How do you know you are sad?

How do you know you are sad?

Jeff Foster recently livestreamed a (workshop) meeting in London from May 21 and 22. During the meeting, he asked one of the participants “How do you know you are sad?” What a question!

Ever since I watched that exchange, I have been asking myself the same question: “How do I know if I am sad?” So here are some thoughts I have personally arrived at. I think I am sad when:

  • I don’t want to smile
  • I don’t feel like laughing
  • I feel like I have no energy
  • I feel like I want to cry

When I don’t want to smile, I can physically feel it around my mouth. I can feel how it’s closed so tight, as if it is deliberately making a shape which absolutely prohibits any kind of smile. Also, I can tell that my eyes are not open wide and I tend to look downward. I feel like my cheeks are frozen, as if there is simply no ‘energy’ in that area. When I feel like I don’t want to smile, I can feel this physically manifesting itself in my face and I chalk it up to the assumption that I am sad.  Hmmm… that’s interesting…

When I don’t feel like laughing, I can feel it around my chest, stomach and shoulders. I get a sensation of these areas feeling “heavy” or burdened. These sensations signal to me that I am not in the mood for laughter and that my spirits simply cannot be raised. And thereby I assume that I am sad. I seem to be very good and convincing myself when these things are happening– I am sad.

When I feel like I have no energy, I tend to keep my head down, my shoulders droop, and I feel like I just don’t want to do anything. While I’d call this “no energy”, I do sense sensations around my forehead, my shoulders and I even feel sensations on my back. It’s funny to notice that even as I believe my story of “I have no energy”, the fact that these sensations still manifest themselves actually tells a different story.

When I feel like I want to cry, I usually stay in bed and really think about what is bothering me at that moment. At these times, I will often start feeling some kind of energy area (I often call it as ‘negative energy’) building up in my chest and all the way to my nose and forehead. I feel like I want to release this energy by crying. At these times, crying is much like cleansing…it feels like a release for the energy and physical sensations I feel in my body. And again, when this happens, I naturally believe that I am sad.

When I believe I am sad, I can pretty much count on some aspect of these very familiar feelings and sensations within myself. But if I don’t call them ‘sadness’, I wonder what I would do with them? Can I be with the feeling instead of trying to get rid of it?

How do you know you are sad?

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