The sadness is the negative feeling characterised by a decaimiento in the state of usual spirit of the person, that accompanies  of a significant reduction in his level of cognitive activation and conductual. The subjective experience of the sadness oscillates between the congoja slight and the own intense penalty of the duel or of the depression.

The factor determinant to differentiate sadness and ire is the convencimiento that has the person on the possibility to do something or no with seen to the recovery of put it or to the neutralisation of the state aversivo. When the cognitive assessment carries to the subject to colegir that does not exist plan any that allow him reestablish put it stray, then the concomitant emotion will be the sadness. If  colige that yes, will be the ire. The sadness pushes to the abandonment of put it or to his replacement by another, whereas the ire centres  in his recovery.

Main characteristic of the emotion of sadness

The most notable shots of the emotional process of the sadness the following:

  • The result of the evaluation has to be of loss or failure of one or more put.
  • The loss or damage does not have to be necessarily of permanent character.
  • The loss can not being personal but affect to other gathered to us.
  • You put them regarding which evaluates the loss can have different temporary projection.
  • Because of these and other factors, the subjective experience of the emotion of sadness (his feeling) will vary considerably so much in intensity as in length. These parameters will oscillate between a slight sadness and of short length and an intense melancholy and perdurable, that can have pathological consequences in the people that suffers it (clinical depression and suicide).

One of the cognitive effects that causes this emotion is the mitigation of the attention to the environment and, to the seasoning, his orientation to the half internal. This measure procures to the individual a true isolation stimulate, that allows him refuse emotional events that by his difficult handle, generate tension and give foot to the emergency of the sadness. Besides this state of relative confinement favours the autoevaluación and the reflection on the situation problem.

Likewise, it influences also on the processes of thought of the person: it associates  with a lower propensity to use heuristic trials and, in his place, to guide  by rigid procedures and estereotipados. When the context contributes evidence that the plan of classical action no always is useful, then the troubled individual modifies his strategies, adopting diagrams of thought more flexible and new.

Afrontamiento Of the sadness

The sadness has a function of protection and restoration in front of pertinent threats of the outside. It is not bad to feel sad. Only it is it, as in everything, when it situates  in the extremes of his spectrum of way continued. Therefore, when we speak of his afrontamiento speak of the methods that put in practice these functions, that fundamentally are three: retraimiento, functional moderation and social impact.

  • Retreat. The sad person tends to retreat on himself same and isolating of relative form of the rest of the context so that it facilitates the set up of the rest of measures of afrontamiento. With this behaviour reserved the person desconecta of the rest of behaviours scheduled and saves energy to try solve the conflict that has carried him to the state of sadness. By this reason, be sad partly is the first step to resolve the problem that there is carried to this emotional state. Besides, this behaviour favours the modulation of some cognitive processes that keep the state of acantonamiento, for example reducing our attention on other less important stimuli in this moment.
  • Functional moderation. With the sadness attenuates the general operation of the person since the event that caused it was a situation of conflict (fear, ire, anxiety…) By what the organism needs to calm somehow. The sadness reduces the high levels of activation so much cognitive like physics. This desaceleración cognitive will allow to surrender better in the analysis of the sucedido and invest more time in the resolution of the problem.
  • Social impact. When a person is sad exerts an effect catalyst on the social and affective support of the other. It generates more easily empathy with a sad person and is more pious to loan him attention. The feeling of melancholy does us more liable to look for relief and support through the social contact.  This no sucede always like this. In occasions the sad person  retrae entirely and rehúye of extreme way of the social contact. This last case sucede when the situation of conflict affects of direct way to the self-esteem of the person and to his social image that the person wants to give on himself same.

Pathological sadness

The extreme sadness adopts always a look incapacitante, frequently giving form to a picture psicopatológico of high prevalencia, the depression. The affective appearance more remarkable of this pathology is the feeling of deep melancholy that, together with the inability to experience pleasure any (anhedonia), impregnates so much the mental processes of the person like his interaction with the half. The person installs  in a pessimistic attitude and a desinterés that reaches to all the fields of his life.

The mental reflection carries out of slow and costly form, and devotes  preferably to the preparation of negative contents, that turn around feelings of desánimo and inability. The attention and the concentration diminish of notorious form, basically like result of the desinterés, the fault of motivation and the low level of activation.

It produces , besides, an affectation of the biological rhythms, alterations of the dream and of the appetite. Physiological effects like headaches, absence of menstruation, constipation, palpitaciones and feeling of chronic tiredness.


Domínguez, F.S. (2003) The joy, the sadness and the Ire. In Emotion and Motivation: the human adaptation Vol. I Publishing Centre of Studies Ramón Areces

Iván Pico

Director y creador de Psicólogo Colegiado G-5480 entre otras cosas. Diplomado en Ciencias Empresariales y Máster en Orientación Profesional. Máster en Psicología del Trabajo y Organizaciones. Posgrado en Psicología del Deporte entre otras cosas. Visita la sección "Sobre mí" para saber más. ¿Quieres una consulta personalizada? ¡Escríbeme!

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