Difference between sadness and depression, how to recognize it?

Simon Doyle
Difference between sadness and depression, how to recognize it?

Sadness is a transient emotional state that is generally associated with negative moods and unhappy feelings..


  • In what did you sew sadness
  • Difference between sadness and depression
  • Sadness and mental health
  • Accept sadness
  • Overcome sadness effectively
    • References

In what did you sew sadness

Sadness is considered one of the basic human emotions and is deeply ingrained in the lives of all people. It can appear when we do not achieve our goals, when we lose a person or property valuable to us, or basically in any situation that involves psychological, physical or emotional pain.

Sadness affects everyone without exception at some point in life, and is clearly discernible on a behavioral and physiological level. Serious facial expression, crying, and temporary social loneliness are characteristics of sadness. Feeling sad can trigger specific observable reactions in both the brain and the peripheral nervous system..

Although sadness is usually related to negative circumstances, it is actually a very valid and useful emotion, since it alerts us to how we should treat ourselves, and also how we want to be treated by others, in certain moments of crisis.

In some way, sadness can cause us to withdraw from other people or lose interest in certain activities, but it can also generate pleasure-seeking behaviors. In fact, positive personality traits such as alertness, reflection, and resilience can be increased through sad experiences..

Difference between sadness and depression

Sadness as an emotion is characterized, among other things, by its duration, which is limited, since they are usually transitory, although it lasts a few weeks. But when the feeling of desolation and despair is installed in us permanently, what we could call a "long-term sadness", certainly this is no longer just an emotion, we would be talking about something else..

Depression is not simply an acute form of sadness; there are significant differences between the two states. Chief among these is that depression is a diagnosable mental health condition, while sadness is not..

People who feel sad can often identify the cause of their sadness, however, many people who experience depression report that they have a difficult time identifying the reason why they are depressed. While a sad person may hope for a better future and may consciously decide to change an unhappy mood at times, a person experiencing depression often sees life without hope, and may not be able to cope or overcome symptoms. from depression through conscious choice.

Each and every one of us will experience feelings of sadness at various times in our lives. But unlike depression, sadness generally does not interfere with our normal functioning, especially in social interaction with friends, family, etc. A period of sadness can last for hours, days, or weeks, yet feelings of depression can continue for months or even years without improvement. Depression affects approximately 350 million people worldwide, and women are twice as likely to develop this condition as men.

Sadness and mental health

Some people have real difficulty identifying and accepting this emotion due to living in a culture that values ​​"positive" emotions over more negative ones. This is a mistake because, as humans, we need to appreciate and understand all of our emotions to be able to appropriately respond to our own needs and those of others. Since sadness is not always acceptable in our culture and many people feel uncomfortable witnessing the sadness of others, we often substitute anger for it..

Sadness is a normal emotion and as such we have to accept it. In some cases, as we have already said, it can be a symptom of certain mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, antisocial personality, anorexia and bulimia. If we do not know how to manage sadness, negative feelings can end up affecting us in an unhealthy way, so we may need help to return to our usual state.

Accept sadness

Whatever your own experience of sadness, remember that this emotion is part of being human and allows us to become aware of the situation, it also offers us an intimate space for personal reintegration. On the other hand, we need the contrast that sadness offers us versus joy to recognize our own vulnerabilities and those of others and to be able to appreciate our gains and losses. The ability to recognize and respond correctly to our emotions and those of others, will keep us well integrated personally and socially. You will be more likely to understand others and they will understand you.

Try to cover all the emotions that you have at your disposal, even those that may seem "weak" or "shameful", these are just the labels we have put on a social and cultural level. After all, these feelings are what allow us to experience life to the fullest and are ultimately part of what makes us human..

Overcome sadness effectively

When you feel sad, the first thing you should know is that it is healthy to respond appropriately to this emotion, and this is something that you should put into practice both for yourself and if you observe sadness in others. Let yourself go, you don't have to be "positive" all the time. If you feel sad, explore your feelings and find out what you need. Many do well to be able to talk about it with a loved one, others on the contrary prefer to have time to be alone, in order to overcome their feelings and accept them. Sometimes just having someone sit next to you while you experience these previously unacceptable feelings can be very healing..

Other strategies for coping with sadness may include eating nutritious and proper meals regularly, exercising, practicing breathing exercises, or listening to positive music. If you are still not able to overcome your feelings and they are very long-lasting, perhaps you should go to a professional for help.


  • Ekman, P. (1999). Basic emotions. Cognition and Emotion Manual, 45-57. https://www.paulekman.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Basic-Emotions.pdf
  • Goldberg, J. (2012). Is it depression or just sadness? http://www.webmd.com/depression/is-it-depression-or-the-blues
  • Schimelpfening, N. (2014). Beyond sadness: is it clinical depression or sadness? http://depression.about.com/cs/amidepressed/a/sadness.htm
  • Shirai, M. Suziki, N. (2017). Is sadness just an emotion? Psychological and physiological responses to sadness induced by two different situations: "loss of someone" and "failure to achieve a goal". https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5334320/

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