Sadness has its own virtues! Read on how.
Homo Sapiens is an interesting species with moods as varied as the colors of a rainbow. At one moment they are on cloud nine and the next they feel down in the dumps! It would be no exaggeration to say that we the humans are the moody species. It is not just in today’s time when sadness and bad moods have become an intrinsic part of our day-to-day life; even ages ago they very much existed in our lives. The only difference now is that we either ignore or devalue such feelings of sadness or bad mood.
In today’s world, the majority of the people treat temporary sadness like an ailment or a disorder. True, we must strive to be happy but at the same time, we must embrace the feeling of temporary sadness as a part of a normal life. Well, it’s time to rethink the role of temporary sadness or bad moods in our lives. We must understand that they are very much a part of our life, our existence and can be useful in helping us overcome several everyday challenges and problems.
Let’s delve deep into some history of sadness:
During the historical days, people accepted bouts of sadness or bad mood (termed as mild dysphoria) as normal and part of life. In fact, many monumental achievements of humans are connected with such negative feelings. Greek Tragedies played an important role in training audiences to accept and deal with unavoidable hardship as a normal part of human life. Similar is the theme of Shakespeare’s tragedies which turned out to be classics. Other examples are the great works of the world famous artists such as Beethoven and Chopin music and Ibsen in literature revolve around the realm of sadness, a theme recognised as enlightening and significant.
If we talk about ancient philosophers, even they understood and accepted sad feelings and bad moods as important to live a fulfilling life. When it comes to the well known hedonist philosopher Epicurus, he also believed in restraint, self-control, exercising wise judgement and accepting unavoidable adversity. Stoics, another philosopher also recognised the significance of accepting misfortunes.
What is the brighter side of sadness?
Yes, there is a bright side to sadness. Negative emotions such as anger, fear, disgust, shame etc are a part of human existence just the way positive emotions are. And in fact it is these negative emotions which help us recognise and avoid and overcome dangerous and frightening situations in life. Of course deep sadness and never ending depression is a serious disorder. But bouts of sadness or temporary bad moods play a vital role in adaptive purpose, by helping us to deal with everyday challenging situations. Such emotions also serve as a social signal that gives a message of withdrawal from competition and lends protection. And sometimes negative moods like nostalgia motivate us and show us the way for forward in life or help us plan our future.
Sad feelings can also bring about the feelings of compassion, empathy, morality and sensibility and last but not the least sadness has long been a muse for artistic creativity. Even modern world scientists have conducted research on this topic and found that mild sad feelings or moods lead to better focus and attentiveness in life.
As per studies of psychologists, there are psychological benefits of mild negative feelings or moods. Some of them are: Better memory, eyewitness memory, more effectiveness, reduced gullibility, ability to detect deception, ability to try harder, better communication, more effective persuasive arguments to convince others, greater attention to social expectations, treating others less selfishly etc.
So next time you experience those bouts of sadness or bad mood, just calmly accept it, embrace it as a part of life and for sure you will be able to overcome it.