The 8 Emotions of Exercise Part 2: Sorrow
The views expressed in this article are the author’s opinion and do not necessarily reflect the views of Body Twenty Global
If you read part one of this series, you probably remember that I said that there was no such thing as a bad emotion. That might be difficult to agree with considering the title of this article though but bear with me. While sorrow is definitely never a pleasant feeling, it is there for a reason, and like all emotions, should not be ignored.
Emotion #2: Sorrow
Disney Pixar’s Inside Out is in my opinion one of the most important children’s movies ever made. I say this because it so brilliantly teaches us that all emotions are important, and that sadness is not something that should just be forcefully replaced by joy, but an emotion that should be faced, understood and dealt with properly in order to maintain good mental health.
Stop Trying to be Positive All the Time
I hate it when life coaches and social media influencers market this idea that in order to master your emotions, you must just forcefully dupe yourself into thinking that you’re actually happy, not stressed, and can accomplish anything as a result. It’s not true. You wouldn’t be dishonest with you best friend or your children, or anyone else you love, so why would you be dishonest with yourself?
Instead of trying a quick fix when feeling sad or depressed about something, take a step back and try and see what it is that you’re unhappy about, how it connects with your values, and how you can learn from it.
In her book, Emotional Agility, Dr Susan David tells us that our emotions are always tied directly to our values. When we feel any unpleasant emotion, we need to take time to take a step back and ask ourselves how we’re feeling ties in with our values. Maybe you feel extremely sad that your friend’s dog died because loving animals is such a deep part of your values. To use an exercise example, perhaps you feel very sad that your body isn’t as strong as it once was because you value continuous improvement. Feeling sorrow usually occurs when something that is tied closely to our values has been lost or is out of reach. If you’d like personalised insights about how your emotions connect with your values, do Dr David’s Emotional Agility Quiz here: https://www.susandavid.com/ea-quiz. Its amazing!
Dealing with Sorrow
Earlier I explained that sorrow serves as a road map connecting what’s been lost to what you value. The next time you feel sad about something, follow these steps to ensure that you recover well:
1. How does this connect with my values? I feel like we’ve addressed this in the previous section.
2. What have I lost? You could have lost out on an opportunity at work or could have lost some of your fitness. Either way, identifying what’s missing in your life is a big step toward recovery.
3. How much mourning time do I need? Mourning isn’t just reserved for when loved ones pass on, but for when we lose anything that’s of value to us. Perhaps your best friend at work is resigning from the company, and that’s really getting you down. If friendship and camaraderie at work are things you truly value, then that makes sense. Take a moment to cry about it if you must and maybe skip the gym for the day in order to process things. Others may not respond to it so emotionally, and that’s probably because their values are different from yours and that’s ok.
4. Can you get it back? This is the response to step 2 after you’ve appropriately dealt with and mourned the loss. If you’ve lost something which connects to your values, then identify what lessons you’ve learned from the experience, and make a plan to rectify that problem. If you’ve been really down because your best friend resigned, think of a plan to stay connected with them, and put effort into making new friends at work. If the situation is completely out of your control though, try to control what you can and make the best with what you have. Not everything is replaceable, but you can recover and slowly but surely find joy again.
Much of the content in this article refers to everyday sorrows that get us down and make us feel sad, but they are not necessarily the only ways to deal with sorrow, deep emotional hurt or trauma. If you are mourning the loss of a loved one or if you’re struggling with depression, I recommend that you see a registered counsellor or therapist to help you through those difficulties. Those are not situations that can be overcome by just reading this short article, but through an intentional investment of your time into speaking with loved ones, being kind to yourself, and getting the help you need. There is not shame in any of that and it in no way makes you less of a person.
If you have any questions or concerns about your emotions, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s set up a meeting to chat. If you or any of your loved ones need therapy from a professional with regards to grief, depression, or suicide, I’d love to put you in contact with someone who is qualified to assist you.
Be sure to look out for part-three to this blog series on the eight core emotions next week. In the meantime, let us know what you thought of this article. If you have any suggestions for future articles, drop us an email at email@example.com. We’d love to connect with you.