The Emotional Intelligence of Feeling Sad

ByCindy M. Nelson, M.B.A., C.S.L.C.

The Emotional Intelligence of Feeling Sad

emotional intelligence sadness leadership development

The feeling of sadness helps you to create closure when something ends. If you block (deny, minimize or repress) your feelings of sadness, you can easily slip into a mild depression. Sadness is a normal, natural and necessary feeling that arises when something ends in your life. This could be a relationship, a job, a business, a hope, a dream or even an expectation that’s been left unfulfilled. The feeling of sadness helps the body deal with the endings in your life. It’s the way you process loss and prepare for what is next.

Processing your feelings can be compared to how your body processes food. When you eat, you put food into your mouth (ingest it). Then your body breaks down the food (digests it). Then your blood circulates your digested food to your cells (processes it). And, lastly, the food that can’t be used, is eliminated. You process feelings the same way. When something happens to you, such as the death of a loved one, you are forced to “ingest” feelings of sadness. Then you’ll “digest” the sadness by breaking it down to feel how your loss will affect you. Then you’ll spend a few months grieving your emotional loss by “processing” this change into your life. Lastly, when you are done grieving, you’ll eliminate the remaining sadness so that you can move forward with your life.

When a chapter in your life has come to an end, the feeling of sadness needs to be processed. You will “ingest” the temporary emotional pain and “digest” the reality of the situation. Once these two steps are done, your body will take care of the rest. You may not necessarily know what the next step in your life is going to be, and you probably don’t have everything figured out. However, if you don’t start by facing the reality that something has ended, you will stay stuck in a place of low energy and will have a difficult time moving forward. If you are feeling depressed, judgmental, confused or are blaming others, chances are you are not allowing yourself to feel the sadness around the reality that something has ended in your life. The solution is to give yourself permission to feel the sadness and let your body process it. Then you’ll be freed up to move on to explore the next chapter in your life.

Next week, we’ll look at the feeling of sorrow and how it differs from sadness. Sorrow is a deeper emotional pain than sadness which if you don’t allow yourself to process, can cause you to become emotionally hardened and indifferent to others.

This blog post was provided by Cindy M. Nelson, M.B.A., C.S.L.C. from Anakh Leadership Coaching LLC.  We specialize in developing business leaders and professionals by increasing their self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and overall effectiveness thereby increasing professional success and personal satisfaction in their lives.  For more information, please go to

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About the author

Cindy M. Nelson, M.B.A., C.S.L.C. administrator

As a Certified Spiritual Life Coach, I specialize in emotional and social intelligence coaching for business leaders and key managers to increase effectiveness and overall satisfaction in both business and personal arenas. I provide one-on-one coaching in person or over the phone.