What To Do When You’re Sad

By pintswaquinas April 4, 2024

Sadness is part of our human condition. But admittedly, it burdens the soul and can negatively affect our relationships, especially when it persists for a long time.

So what do we do when we’re feeling blue? The internet is full of quick fixes for sadness, but the root often goes deeper than what life hacks can cure.

Instead, let’s turn to our Christian tradition to find constructive ways to manage sadness.

Recognize that sadness is morally neutral.
In itself, sadness is neither good nor evil. This is freeing. Sometimes well-meaning Christian leaders can make us feel guilty about being sad, saying, “The Gospel frees you! Why are you sad?”

It’s true that God’s will for our future is eternal joy in heaven. But on the way there, sad seasons will come and go. There’s no escaping it.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t things we can do to mitigate a particular moment of sadness (we’ll get to that soon). But you’re wasting your time if you think you can go through life without ever experiencing a heavy heart.

Cultivate virtues that help deal with sadness.
St. Thomas highlights patience, by which we weather the sorrows of life. The virtue of perseverance strengthens you for lengthy periods of grieving.

God has given you both these virtues at your baptism, and He wants to grow them in you. Practice them and pray for the strength to live them in your daily life.

St. Thomas’ remedies for sadness.
1. Pleasure. This isn’t hedonism masquerading as Christianity. We mean the delight you feel when embracing something good, such as food, drink, or a morning walk. By pleasure, we temporarily escape the fatigue sadness forces on us. (St. Thomas mentions sleep and baths as practical pleasures to alleviate sorrow.)

2. Crying. Yes, this most intellectual of saints says crying your sorrow out is healthy. It’s better to do that than keep the feeling locked inside you, eating away your joy.

3. Friends. The compassion of those around you goes a long way toward alleviating sorrow. Sadness often festers in solitude when you’re alone with your thoughts. A true friend will be happy to share your burden.

4. Contemplating the truth. This doesn’t mean you need to become a great philosopher. You simply need to recall something that’s true to keep you grounded in your identity and mission.

For example, if you’re anxious about an upcoming work deadline, but have never missed one before, call this truth to mind to calm your spirit.

As we celebrate Christ’s resurrection, may our Lord fill you with hope so that, no matter what you’re suffering, you’ll have the confidence that one day you’ll be free of sorrow and full of His joy!


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