We do feel sad once in a while. And we consider this human emotion as normal when your loved ones die, or missing, divorce or being separated, loss of your income, financial trouble or some issues at home. Add to these scenarios, the fear and anxiety caused by the increasing cases of COVID-19. We face isolation and quarantine, or we feel so worried and sad if one of our loved ones tested positive for the coronavirus. Or being hospitalized. As a result, we feel so low, our mood changes and it seems life is not normal.
Although sadness is temporary and usually passes with time, sometimes if sadness becomes very persistent and it refuses to leave that is when depression starts to feel its ugly head. Remember sadness is an integral part of depression but they are not the same. And it is important to know first hand and to understand fully the big difference so that you will know the best treatment applicable to your situation.
Depression is a mental illness that affects the mood. This is a mental disorder that has an overpowering effect on our lives. No such exception in terms of age and gender. Depression alters our many plans, the worst scenario to contemplate.
But before an individual becomes suicidal because of depression, let us focus on sadness, being an integral part of the depression. Let us concentrate on how to ease away sad feelings by knowing and following the five suggestions of one of the greatest thinkers in the 20th Century, St. Thomas Aquinas, the Patron Saint of the University of Santo Tomas (1611). A renowned Catholic Roman theologian, educator, compose, philosopher and author of Summa Theologica, St. Thomas Aquinas was born in Italy in 1224 and died in 1274. Entered seminary and joined the Order of the Preachers and became engaged in many religious and philosophical discourses. And one aspect is his concern about human beings, being a whole person who needs spiritual and physical attention. St. Thomas Aquinas believed that the wellness of both body and soul must be maintained to achieve the full meaning of life.
Here are five suggestions of St. Thomas Aquinas to cope up against sadness.
1. The pleasure of enjoying what we like. Indulge yourself to enjoy life by knowing what you like most. A certain pleasure to satisfy your needs. Do you want to own a pet animal? Or grow house plants? Or use your creative talents in writing, designing, cooking, and home decorations? We need to satisfy ourselves with what we like such as savour dark chocolate or milk tea. There are many choices to indulge in something we like.
2. Have you shed tears before? I have cried many times, sometimes of grief, sometimes of happiness. When I lost my wife, I shed tears, tons of it. As Voltaire said, “Tears are the silent language of grief.” And many times, I cried because of happiness especially the birth of my two grandsons. Tears ease pain, and not only flushes the toxins and bacteria, we feel better. Weeping is crucial to moving forward. As Pope Francis writes, “Certain truths in life can only be seen with the eyes cleansed by tears.”
3. Call a friend and share your sorrow, share your pain. With the help of your cell phone, you can call your best friend or, interact with your friend. Talk to them to ease the pain. Social interaction is one of the best ways to loosen up the tightness of your sadness. Laugh with your friends. It is an elixir of life. The popularity of social media serves as the venue for closer contact with your friends through private messaging or engaging in online updates. As part of the lyrics of the song sung by Dionne Warwick: “What are friends for?” Your sadness becomes serious if you just sulk and be isolated. Do not hesitate to talk to your friends. It’s liberating.
4. Spare time to contemplate the truth. Personally, when I feel a certain sadness, I have to take a pause, in the silence of my heart and find time to seek truth in my life. As Rebecca Pidgeon writes, “Contemplate the good things in your life and be grateful for them.” Count your blessings. And religiously, as Lord Jesus said: “I am the truth” Finding the flexibility of our options to discover or rediscover something in our lives.
5. Take a bath or take a power nap or sleep. Cleansing your body with warm water is so relaxing and I am mesmerized by the gushing sound of water as if everything is washed away, down to the drain. After taking a bath, you emerge as a new you! I love to take naps, to be exact power naps. You are in a different dimension, in a special sphere of reality. After waking up, I feel relax and different. Much more if you have at least an 8-hour sleep when your body is totally at rest. And waking up is a blessing.
These suggestions by St. Thomas Aquinas are easy to follow. When sadness strikes, try some of these remedies. For myself, I have found that these remedies have worked well during the pandemics when you cannot go shopping, or visit your family members or friends.