Personal Development & Happiness Tools: Grief and Sadness Release

Mar 8


Albert Foong

Albert Foong

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In personal development, and in life, one of the main is to achieve happiness. What often stand in the way are “negative” emotions such as anger or sadness, and any personal development quest requires you to deal with this. This series of articles gives some innovative and practical information on how.


Personal Development and Happiness: Releasing Sadness

Note: This article is part 2 of a series of releasing repressed emotions articles. The first dealt with anger. Some statements are relevant to both and are repeated in both articles. You can find the first at the Emotional Mastery section at the Urban Monk website.

In personal development,Personal Development & Happiness Tools: Grief and Sadness Release Articles one of the main goals is to achieve happiness. What often stands in the way are “negative” emotions that linger on. Most people have some of these emotions, either repressed or lasting with no outlet.

In the first part of this personal development series, we dealt with repressed anger. If you have dealt with the anger, you probably have some sadness – situations usually bring up both, although the anger might “mask” the sadness. Usually you’ll find yourself grieving after you’ve released the pent-up anger.

Benefits of releasing sadness

It’s worth stating the obvious: releasing this sadness is a vital part of being happy. But it’s not that simple. Think of clearing your insides or painting a wall. Before you put a new coat of paint on the wall, you have to scrub away the dirt. This is part of the process. Lift the weight of your shoulders, and realise that repressed emotions, grievances, and so on are some of the biggest obstacles in the quest for a happy life, self-esteem, and confidence.

Understanding Sadness

Sadness, like anger, cannot really be termed to be negative. It is simply an energy; an emotion. A great analogy is that such emotions are like vegetables. When they are fresh, they are fine, when you hold it in for a long time, that’s when they become toxic.

It is normal to be sad when something happens – but many people, especially men, are told to repress it and not show it. “Boys don’t cry”. “Men shed blood but not tears.” It is one thing to wait until an appropriate time to show it, but do not hold it in or pretend it doesn’t exist. If you feel it, accept it, and if suitable, find a time and place to deal with it.

How to deal with Sadness

I think the only universal exercise for dealing with sadness is crying. Often times you need to do this a few times. Pain comes in waves, and often times one attempt won’t be enough to release all that pent-up energy.

There are many causes of anger or sadness; bad parenting, childhood bullies, and so on. Try to trace it back to the roots, understand it, try to give it a voice. This is vital - the vocal component is the most important.

Note: If it is something that you cannot handle, please do not feel ashamed to seek out professional help. And avoid self-destruction; numbing of the pain with alcohol, drugs, or other risky behaviour. I went through a whole year of this and paid for this behaviour physically and emotionally for nearly a year after. And I’m one of the luckier ones.

Once you have that, find a safe location. Somewhere you can sob, cry, or otherwise act out your sadness – either alone, or with an understanding person. (Please note: If you are a man, definitely not your wife or girlfriend – even if you think she might understand – the damage to your image in her head can be irreparable.)

Ignore the little voice in your head

No-one has passed through this life unhurt, uncared for. Let it all come to the front, ignore that little voice that says "This is not manly." No-one will know. "I have come to terms with it." Well maybe, but beware that you might be living in denial; many people are. If you deny it, you repress it, and spiral down to depression and a messed up life.  Go through the exercise, and you will likely find some repressed hurt. If you truly don't, then I'm happy for you.

Let it all out. You might feel weird and self-conscious doing this, it’s normal. The best thing to do is to keep at it. Just do it over and over again until you feel that it is all gone. You'll know when this happens, instinctively. It might take weeks, it might take days, and it’s different for everyone.

Learning how to cry

This might seem strange; but many people have forgotten how to cry. I couldn’t cry for many years.

What you want to achieve is deep crying, the kind that comes from deep inside you physically. A few tears are all right; in fact if you haven’t cried for a long time, it might be all you get the first time you try.

Let yourself grieve. If it is your first time crying in a long time, don’t beat yourself up if you can’t. When I did this, my mind tried convincing me that I was all right, there was no reason to cry. That is an obstacle you have to overcome.

Lie in bed all night and cry. Personally I find it helps to sit in a corner somewhere on the floor and cry. Maybe it echoes with childhood pain.  Get a motel if you have to, so no-one can see you (if you live with someone). Cry, and cry, and cry. It's releasing. Again, say what you’ve always wanted to say. Don’t censor yourself.

If it helps, sit down and read some sad and touching stories. For me, Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield was what did it for me. In particular a story named, “On Courage”.

What’s next?

Well that should have cleared out most of it. You’re now ready to put a fresh coat of paint. Visit the Urban Monk site for other articles, such as dealing with low-level emotional pain, or pain as it happens. Well done! You’re on your way to mastery!

This article is for educational purposes only. It is based on the author’s research and own experience; however you and you alone are responsible for what you do with it. By reading this article you agree that he will assume no liability or responsibility to any person or entity for any loss or damage related directly or indirectly to this article.