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The Zone
The Zone : The Sadness Zone

The Zone

The Sadness Zone

By Tom Evans

« The Anger Zone

The worst thing you can do to someone who is sad is to tell them to snap out of it, or that things could be worse.

As far as someone who is sad is concerned, things are pretty bad and they may not take kindly to platitudes. At the same time, we don’t want to leave people to wallow in self-pity and despondency.

As for all the Danger Zones, it pays dividends to be aware of the source of the sadness. Obviously, the passing of a loved one or a pet is enough to cause anyone to feel sad. In these cases, the natural grieving process is necessary and should be allowed to run its course. Transiting the Sadness Zone, at some time or other, is a necessary facet of life.

People who spend time in the Negative Zone can tend to be a bit gloomy by nature, unless they use sarcasm as a form of entertainment. Several comedians make great use of this type of persona for example. In general, most people are sad about something, or sad about their lot in life, at some time or other.

Sadness takes on a more insidious form when it morphs into depression. Many people deal with depression by resorting to alcohol or various legal and not-so-legal highs, like amphetamine. Some get their highs with the adrenalin rush from dangerous sports. The chance their sport might be life threatening and offer a release is part of the complexity of this dis-ease.

Depression can also have a biochemical cause which is often counteracted with a barrage of anti-chemicals, turning peoples’ bodies into a hormonal battle ground. Seasons, nutrition and even the amount of daylight we receive may also play a part. Seasonally Affected Disorder [SAD] is one of the most appropriate acronyms that there is.

The reason sadness is so debilitating is that it affects our heart and gets us right at the core. This can make it impossible to be creative while you are sad. That said, many an artist has painted their way both in and out of depression. Composers even have the minor key as their natural tool of choice in order to emote their sadness and then to evoke it in others. If you want to write a sad poem, or a chapter about sadness like this, it helps if you think of sad times. Expressing our sadness through our art can often be marvellously cathartic.

So sadness and loss go hand in hand and often lead us into other Danger Zones. If you are ever burgled, you’ll be both sad and angry about it. If your partner leaves you, this can make you sad. If they leave you and go out with someone else, all sorts of chemical reactions ensue. If you find out they were seeing someone else while still going out with you, you may lose the sadness but end up in the Anger Zone.

Many spurned loved ones end up turning to alcohol or drugs to console themselves. Accordingly, the Addiction Zone is also the Sadness Zone’s bedfellow. Of all the Danger Zones, it’s perhaps the one that can so quickly send us on a downward spiral that it’s hard to extricate ourselves from.

Often people look for meaning and an external cause and solution to sadness. Perhaps they have brought it on themselves and there’s some kind of karmic retribution in operation. Some indeed will be drawn to religion for solace, while others might shun their god for forsaking them.

Thankfulness is by far the best cure. So try to be thankful for all the things you have as opposed to all the things you may have lost. Know too that, in the fullness of time, some context will appear to help the sadness dissipate. While one partner, or opportunity, may have left you, it could be only because an even better one is about to appear in your life.

Second best to thankfulness is to spoil yourself and to go on a break which I like to call a ‘re-treat’ or a ‘me-treat’. This of course gives you something to be thankful for.

Thirdly, any activity which helps to quieten the mind will also help quell the demons that haunt us. Combining all three of these techniques is of course a great option. •

Next: The Guilt Zone »

Tom Evans Renaissance Man and Imagineer Tom Evans is the author of four books and counting about creativity. More »

Updated 1/18/15