Sadness is usually the result of something that happens around or to us. We all know this from personal experience.
The emotion of sadness signals that something has grieved or hurt us. It tells us we need to process grief or pain and reach out for support and comfort.
When we feel sad, there are as many as 70 areas of the brain that may be involved in the emotion. (2) In addition, there can be changes in pleasurable neurotransmitter levels in the body. (2) These physiological changes are meant to spur us to take steps to address the feeling of sadness.
For example, when sadness causes a drop in pleasurable neurotransmitters, we may reach out to a partner or loved one for support, which will then increase levels of pleasurable neurotransmitters. Our body’s intelligence is clever enough to guide us to what we need.
A less positive coping mechanism might be to choose activities that attempt to numb the emotion, such as eating, watching television, or shopping. The intention may be the same, to increase feel-good neurotransmitters, but the long-term effect is quite different.
When we seek loving support to manage our emotions, we will feel better, and on a deeper level, we will also be better. Healthy emotional intelligence makes us better people. No amount of cookies or sitcoms can achieve that.