Everyone gets sad once in a while when overwhelmed by unforeseen life events but not everyone plunges into the state of depression. There is a lack of clearness when it comes to sadness and depression; they are often used interchangeably. Sometimes a person experiencing the natural bouts of sadness may consider himself depressed whiles a person experiencing depression may mistake it for sadness. This confusion has made it difficult to render help to those who might be in need of it.


Sadness is a natural and temporary emotional feeling of lowness that one experiences after a disturbing life event. Sadness lasts for a period of time (hours, days and weeks) even tough it sometimes feels overwhelming. The feeling of sadness is intermittent; it stops and ceases for a time and then begins again within, which you are able to get back to your normal life activities. When we experience sadness we may cry, isolate ourselves, feel guilt, lose appetite, lose interest in the things we once held dear, we may even exhibit certain erratic behaviours but only for a period of time. We are able to move past these emotions and get on with life as it previously was.

Sadness flies away on the wings of time.” -Jean de La Fontaine

Certain events that makes one sad

Sadness is usually connected to events that have a striking influence in our lives such as

  • The loss of a loved one
  • A relationship breakup
  • The loss of a job
  • A medical condition
  • Disappointments
  • Unemployment
  • Betrayal

Physiological changes associated with sadness

When we feel sad, the level of our stress related chemicals( certain neurotransmitters and stress hormones) in the brain become imbalanced causing these physiological changes. Based on the severity of the stress and our vulnerability this could either cause an increase or decrease in our;

  • heart rate
  • gastrointestinal motility( this explains the changes in appetite)
  • blood pressure
  • Piloerection (Goosebumps)
  • Peripheral blood flow (blood flow to all parts of the body)