Humans are highly evolved problem solvers. No sooner do we experience a negative emotion than we feel compelled to fix it. Usually that urge goes with the assumption that there’s something wrong with us for feeling blue, which only compounds the depression.

Another problem is that by trying to think our way out of sadness, we paradoxically fuel it. “The more you fuel these downward cycles with attention, the more you allow them to proliferate,” says Zindel Segal. “The negative ideas and experiences will just multiply, spinning from one thing to two things to four things to eight things.” Instead, he suggests accepting your sadness as a natural state, experiencing it in the moment, and allowing it to pass. This doesn’t mean letting yourself slide passively into a deeper slump but, rather, engaging with your feelings in a mindful way.

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