Sinking Into Sadness — How To Let Yourself Feel Sad So You Can Pull Yourself Out

Last week, I went to a funeral for a woman I had known for a very long time and who meant so much to so many people. About 500 people attended the service for this beloved woman, including countless friends, her kids, and her grandkids.

During the funeral, I found myself crying out of sadness for her loved ones, and for myself since I knew her and her family. After the funeral, I got caught up in a very sad state and I couldn’t get myself out of it. I was finding it hard to focus on anything else, so I asked myself what it was that was keeping me from pulling myself out of this engulfing sadness.

I’ve experienced loss and been sad many times before and somehow always managed to get myself to a happier place, but this time felt different. I tried to figure out why this time was different – why the sadness felt deeper. So, I did what I tell my clients to do: I allowed myself to just ask a question without judging myself and without feeling sorry for myself. And I realized two things.

For one thing, this was different because it hit so close to home. The woman was a mom of someone who I knew and it made me think about my mom and what would happen to me if I had lost her. Of course, this is something that had crossed my mind previously, but this time somehow felt different. Second, I realized the fact that my mom lived so far away filled me with guilt. I’ve lived far away from my mom for the past 20 years and this funeral brought up questions, such as how would my relationship be different with my mom if I could live in Israel? What kind of relationship would my mom have with my kids if I lived closer to her? And, the hardest question to ask was, How would I feel if my mom was gone?

As the weekend approached, these feelings of sadness had gotten worse and worse. I went out and surrounded myself with friends and loved ones, but I couldn’t stop myself from thinking about my family in Israel and how much I have missed them. And the more I thought about it, the lonelier I felt. Tears kept coming down and I couldn’t stop myself.

I tried focusing on my breathing, I tried listening to meditation affirmations, I tried self talk, and even against every bone in my body, I dragged myself to the gym. Basically, I tried everything that I’ve been teaching my clients to do when they feel sad, but nothing worked.

I then realized that what I hadn’t practiced on myself but I preach to my clients and friends and love ones was that just like anything, I needed to allow myself to be sad for a little longer this time – and that was OK.

Sadness and grief are strong emotions and they are a part of life. Sometimes, feeling sad is inevitable and sometimes the only way to get back to a happy place is to let yourself feel that sadness for a bit.

The normal things we do to bring ourselves joy don’t always work when we are experiencing a loss or new feelings of loneliness, but as long as you maintain perspective and practice healthy coping mechanisms the sadness won’t win out in the long run.

Here are three things you can do when you find yourself sad and don’t know what to do about it.

  1.  Allow yourself to just be without judging yourself. Don’t beat yourself up about being sad. There is no “rule” for how long it’s OK to feel sad about something. Don’t judge your own emotions – they are real.
  2.  Think about what you love to do but can never find the time for. Go do it!
  3.   Spend time with people who are important to you. While it’s not always possible to get to the people you want to see most, you should try to always find people you like to be around who make you happy. Let those people be your comfort while you are feeling sad. As for me, I am leaving for Israel today. I need to be around those people who mean the world to me!

What can you do today to make yourself happy?

3 Easy Things You Can Do To Be Present This Week

Cup on a wooden table set against the backdrop of hills covered in fog

I woke up this morning in a quiet house somewhere in the Poconos, and it was silent. My husband took the girls skiing and while I wanted to have quality time with my family, I needed to spend quality time with myself – by myself.

At first I felt guilty for not going and was about to judge myself for being “selfish” and wanting quality time with myself. And then I paused…

I took a deep breath and decided to be kind (to myself) instead.

I made coffee and stepped outside in disbelief. Is it sunny outside and warm? After all, it is still February in the Northeast. It’s kind of crazy, but I’m definitely not complaining.

Looking out into nature, I saw trees, grass, and space – all things that we rarely take the time to appreciate. I was able to listen to the sound of the wind and smell the fresh air and appreciate a few moments of quiet, or may I say few moments of sanity.

I took my cup of coffee and I walked barefoot into the grass. I felt the cool, moist feeling from the grass and thought to myself, “When was the last time I allowed myself to just walk into nature without thinking about all the things that I have to do?”

And then I wondered why it is so challenging to find those moments during the week when kids are around and work is very demanding.

We all find ourselves busy with kids, work, household chores, and many, many other things that are important, but what we forget is that those few moments where we allow ourselves to just lie back, relax, and appreciate whatever it is there is to appreciate right in front of us are so rewarding. Why can’t we take more deep breaths and instead of thinking about the future, focus on the present moment?

I’d like to propose this goal for everyone this week: Enjoy the present moment.

Here are three things that you can do to enjoy the present moment…

  1. Listen to affirmations on a regular basis. I highly recommend “Soul of Healing Affirmations” by Deepak Chopra (you can order on iTunes – best $10 you will ever spend!!). In one of my favorite affirmations by Deepak Chopra, he talks about the idea of presence and what it means to be in the present moment. He starts the affirmation with the following: “Today I will find my soul here and now. This information is about the present moment. Make this your promise for today, and when you find that you have wandered from the present moment, ask to be brought back….”
  2. Slow down. Whatever you are doing, make an effort to do it in a slower way. Take your time and work on thinking and doing one thing at a time. Are you reading to your kids? Just read to your kids. Don’t think about the emails or texts you have not answered. Are you having a conversation with a friend? Just talk to that friend, don’t worry about the dishes that aren’t being done or the laundry you have waiting for you.
  3. Observe the feelings in your mind and body without labeling and judging them. For me, I often notice that these feeling are located in my upper chest. I find myself not breathing properly – to the point where I’m almost having shortness of breath. I found that if instead of avoiding the feelings and trying to get rid of them/push them away, I just welcome them without allowing my brain to spin out of control, they will often go subside.

So, what is that one thing that you can do today to help yourself be in the present moment? Well, you have already accomplished one thing by reading this!

So what is the second thing you can do?

#Happy everything

#mindfulness

#LWWellnessNetwork