The Positive Purpose of Sadness

    We’ve been talking about how every emotion arises with a purpose. Your feelings carry information you need to navigate your life effectively and energy to take the actions that are needed at the moment. The key is to understand the messages in your feelings and to become skillful in using their energy appropriately.


    Today, we’ll focus on the emotion of sadness. The purpose of sadness is to enable you to let go of what is no longer working or of what is past and finished. Sadness is a watery downward-flowing energy that enables you to release what no longer serves you so you can return to fluidity and flexibility in your life.

    By allowing appropriate sadness to flow through you you’ll make space for new energy and new possibilities. If you do not consciously acknowledge sadness or don’t know how to flow with it, you’ll bury it inside where it will perpetually cycle, or you’ll get lost in the feeling and be overwhelmed.

    Here’s a practice adapted from Karla McLaren’s book “The Language of Emotions,” that can help you consciously process your feelings of sadness.

    1. When you feel sadness flood into your system take some quiet, private time to center into the feeling. Tune into your feeling of sadness, locate where it resides in your body, and approach it with curiosity to learn what it has to tell you.

    2. Take a deep in-breath as if you are filling your whole body with your breath. As you exhale, make a sighing sound, and feel the energy of your sadness flowing like water down through your body, through your legs and feet, and down into the ground.

    3. Stay centered in your inner space and ask your sadness the question: “What needs to be released or let go right now?” Don’t rush to fill in an answer. Instead, keep the question open. Listen and feel inside.

    Repeat your sighing breath down through your body as many times as you feel the need and keep your question open for your deeper knowing to respond. You may find that you know right away what you need to release or you may find it comes clear later in the day or in your dreams.

    If you feel overwhelmed by your feelings to the point where you are unable to consciously process them yourself, seek the assistance of a counseling professional who is trained to work with intense emotions.

    As you feel up to it, try the process above and see what happens for you,

    Kevin Schoeninger

      One Response to “The Positive Purpose of Sadness”

      1. sarah says:

        Thank you for the sharing. May be we can cry out loud when we need to so that the negative energy is released with tears and away from us. 🙂 happy new year

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