier it becomes to process emotions and respond to challenges in a healthy and productive way.

It’s okay to feel sad. It’s not the end of the world. Everyone has those days when you doubt yourself, and when you feel like everything you do sucks, but then there are those days when you feel like Superman. It’s just the balance of the world.
~Mac Miller

Closing Thoughts

Try to remember it is part of being human and rather than burying them take the time you need to work through your feelings.

More often than not, this elusive dark cloud passes quickly, but if you need to take a couple days to work through it or have a huge cry, that really is okay, do it!

Journaling, drawing, writing, and talking through your feelings with trusted others are all great ways to process sadness, and anything that serves to acknowledge and validate your emotions can’t help but make you feel better about yourself in the process. 

Related reading:
Will you be the passenger or the driver in your life journey?
About Marquita A. Herald

Marquita Herald

Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.

She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.

To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living Start Here.

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22 Reader Comments

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  1. Hi Marquita,
    A very thoughtful article. We all have our bad days and feel sad.
    It may be something that you remember or just a certain song. I just feel it and soon it just fades into the background. I have much to be grateful for and write it in a daily journal. I think this paragraph sums up your article. “So the more self-aware and confident you are in your abilities to handle whatever life happens to throw at you, the easier it becomes to process emotions and respond to challenges in a healthy and productive way.”
    Kathryn Maclean recently posted…AirTable for your Business OrganizationMy Profile

  2. Ruth Bowers says:

    For me, I find it helps to work through the sadness if I have something constructive to do. When I’m feeling really sad my piano becomes my best friend, and I just play until I work through the feelings. Thanks for a great read Marquita!
    Ruth Bowers recently posted…Confidence Challenge Day 21: Kindness and Generosity as Tools for Building ConfidenceMy Profile

  3. I’m glad you can recognize that Joy because it is so important to understand and accept our feelings and emotions. Thanks for sharing with us. 🙂

  4. Beautifully said Edward. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

  5. Joy Healey says:

    What a great article, I had been feeling selfish because I have had a bit of a disappointment, so felt sad.

    My son gently admonished me that I have so much to be grateful for, and of course he is absolutely right.

    But the “feeling sad” was also the trigger for reminding myself how much I have to feel happy about too.

    Joy Healey – Blogging After Dark
    Joy Healey recently posted…Cash Back Stores From Global Shopping RewardsMy Profile

  6. Edward Thorpe says:

    Hi Marquita,

    To be human is to sometimes be sad. While it’s unhealthy to wallow in that feeling, it’s also important we accept and acknowledge them.

    Having suffered great sadness that never completely passes, I’ve found allowing the fond memories float into that chasm, helps, as mentioned by Jeannette Paladino.

    If you live long enough, you know pain & loss. In an odd way, it makes life sweeter.

    As Dr. Seuss supposedly said,
    “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” Thanks for a thoughtful read,
    Edward Thorpe recently posted…Synthetic Plastic Microbits Pouring Out Of Municipal Tap WaterMy Profile

  7. Taiwo Emayosanlomo says:

    Hi Marquita,

    Thanks for your answer. I now understand better.
    Taiwo Emayosanlomo recently posted…5 Reasons You Should Stop WorryingMy Profile

  8. Sharon T McLaughlin MD FACS says:

    Thanks for sharing. I love the study reference, I believe it.
    Sharon T McLaughlin MD FACS recently posted…Ever Skin Care ReviewMy Profile

  9. Thank you for contributing to the conversation Erika, always value your thoughtful insights. 🙂

  10. Glad you found value in the post, Taiwo. As to your questions. Since we are each different and sadness is triggered by something specific there really is no set timeline, it may last a few minutes or if we still need to find closure it could go on for a couple of days. Where people often get confused is by using the term sadness in place of mourning, grief or depression – all very different experiences. For example, you asked about when sadness becomes abnormal. When you are sad about something you can still enjoy other things … time with friends and family, a good movie, etc. When the feeling affects every area of your life, leaving you feeling numb with no trigger or reason you can identify, and it goes on for days if not weeks … then we’re talking depression and it’s time to seek help. Hope that answers your questions. Thanks for stopping by!

  11. Beautifully said Jeannette!

  12. Thank you for sharing your story with us RoseMary! Wonderful example. 🙂

  13. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us Mark, always value your thoughtful insights. 🙂

  14. Identifying the trigger makes a huge difference, doesn’t it? It helps you to own the feelings and that’s when the healing really begins. Thank you so much for contributing to the conversation Donna. 🙂

  15. I’m so glad you found value in the post Phoenicia. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, always appreciated. 🙂

  16. Everybody has times when he feels sad but good to know that we can change this with our thinking. Who really wants to be sad if he can be joyful? A good way to wash sadness away is being grateful.It is our choice.
    But also as Carl Jung said:
    “The word ‘happy’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.”
    Thank you, for your as always beautiful article
    Erika Mohssen-Beyk recently posted…Who Needs To Be The Ruler Of Your Marvelous Mind?My Profile

  17. Taiwo Emayosanlomo says:

    Hi Marquita,

    Thanks for this great post.
    I can’t agree more with your assertions.

    It is OK to feel sad.

    Just as darkness creates value for light, so also sadness gives credibility go happiness.

    If we didn’t experience sadness, how can we value happiness.

    I so much agree that sadness is a normal human emotion, how long should sadness last? When does sadness becomes abnormal?

    I look forward to your answer to my questions.


  18. Although I had lost people before, when my cousin Davey was killed at age 35, I learned then what true, deep, and seeminly endless grief was about. His death also taught me that when the waves of grief hit, I had better give into them and roll with it or the emotions would get even more intense and difficult.

    Given our current political situation and now the senseless deaths in Vegas, your blog is so important–we have to learn to cope with our grief or let it devour us.

  19. Mark says:

    Thanks (as always!) M for sharing some more excellent advice!

    And sadly, I suspect, as you’ve pointed out, this is a much bigger problem, than many of us, (myself) definitely included, are willing to acknowledge!

    And probably for all the wrong reasons. It’s good to know, we don’t have to add, nor carry extra emotional baggage around, trying to mask the real truth!

    Thanks so much, for being brave enough, to unmask and discuss, this inconvenient truth! We are all, definitely too familiar with!
    Mark recently posted…Lead Generation Strategies: Why Your Most Effective Ones Can’t Be Ignored!Part TwoMy Profile

  20. Jeannette Paladino says:

    I agree that it’s OK to feel sad because that can trigger memories of happier times in the past. Today is the eighth anniversary of my husband’s passing, so your post is very timely. I’m sad he’s gone, of course, but I’m looking at a picture of him and me together right now with big smiles on our faces. It’s on my desk and a constant reminder of all the happy times we had together.

  21. Hi Marquita,

    I used to be so good at masking my sadness. Years back I thought I had to always keep a happy face on and sadness was not acceptable. Much different than depression, sadness now is something I do accept.

    When we accept our sadness, we can look at that trigger and think of what happened to us that makes us sad.

    There is a commercial with a song that I hear and it immediately makes me sad, so much so, that I find that I have to turn off the TV when it is on.

    Enough! I said to myself. What the heck is this about. As I relaxed and meditated it took me back to a moment in time and I realized why it made me feel so sad. Now I can listen to it feel a little sadness, but appreciate the feeling.

    Donna Merrill recently posted…Too Busy For Personal Growth?My Profile

  22. Phoenicia says:

    Wonderful article Marquita and the timing is spot on.

    We can often feel the need to pretend we are fine and hide our sadness. Perhaps because we do not want to burden others or through fear of not being accepted. The first step to healing is to acknowledge our feelings whether good or ugly. The second step is to accept we own our feelings and are responsible for choosing not to act out on them if it is not appropriate to do so.
    Phoenicia recently posted…Wait joyfully or miserably- it is your choice!My Profile