“You can’t keep the birds of sadness from flying over your head, but you can keep them from nesting in your hair.”
― Sharon Creech, Walk Two Moons
How does mindfulness affect our processing of sadness? I came across the article,”Mindfulness Changes How We Process Sadness,” by Zindel Segal which opened my eyes about the importance of the mindfulness practice. The author’s main point was that people who meditate are accustomed to experiencing sadness in a way that notes its presence without creating stories or tying it to the self.
What that means is that as you meditate in sadness, you notice how the body reacts to such an emotion–the tears, the pain in the chest, the slumped posture–in a way that does not negate or enlarge the emotion.
Non-meditators, on the other hand, are more accustomed to enlarging the emotion through increased thoughts and self-talk (“Why does this always happen to me?” or “Why can’t things be better for me?“). This habit can lead to depression.
The next time you start to feel sadness, allow yourself a moment of pause to meditate on the emotion.
Honour your feelings of sadness.
Let sadness come; don’t stuff the emotion or try to avoid the sensation. If tears come, let them fall. If you start to sob, don’t choke it back. Don’t even use a tissue.
Many people are afraid of feeling sadness because they think that once the emotion comes, they won’t be able to stop crying. Those people do have a lot of tears to shed and the feeling of sadness will not leave until the crying is done.
Despite the fear, once the feeling is released, your tears will stop. You will feel lighter, more calm, relieved.
You’ll discover a new strength, space for joy.