Can We Benefit From Sadness?
As musician Alanis Morissette points out, “We’re taught to be ashamed of confusion, anger, fear and sadness, and to me they’re of equal value as happiness, excitement and inspiration.”
The image is the character ‘Sadness’ in the wonderful movie Inside Out, which portrays how we can make positive use of all our emotions.
Sadness may be too close to depression for most of us to want to experience it for an extended length of time, but how might it be helpful to sit with it for a while, or really pay attention when we feel sad?
Karla McLaren is an award-winning author, social science researcher, and educator who teaches about the value of embracing our emotions and developing emotional health.
She has commented, “In my work with emotions, I focus on the intelligence, gifts, and skills that every emotion brings to you.
“I don’t leave any emotions out, and I don’t treat any emotion as better or worse than any other.
“This unified and ecological approach to emotions treats all emotions as vital, irreplaceable aspects of your neurology, your cognition, your social skills, and your awareness.”
From her article, The Myth of Negative Emotions.
In another article, she is more specific about sadness being “a wonderful emotion that arises when something needs to be released.
“This might be an idea, an attitude, a possession, a stance, an ideology, a belief, a relationship, or a way of behaving in the world (etc.) that no longer works for you.
“Sadness has a kind of alchemical magic to it, because if you can listen to it and honestly let go, you’ll find that you can relax and breathe again.”
One of her books: The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings Are Trying to Tell You.
In this video, she talks more about the potential benefits of sadness:
This clip is an excerpt from her course “Emotional Flow.”
The Sounds True course page says in part:
“Have you ever been swept up by your emotions—sadness, fear, jealousy, anger, or even too much exhilaration—and felt completely at sea?
“Or experienced a major life change … and felt strangely numb, disconnected, or confused?
“Modern neuroscience reveals that our emotions are absolutely essential to every aspect of intelligence, perception, and consciousness—yet few of us were ever taught how to work with them skillfully.”
Her course (and books) can help us do that: work with all emotions to benefit our lives and creativity.
Learn more at the site for the video course: Emotional Flow.
Eby, D. (2016). Can We Benefit From Sadness?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 24, 2017, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/creative-mind/2016/09/can-we-benefit-from-sadness/