Symptoms of sadness that you need to know

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Robert Maurer
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Symptoms of sadness that you need to know

Written and verified by the psychologist GetPersonalGrowth.

Last update: 15 November 2021

Symptoms of sadness can be hidden in several ways. This malaise from which we try to defend ourselves and which affects our psychic balance, can often manifest itself in the form of fears, bad mood, apathy, fatigue, etc. It is a presence that contaminates everything: mind, body, motivation ...


It is often said that people with the most beautiful smile are those who can tell the saddest stories. It is a reality. Few of the emotions we experience go so unnoticed and are, at the same time, so difficult to carry, understand and, consequently, manage.


“I hesitate to put the name, the beautiful grave name of sadness on this feeling, of which boredom, sweetness haunt me. It is a feeling so complete, so selfish that I am almost ashamed of it while sadness has always seemed honorable to me. "

-Françoise Sagan-

La sadness could be compared to that flashing light that appears in the car to warn us that we run out of petrol. We see it, but we often ignore it and continue to drive as if nothing had happened. It is then that everything begins to collapse on us, when we run out of strength and the world seems to go at double speed as we remain behind, out of time and trapped in an inexplicable feeling of unreality.

Knowing the symptoms of sadness helps us to be able to react. Recognizing it in advance allows us to manage it better. It is essential to turn our gaze to the heart of this complex emotion, to understand what it means to us. Understanding sadness helps us to better adapt to our daily life.



Sadness: a great misunderstanding

The Positive Power of Negative Emotions is a very interesting book written by Anthony Horwitz and Jerome Wakefield and in which we are shown how people see sadness in negative terms, as a pathological feeling that is best not to talk about. He prefers to hide this uncomfortable presence, pretending nothing has happened and letting it go by itself.

Importantly, positive psychology is focusing on a new approach known as "the second wave". According to this approach, there are emotional phenomena so complex that they cannot be labeled as positive or negative. One such phenomenon is love.

When we love someone, it is common to go from states of unbelievable happiness to moments of depression with astonishing ease. Emotions can be compared to personal life, which can go from brightness to dark within a minute. And the same thing happens with sadness. We are used to labeling it as "negative". Nevertheless, we forget what good this feeling can bring. Well understood and managed, sadness can trigger significant (and very positive) changes in us.

Symptoms of sadness

As we can guess, the symptoms of sadness are many and heterogeneous. In turn, each person can experience them in a subjective and very particular way. Beyond this, there are common symptoms, habitual realities that can present themselves to more individuals. Let's see what they are.

Frequent anger and moodiness

Anger is very often the alter ego of sadness. It is its release valve, its channel to manifest itself. It is that emotional flare that emerges in the least adequate form.


When we are unable to focus on the trigger of that sadness or when we prefer not to accept reality, anger occurs. First in the form of frustration and then, at worst, in the form of anger.


Fatigue, psychomotor slowness, muscle pain

Emotions are wise, and the wisest of all is sadness. Thus, in the presence of an important element that we try to ignore, to which we do not pay attention, our brain reduces the energy to force us to "go slower". What he is asking us to do is to take the time to introspect, to get emotionally naked.

It is therefore common to suffer from fatigue, insomnia and even muscle pain. This is a warning from the brain in its attempt to make us stop and think.

Lost mind unable to concentrate

It is often said that there is no more inspiring emotion than sadness. It is a fact, one of those symptoms of sadness that must be kept in mind.


The dispersed mind that tries to escape from reality and that looks for a new scenario in which to express itself, in which to be in solitude. It follows the refusal of social contact, a world that appears inadequate. We need intimacy, a channel of expression.

Writing, drawing, composing… These are all appropriate practices to allow the mint to find a way to express itself, to reverse emotions and bring sadness to light in its most authentic form.

Greater sensitivity

Sensitivity is another symptom of sadness. This emotion makes us much more empathetic towards other people's emotions. It connects us more to the heart than to the mind. It is the sensitivity that allows us to focus on aspects that previously did not attract our attention.

We can spend hours watching the raindrops slip on the window pane. We can get lost and let the time pass while the wind moves the leaves of the trees. All details that, at a given moment, can even lead us to tears.


In conclusion, certainly more than one reader will have identified with many of the symptoms of sadness listed. In addition to recognizing oneself in them, it is even more important to look at this feeling with different eyes. This emotion is meant to foster emotional development.

It pushes us to close ourselves in introspection to connect with our deepest self. It prompts us to explore our needs, treat ourselves with compassion, and react. Sadness invites us to reflect and make changes. Let's listen to it more often, sadness is an emotion that speaks.

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