The Gift of Sadness in a World that Just Wants Happiness

Interview by
Dr. Chad Prevost
Dr. Shelley Prevost
Published on

In this episode

When we first started thinking about how powerful sadness is an entry point–as a huge territory–for growth, we were immediately like, “This would never make a podcast.”

People clicking on the headline wanting to learn more about how they too can be sad? Doesn’t have quite the marketing hook of “how to be happier by thinking positively.”

But in a way, that’s just the point. Sadness is the very inversion of happiness. We’ve been inundated by “happiness” and the power of positive thinking for at least 70 years, and the last decade in the 2010s we saw a real resurgence of it.

And for some happiness researchers, like Jennifer Moss, who we had on the podcast last season, she began to turn her attention to asking questions about “what is keeping us from this elusive happiness” and she began looking into the burnout culture and the toxicity in the workplace.

Plenty of stress happens there! And really all kinds of emotions, right?

But the point we're trying to make here is that as we began to explore this space, we began to see a HUGE territory for us to explore with sadness.

The kind of sadness we’re talking about today is not about grief or depression. Those are different spaces--although Shelley does touch on what depression looks like briefly around the 24 minute mark. No matter what, of course, you don’t want to get stuck anywhere. We are not talking about “staying” in sadness. We ARE talking about letting it in.

That’s right. We are talking about the places in your life, whatever your personality structure may be, where sadness is knocking.

Our Discussion

2:30--Sadness isn't something that we need to manufacture

4:21--What is your relationship to sadness? Shelley asks Chad

10:55--What other happiness studies showed (and how it's not so simple)

13:07--The Wheel of Emotions

18:55--Do you think of sadness as a negative emotion? Chad asks Shelley

24:16--Sadness is an important emotion that helps everyone in numerous ways

27:14--Sadness plus shame equals depression

31:03--Shame has this tendency to keep us stuck

38:20--Sadness connects to awareness in general

42:00--Typically emotions last for 15 to 30 seconds (unless you feed it a story)

44:30--We would love to hear how this lands this episode lands for people