Even the sunniest people among us feel sad once in a while—whether there has been a specific trigger like ending a relationship, or no real trigger other than a bout of melancholy. Either way, feeling sad is a normal emotion that many people try to push down because it’s sometimes associated with emotional weakness.
However, it’s important to distinguish sadness from depression. Sadness is temporary, while depression is a chronic feeling of hopelessness that requires medical attention as it can be debilitating. Here are six reasons why it’s okay (and maybe even healthy) to feel sad for short periods of time…
A 2009 article from the U.K.’s Telegraph notes that sadness can actually be good for us in certain ways. For instance, feeling sad can help us mature emotionally. Sadness can also build a kind of shield that helps us learn to cope with future disappointments.
The Telegraph article says that the problem is today’s society tends to jump to medication as a solution to sadness, without riding out the storm (i.e., losing a job or a breakup). “A growing number of mental health experts fear the increasing tendency to take a pill to beat the blues could actually affect human evolution,” notes the article. Sadness also helps us learn from our mistakes, it adds.