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Dismantling Sadness
What may seem overwhelming is merely a construct of the mind
Nicolas van der Leek (Nick)     Print Article 
Published 2006-11-22 18:35 (KST)   
Extreme sadness can overwhelm us, yet it is something that exists in the mind, it is not outside us.

If we can attain a better understanding of our thought processes we can use that knowledge to soften and even cure our sadness.

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To help ourselves we have to learn the ways in which we allow ourselves to feel sad. We must acknowledge that we ourselves permit layers of negativity to build up in our minds.

Anything can trigger sadness, the change of the season, the approach of Christmas, bereavement, unemployment, sudden life-altering situations, and even the monotony of daily life.

I am not talking about the kind of depression that is a clinical illness and which requires help from trained professionals. I am writing instead of the negative feelings that come about in the course of every person's daily existence.

The negative feelings of stress and anxiety that are triggered by external factors such as a problem at work, should quickly disappear when that issue is resolved. If they do not disappear, then it is time for the person to examine the way they think about difficult situations.

Practices that promote psychological self-examination such as meditation or keeping a diary may help the person change the way they handle their negative feelings.

It is important for us to recognize that we often aggravate problems by dwelling on them to an excessive degree. It is necessary to teach ourselves to see the extent to which we may also make a situation worse with our feelings of anger, pride and fear.

Bereavement is far more complex than a simple problem in the work place. It is a prolonged and unavoidable scenario. The bereaved person becomes sensitive to all sorts of seemingly innocuous experiences that trigger painful memories from the past.

When suffering from bereavement it is important to understand that the deceased loved one is not the source of the pain. The pain comes from your feelings for them as you struggle to cope with their absence.

The passage of time is the only real medicine for grief. As the years pass it becomes possible to remember the loved one without mourning the fact that they are no longer there.

However, in the immediate aftermath of a loved one's death, it is important that the bereaved person admits and acknowledges their feelings. Denial and suppression of grief can lead to depression.

Once again it is important that the individual examines their own psychological responses and tries to understand the workings of their own mind.

If a person is aware that bereavement changes his or her reactions to everything in their life, he or she can then think more carefully about which problems are real, and which have been created by feelings of anger and loss.

Negative feelings such as bereavement and work-related stress lead otherwise healthy people to self-medicate with excess food, cigarettes, alcohol and drugs.

These people hide behind these substances because they are afraid to acknowledge their negative feelings.

Once we have an understanding of our negative feelings, we can deal with them. We can admit to ourselves that they are constructs of our minds. We can not even begin that process when we are concealing the negativity from ourselves.

Sadness is an unavoidable part of life. We can lessen the pain by understanding it.

Clear your mind. It's the first step to feeling the sunshine again.
©2006 Nick van der Leek
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Nicolas van der Leek

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