SADDER MATTERS

Problem

Sadness is a human emotion that most feel at one time or another. It's not the same as depression, but it may sometimes lead to it.

Sadness helps appreciate happiness. When our mood eventually changes from sadness to happiness, the sense of contrast adds to the enjoyment of the mood.

There are ways to experience sadness in a healthy way and to allow this emotion to enrich your life:

Denying such feelings may force them underground, where they can do more damage with time. Cry if you feel like it. Notice if you feel relief after the tears stop.

Plan to be alone, listen to melancholy music, and to observe your thoughts and feelings. Planning time to be unhappy can be actually feel good. It can help you ultimately move into a more happy mood.

Analyze the context of the sad feelings. Are they related to a loss or an unhappy event? It's usually not as simple as discovering the "cause" of the sadness, but it may be possible to understand factors involved.

Sadness can result from a change that you didn't expect, or it can signal the need for a change in your life. Change is usually stressful, but it is necessary for growth. If sadness turns into depression, get help rather than getting stuck in it.

Researchers do not know exactly what are the fundamental causes of sadness, but they suspect one of the reasons may be a lack of sunlight. Lack of light may upset your sleep-wake cycle and other biological processes that are displayed in 24 hour rhythms. And it may cause problems with a brain chemical called serotonin that has direct affects with mood swings. What are these symptoms?

They vary, but some feel grumpy, moody, or anxious. Others lose interest in usual activities, or eat more and crave carbohydrates, such as bread and pasta and then gain extra pounds. Also it causes individuals to sleep more and feel drowsy during the day light hours.