Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions
How sad is too sad? Everyone gets sad sometimes; it’s a part of being human. But feeling sad for a long period of time makes life really hard and isn’t good for your overall health.
Do you find that you’re sad most of the time? That might be something that needs attention. Sadness is a common emotion some people feel as often as once per day depending on what’s happening in their lives. We may hear or read a tragic news story and feel sadness for the family involved. We might hear devastating news such as the death of a friend, extended family member. These are events that evoke the feeling of sadness within us.
If we’re feeling sad when we wake up, or sadness creeps upon us for no apparent reason during the day, this is troubling. We just cannot seem to put our finger on the origin of the sad feeling. That’s when it’s important to pay attention to that feeling and investigate where it’s coming from. Sadness doesn’t appear for “no reason,” it’s a matter of finding out the origin of that feeling.
Here are some signs that sadness is taking over your life:
- You’ve stopped seeing friends and family.
- You get angry easily.
- You get emotional and/or cry for no apparent reason.
- You’ve stopped caring about stuff that used to interest you.
- You’re sleeping more, or less, than you used to.
- You’re eating more, or less, than you used to.
- You’re finding it hard to do all the things you used to do (such as work or chores).
What’s Causing My Sadness?
Not knowing what’s making you feel so sad makes it hard to find a solution. There are some simple things you can do to help figure it out. First up, it’s good to understand some obvious things that can get people down, such as experiencing grief or loss of a loved one, caring for someone who is unwell, being sick or having a medical condition or chronic illness.
Then there are other, less expected causes for sadness, such as:
- going through something stressful
- being around people who are going through a tough time
- having an argument with someone
- problems at school/uni/work
- big life changes (such as moving house)
- being bored
- not sleeping well
- not exercising enough
- hormonal changes.
Here are some things you can try to feel better:
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- Talk to someone you trust, such as a friend or a family member. They might have some insights that you can’t identify yourself, which might help you figure out what’s causing your sadness.
- Write down your feelings. The causes of your sadness may become more obvious if you write about what’s happening in your life and how you feel about it.
- Face things head on. Try not to stay in bed all day avoiding things. It’s not really helpful in the long term.
- Seeing a counsellor you respect is a good start. He or she can assess your mood. If they see warning signs of depression, they’ll recommend that you talk to a doctor about it.
Sadness is Not All Bad
But sadness is not all negative. It’s an emotion God has given us. It was said of Jesus – ‘He was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief’. Sadness can help us mourn and then move on to better solutions like joy and peace. Sadness can help bring clarity to the circumstances and situations of our lives. Sadness reminds us this world is not our home.
If you are a committed Christian, we accept that permanent worldly joy will not come in this life. We can and often do experience great joys, pleasures and happiness, yet even these are shadowed with sadness and loss as we age and accept that things will never be quite the same.
If we think about it carefully, Sadness is truly one of the greatest gifts we are ever given by God, and we should be thankful. In our sadness, we can experience the joy of knowing God’s unending mercy and love for us. So it’s not reason for doom and gloom. Look up to God and ask Him to break through your sadness – pray to Him about your own situation. Christianity is about turning sadness into gladness. It is about a happiness that nothing can take from you.
If the twentieth century is marked with despair, depression and death, so also was the first century. The religion of the Jews brought strain. The politics of the Romans brought misery. The philosophy of the Greeks brought pessimism. The world was in dark despair when the heavens rang with a new note of joy: “Joy to the world, the Lord is come!” Jesus brought a note of gladness into the lives of people. Few people realize what a difference Christianity made to the early world. The difference is seen in the writings of the disciples. In almost every New Testament chapter the theme of gladness is to be found.